Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you have to settle for lacklustre coffee. Here at Chatelaine we take our coffee pretty seriously (one co-worker admitted to sneaking down in the middle of the night and adjusting the grind-to-water ratio in her parents’ automatic coffee maker every time she visits), so we understand the bad-coffee dread that can come with travelling.
While it’s always nice to try different cafes, if you are a serious coffee drinker, this can quickly start to add up financially. Plus, not all adventures are studded with cafes. The solution? BYOB (bring your own beans)! A good cup of coffee is only as good as the quality of the beans it’s made with. And yes, for the freshest-tasting coffee, you should grind your beans just before brewing, but that’s not always possible when travelling.
We spoke to Eric Mahovlich, head barista at Pilot Coffee Roasters in Toronto, to see how far in advance you can pre-grind your beans before you start to lose quality. According to Eric, for trips that are less than a week, pre-grinding your beans is absolutely fine. But if you’re going to be gone for longer, he suggests bringing an unopened bag of your favourite beans with you, and getting a local café to grind them for you (most will do this if you ask – but the bag has to be sealed).
To figure out how much ground coffee you’ll need for the week, Eric recommends using this formula: “Assume 12 to 14 grams of coffee per cup, multiplied by how many cups you drink in a day, multiplied by how many days you’ll be away.” Instead of putting the ground coffee back in the bag, store it in an air-tight vacuum-sealed container. The less air that comes in contact with the beans, the longer they will stay fresh.
And if you want to eliminate all the bad coffee variables, there are several coffee-making devices that are perfect for travelling, like our current crush, the AeroPress. Made of durable plastic, and not much bigger than a can of pop, the AeroPress won’t shatter into a million pieces in your luggage, and also won’t take up a lot of space. Other great travel options are this collapsible coffee dripper form Kikkerland, and this plastic one-cup pour over brewer from Melitta.
So now that you know the secret to amazing coffee no matter where you trip takes you, we’ve put together a little travel-coffee starter kit:
Craving something sweet to go with your coffee? Try this chocolate cake: