Ultimate Guide: Portable Coffee & Espresso Makers

At one point in time, we have all been forced to drink some truly miserable cups of coffee while on the road. Even if you have access to coffee while travelling, it can be a sad affair. Hotel coffee can be bad, gas station coffee worse. In an effort to save you from bad coffee, we've put extensive research into collecting the best portable coffee and espresso makers available.

While brewing coffee may seem as simple as pouring hot water through ground coffee, it is clear by the vast number of portable coffee makers that it is not so simple at all. In this article you will find the best of the best when it comes to an easy-to-use brewer that produces great coffee. No matter if you are travelling for business and want a coffee maker to throw in your luggage or you love waking up to the smell of freshly brewed espresso even while you're out camping, we have you covered.

There are so many options that we had to split them into categories. We also included an accessories section that is worth a look regardless of which solution you choose. Without further ado, welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Portable Coffee and Espresso Makers!

Table of Contents:

Portable Coffee Makers
Portable Espresso Makers
Travel Mug Brewers
All-in-One Machines
Essential Accessories

Portable Coffee Makers

This collection of coffee makers is best considered when you know you will be travelling or staying someplace with limited space but access to a means to heat water and grind your own coffee. For instance we would definitely recommend these brewers if you were going on vacation, camping, or travelling for business to a hotel. Going camping and bringing a kettle to heat water? Perfect! Keep reading...


Aeropress Travel Kit

This truly unique take on the press coffee maker that resembles a rather large syringe. It was designed by Alan Adler, the same man who brought you the Aerobie flying disk as well as other unique inventions. If you have never heard of the Aeropress, a quick search will uncover a cult following of baristas who take this small plastic coffee maker so serious that they crown a World Aeropress Champion each year.

The reason for the cult following is this brewer gives you such precise control over your brew. You can use paper or metal filters to brew directly into a mug. The simple coffee maker brews from 1-4 cups at a time. At FeedSummit we brew with the Aeropress from home every morning - and also have one at the office to use

Best Price: $29.95 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee, hot water, paper (included) or metal filter.

Perfect for those... who are looking for precise control of your brew for a truly delicious cup of coffee anywhere.

Presto MyJo

MyJo Single Serve Coffee Maker

This little "as seen on TV" coffee brewer features a similar concept to the Aeropress, with a few different key features. The coffee maker sits on top of your cup or mug as it brews. The pump action brewing process pushes water down through coffee. The coffee maker is limited to a single cup output. MyJo sees two convenient features that set it apart from the competition:

  1. The ability to use K-Cups, or reusable K-Cup compatible filters to brew. This means you can conveniently pack your favorite K-Cup coffee or tea when you travel for ease of use.
  2. The water reservoir is detachable allowing you to microwave water in the unit - no need to externally heat water if you have a microwave available.

Best Price: $12.77 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Either K-Cups or a K-Cup reusable filter and ground coffee + hot water or water and a microwave to heat water using the included reservoir.

Perfect for those... who are happy to sacrifice some control of your brew for convenience.

GSI Travel Drip

GSI Collapsible Pour Over Java Drip

Taking a step away from the push to brew viewers, but still remaining in cup-top territory, enter the GSI Collapsible Java Drip. This coffee maker is a pour-over coffee maker with a collapsible silicone cone and a snap on lid to contain the whole unit when it's not in use. The whole thing is very straightforward - the biggest advantage of this drip brewer is the snap-on lid which keeps the coffee maker clean while travelling or after use. The brewer is compatible with any brand of #4 coffee filter.

Best Price: $12.95 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee, hot water, paper filters.

Perfect for those... who love pour-over coffee and want a compact brewer they can throw in a bag to travel


Slickdrip Pour Over Unit

This brewer is an alternative to the above GSI pour-over brewer. The Slickdrip takes simplicity a step further as the brewer is a single piece. There are no lids or parts to worry about or loose. The advantage is a simple and easy to clean brewer at the sacrifice of protection and cleanliness that a self contained case offers.

Best Price: $13.99 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee & hot water.

Perfect for those... who want the simplest travel pour-over unit available.

Portable Espresso Makers

Prefer espresso but don't have space in the car for your latest 25 pound tabletop machine? Don't worry - we've got you covered. There are several options that will produce a great shot of espresso practically anywhere you go. Lets get started:


MiniPresso Travel Espresso Maker

At first glance the MiniPresso is attractive to the eye and it is a truly self contained unit. Add water, coffee grounds or pods (more on that in a bit) and use the small pop-out pump handle to pump your shot of espresso into the included screw on cup/cap. When you're done this little espresso maker screws back together into a single pill-shaped unit.

The maker of the MiniPresso Wacaco offers two units - one that accepts ground coffee and one that accepts coffee pods from Caffitaly System or Tchibo Cafissimo. At a price point less than $60 USD this little espresso maker is affordable and convenient.

Best Price: $59.00 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee/coffee pods & hot water.

Perfect for those... who want an affordable compact and simple pump espresso maker.


Handpresso Espresso Maker

This espresso brewer uses a bike-pump style handle to allow the user to produce up to 16 bars of pressure - twice that of the MiniPresso - to create a delicious shot. The Handpresso accepts both ground coffee and ESE coffee pods which makes it a very versatile brewer that is perfect for travel. For just over $100 USD you get more control over your pull and hands down the best shot of espresso you can find from a hand pump unit.

Best Price: $108.00 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee/ESE coffee pods & hot water.

Perfect for those... who want the best shot of espresso available from a portable unit - and are happy to pay a bit more for it.

Comparing the Handpresso vs the MiniPresso:

Handpresso vs Minipresso Comparison

These two coffee makers are often both considered when making a purchase decision.  Lets make a quick comparison:

The MiniPresso is a lower-cost espresso brewer that really focuses on being affordable and convienent at the slight sacrifice of quality in espresso produced.

The Handpresso is the higher end unit which carries a stronger feature set and produces a superior shot of espresso at a higher price point.

So if you're looking for better coffee and are willing to pay - go with the Handpresso. Looking for a good shot of espresso at a lower price point and a bit more convenience - go with the MiniPresso.

Handpresso Auto

Handpresso Auto Espresso Maker

Not into the hand-pump espresso? Have access to a 12v cigarette lighter in your car, truck, camper or boat? Perfect - check out the Handpresso Auto! This espresso maker provides 16 bars of pressure to create an amazing espresso shot at the touch of a button. Simply add water and either an ESE coffee pod or fine ground coffee, plug-in, and brew.

Best Price: $159.19 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee or ESE coffee pods and water (any temperature).

Perfect for those... who want great espresso at the touch of a button and have access to a 12v plug.


STARESSO with Brewed Espresso

The STARESSO is a new kid on the block when it comes to portable espresso makers. This compact little coffee maker uses a hand pump system to create up to 15 bar of pressure. The resulting espresso brew is dispensed into a small glass contained at the bottom of the maker. The great thing about this affordable unit is the ability to also froth milk to create drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

Best Price: $59.99 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee and water (any temperature).

Perfect for those... who want a great, self contained portable espresso maker at a killer price.

Travel Mug Brewers

There is a wide range of travel mugs that feature press-style brewing. Most of these are perfect for either brewing and going or taking ground coffee (or tea!) with you and brewing later. You also get the benefit of having an insulated travel mug which keeps the brew hot for hours. Perfect for the morning commute or brewing a cup mid-day while at work on the job.

Zyliss HotBrew

Zyliss Hotbrew Mug

The Zyliss 3-piece HotBrew mug is the lowest price entry into this category. A simple press unit pushes down into the bottom of the mug and you throw a travel lid on top. At roughly $10 USD this mug is truly the most economical solution of those that we present.

After brewing you're presented with roughly 10oz of delicious brew!

Best Price: $9.99 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee & hot water.

Perfect for those... on a budget and looking for a sturdy travel press mug.

