Coffee on the road

Coffee + Travel=A really good thing

They thought this photo would embarrass me. It's a source of coffee pride.

They thought this photo would embarrass me. It’s a source of coffee pride.

Perhaps the single greatest travel need, (he writes sarcastically…or not) is the right system to get good coffee on the road. In the middle of the Amazon, while camping in the cold, in hostels across Europe, on the verandas of Central American guest houses and in villages throughout Africa, we can drink really good coffee on short-term missions trips. How? Some of the tools I use:

The mugCoffee Mug

The Nissan Stainless Steel coffee mug has two features that make it great for travel:

1. A carabiner.

2. A no-leak lid.

I’ve used the mug in 30+ countries without problems. I like the option of sealing the lid and attaching it to my carry on as I maneuver through airports, without dripping while the coffee stays hot. Free hands; hot coffee.

I take this mug on the road with me everywhere. When I can pack it, I do. When my bags are full, I simply carabiner it to a handle and keep moving.


The methods


aeropressMy “go to” is the aeropress. The aeropress makes great coffee.

1. It’s quick (less than 1 minute)

2. It packs easily

3. It cleans in a moment

4. It’s only about $25

You’ll need ground coffee and a source for hot water.



The Moka Pot

I take moka pots when I go camping, or when I'll need to use an open fire.


I use the Bialetti Moka Pot when I’m not sure I’ll have access to a heated water source. I usually take this if I go camping. It’s a simple and traditional method where water is heated in the base, then boils through the finely ground coffee into the top of the pot. It’s quick, tastes great and packs well.

You’ll need finely ground coffee and water.


Bee House

My new favorite home brewing method travels well.

My new favorite home brewing method is the Bee House ceramic coffee dripper. While I still usually take the Aeropress, I’ve taken the

Bee House with me more lately. The Bee House is:

1. Small

2. Easy to clean

3. Takes about 4 minutes

You’ll need medium ground coffee, a filter and hot water.



The Travel French Press

I used to travel with a small french press. I can’t find the model I have on-line. I don’t use it anymore, and the best I’ve found would often let coffee grounds seep through the coffee. I haven’t found a good travel french press. Do you have ideas?


Do Not

Don't travel with your chemexWhatever you do, don’t travel with your chemex. It’s an incredible way of brewing coffee, but it’s mostly glass. It’ll break and hurt you. Perhaps you could use this at the follow-up party back in the US. The Chemex is not a preferred travel brewing method. At all. And you know this.


Hot Water

It’s important to have access to hot water. I’ve found that I can get pure water heated in most places around the world. However, I sometimes travel with a small water heater, very similar to this one from Bonavita. I’ll also use it to heat water for instant oat meal/etc.


Coffee Grinder

Hario Coffee Hand GrinderThough it won’t be as fresh, I’ll admit I sometimes grind coffee that I take with me (or purchase ground coffee on the trip). However, for the best and freshest grind, I do indulge myself by sometimes traveling with this (I use a larger) Hario Coffee Grinder.



I enjoy the taste and mission of Eurasia Cafe.

If you don’t believe you’ll have access to good coffee on the road, I suggest you take your own. Depending on the length of your stay, you may need to hunt down a source on the field. Might I suggest coffee from Eurasia Cafe? When I drink Eurasia Cafe, I know I’m helping people around the world through their mission to “make coffee count.”


One more method

Buy coffee when/if you can get it and skip the “hassle” referenced here. This method isn’t as fun, and requires an extreme amount of luck (or providence, depending on your perspective).



While I’d shamefully admit to 1-2 Starbucks Via’s a year, I’m thankful for the coffee opportunities around the world. I’ll note that I’ve got the Handpresso Travel Kit for easy espresso on my wish list…I’ve heard great reviews, and look forward to trying it out. Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you think…


So…please let me know what you do to get good coffee on the road. Are there coffee gadgets I missed? 



Stories continue…an update on Jason

Early last year I made this video about a little guy we met in a squatter village near Manila. There’s now more to the story…

Update time…

If you saw the video, you know he was living in very difficult circumstances. The people I know in his country are good people who love and care for their children, even if they lack necessities. However, Jason was in a particularly abusive situation and the government decided to get him to a safe place…

In this safer place, he gained physical strength and is now full of hope and faith. Our team returned a year later to visit him. He was strong, full of joy, loved to pray and smiled a lot. Mary Beth, the team leader, shared much more on our interns blog at

We met Jason through the Convoy of Hope’s Children Feeding Initiative. His belly if full, mind is learning, heart is full of faith, and he loves life and people.

Some reasons I believe this story is turning out well…

1. People are praying.

2. Our local partner in the area is incredible. He’s a very humble pastor, who sacrifices much for his community. He could work in another place making really good money, but he follows God’s call and is there. He’s very invested in this story and has spent tremendous time praying for and working towards the right solution.

3. The Children’s Feeding Initiative is about much more than feeding stomachs. It’s been an answer to the prayers of the pastor and his family, and a key tool for them to use in reaching their community.

4. People are following God’s plan for their lives…donors, our interns and intern staff, local missionaries who are helping the pastor, the pastor and volunteers from his church, our Convoy of Hope staff that gets food and more to this village, representatives of the Filipino government, those who run (and donate to) a nearby children’s home, and people who pray!

Thank you for caring for little guys like him. I look forward to sharing another update about his life someday.