Budget travel way to make brewed coffee

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Ellen

We have figured out a budget travel coffee-making method – without carrying a coffee machine around the planet. Frugal travelers will understand the dilemma – because it’s a damn challenge to find a decent cup of American-style brewed coffee outside the U.S.

When I first started out on this world travel adventure in 2015 back in Tulum, Mexico, I tried to use a French press to make my coffee, and heated my water with an aluminum coil. The coils are sold all over Mexico and Central America – it’s often how people heat their water.

I eventually got rid of the French press, but kept the coil to make hot water for instant coffee in Belize and Guatemala whenever we desperately needed a caffeine fix. This set up also was woefully inadequate. (Although I will say instant is better than nothing.)

We eventually bought a small coffee machine that we carried around with us for quite a long time. But that wasn’t practical in the long term. So we donated the machine and the immersion coil.

This is how we solved the budget travel coffee dilemma.

We now use a small cup with a screen with which to filter water through coffee grounds.

The Germans call this the “one-cup method.”

A dear friend of mine, a German sailor, first told us about this method years ago. We never tried it until this year. This coffee preparation also is popular with campers. We easily found the contraption online and bought one – and this – this is the solution to our challenge.

It’s a plastic cup with a thin, fine screen at the bottom. Coffee grounds are laid onto the screen, and the cup is screwed onto a wide rim that allows it to brace over a larger drinking cup, so the filtered coffee flows easily flows through.

This little thing is awesome!

I get coffee, and I don’t get cranky. Not only that, but the coffee is really good. Even if the grounds aren’t so great. (Maybe it’s just that it’s better than nothing.) My German friend believed one cup brewed at a time prevented too much acidity in the drink. I believe he was correct.

We each drink a few cups of coffee each morning. Say, four cups total. Sometimes six. Four to six cups of cafe Americano every day in a cafe can get quite expensive – as opposed to making our own. And — the drinks are never as good as true, brewed coffee.

Now all we need is an immersion coil (again) to heat our own water and we’ll be able to brew a cup of coffee without a kitchen.

The irony is we thought they sold water heater coils all over the world. Tedly’s mother, also a world traveler, experienced this same conundrum of assuming these water heater coils were sold all over. When she and her late husband finally came across them, it was a purchase they were glad to make.

The same may be true for us. The coils are not that large, so it’s probably a good idea that we carry one for times we need to boil water in a cup with no stove or no kettle.

But for now, we consider the budget travel coffee dilemma – solved!




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4 thoughts on “Budget travel way to make brewed coffee”

  1. You may have just saved my life. Thank you! I have been traveling for 8 months and I am dying for some American coffee. This instant stuff is not cutting it.

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