Presse On-the-Go Brewer

Presse by Bobble Parts

Bobble has crafted a fine stainless-steel press mug that has to be considered when looking at french press style mugs. The Presse uses a unique steel cylinder with metal filter and silicone sleeve to press down through the outer sleeve and leave you with a grit-free cup of coffee. What we like about this mug is the ability to measure your brew by flipping the filter over and using it as a measuring device. This assures that you get a consistent cup of coffee without having to bring along a measuring scoop.

Best Price: $27.32 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee & hot water.

Perfect for those... who want a sturdy and simple little travel mug that produces great coffee.

Bodum Travel Press Mug

Bodum French Press Mug

Bodum is famous for crafting highly rated french presses - we would go so far as saying they offer the industry standard consumer press. Now enter the Travel Press Mug. They have taken their experience in the french press world and scaled it down into a quality travel press. Offered in both stainless steal and a clear plastic version, you can't go wrong here.

Best Price: $26.95 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee & hot water.

Perfect for those... who want the trusted Bodum name and a traditional french press style brewing experience inside a coffee mug. The clear plastic version is also nice for watching your brew!

All-in-One Machines

All the units we've covered so far either take ground coffee or coffee pods and require some external way to heat water. These next two machines solve one of those problems each. It's hard to call either a truly all-in-one solution - but for brewing coffee on the road these two units are pretty much as close as it gets.

Cafflano Klassic

Cafflano Klassic Portable Coffee Maker

Measuring about the size of a travel mug, the Klassic manages to squeeze a ton of features into a small package. From top to bottom this all-in-one unit includes a small kettle, adjustable burr grinder, metal pour over filter, and a lined coffee cup. The entire unit screws together and can be thrown into a bag or pack.

We love the sustainable approach that Cafflano has taken with this brewer. The metal pour over filter coupled with a hand grinder makes this a truly portable and complete package.

Best Price: $92.50 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Hot water.

Perfect for those... who want a compact all-in-one coffee maker while on the road and care to have precise control of their brew.

MoJoe Mobile Brewer

MoJoe All-in-one Coffee Maker

Originally funded via Kickstarter, the MoJoe attempts to take the portable all-in-one coffee maker game to the next level. The coffee maker features a one-button brewing function that heats water and brews coffee all within the self contained thermos. You have to add ground coffee and any temperature water. They offer power adapters for your car, home and soon to release a batter pack.

At the time of writing the MoJoe is still only available for pre-order.

Best Price: $89.99 - More Info & Purchase

What else you need: Ground coffee.

Perfect for those... who want as close as possible to a single-button coffee maker. The optional battery pack truly makes this thing a grab and go unit.

Essential Accessories

The simple fact with any of the above coffee makers is that alone, you will be left wanting. More than likely you'll need or want to bring some accessories to make the brewing process click. Below are a few essentials to consider when packing your portable coffee maker for your next trip.


Aerolatte Foam Frother

This little whisk creates amazing frothed milk in seconds. In fact we love this little frother  so much that we travel with it AND use it at home on a daily basis. If you're looking to make any coffee drink with frothed milk or cream like a latte, cappuccino or breve - make sure an pack one of these!

Best Price: $15.60 - More Info & Purchase

Immersion Portable Water Heater

Immersion Water Heater Element

This simple little heater element rests on the side of your cup, submersed in water. Plug it in and heat water to a boil. This is the perfect no-microwave solution when you have access to a power outlet.

Best Price: $7.64 - More Info & Purchase

Bon Voyage Travel Kettle

Bonavita Travel Kettle

If you've got a little space on your next trip, consider this small travel kettle from Bonavita. This kettle brings standard home kettle features to boil a half liter of water and it can be used for much more than just brewing your morning cup of coffee.

Best Price: $24.25 - More Info & Purchase

Coffee Mill Hand Grinder

Hario Hand Coffee Grinder

The best cups of coffee come from fresh ground beans. This small format grinder allows you to grind up to two cups worth of coffee. The adjustable grind and removable handle make it perfect for travel.

Best Price: $20.92 - More Info & Purchase

We hope our guide has uncovered the perfect portable coffee or espresso maker for your next trip!
We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or contact us.

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