Travel Tech Review | Travel French Press Comparison
(Click the names of the presses to shop!)
My morning coffee is sacred to me. As I’m sure it is to you. So when you experience as many days on the road as I do, you come to daydream about being home and getting to make yourself some delicious French press coffee. I felt the anguish of drinking hotel coffee for years…that is, until I discovered the beautiful invention that is…the TRAVEL FRENCH PRESS.
The travel French press is a sturdy, rugged version of its glass cousins. Designed to withstand the bumps and bruises that come along with being a road warrior. So in my attempt to find the perfect travel French press, I discovered that there were presses out there to suit the needs of every kind of traveler. Here is my rundown of my favorites.
CARAFE FRENCH PRESSES:
Presses that are similar to the classic French Press but made of travel friendly materials like BPA free plastic or Stainless Steel. They are not made to drink out of. Sizes range from individual cups to two large cups of coffee.
The JavaPress is almost identical in size to a classic French press. The body is a BPA free plastic with a EVA (similar to Neoprene) sleeve for insulation. My first impression of the JavaPress was that it was the most “rugged” of all the presses on my list. It looked like it belonged on a camping trip. It was capable of making enough coffee for 2 casual drinkers, or one hardcore badass coffee drinker. The insulation kept in minimal heat, but because this was a carafe style press, I never kept the coffee in the press long enough for it to lose its heat. As with all carafe presses, traveling with it means you must also travel a mug or…dare I say it…use the hotel mugs! AGH!
Ideal Traveler: World adventurers who are on a business trip in Chicago one week, and backpacking in the Alps the next. Maybe they’re traveling with a companion…or they find one at the local bar.
Another carafe style press. This press screams of style as soon as you take it out of the box. The entire body is stainless steel, which might be susceptible to bumps and bruises if dropped on a hard surface (I didn’t DARE try), but will survive quite nicely in your suitcase. I was confused by the double filter at first, but once I realized that it works the same exact way as other mesh presses…but better…I was sold. The carafe they sent me was for a single serving of coffee, but apparently a bigger carafe is in the works.
Ideal Traveler: Their suits are designer and they want a press to match. They like that the steel and the science behind the press are understated but effective. But don’t tell anyone that the press is just as affordable as any other.
MUG FRENCH PRESSES:
Coffee tumblers that have a pressing element in the lid. Ideal for individual traveling coffee drinkers.
Coming from the top French Press maker in the world, I was the most excited to try out the Bodum Travel Press and had the highest expectations. However, I was disappointed to find that their press was not much more than a typical BPA free, plastic tumbler with a pressing element inside. But that was mostly my high expectations talking. This press gave an average performance. Nothing to scoff at, but it was obvious that the company’s focus is on their more expensive, more popular glass French presses. I can’t fault them for that. But considering how easy it is to find these presses, and how “adequate” they were, it’s no surprise to me that they have started bundling their travel presses with their classic glass presses. Everything from the press was what you’d expect, including an articulating mouthpiece cover, which sadly only closes when the pressing element is down…so if you forget to close the cover after screwing the top on before pressing, you have to unscrew, press the element, close the mouthpiece cover, pull the plunger up, and screw the cap back on. Annoying, especially if you’re an OCD French press coffee drinker like me, who insists on keeping the lid closed while letting the coffee steep.
The first week of using the press, I kept getting grounds in my mouth while drinking from it. Not “mud” but full grounds! I blamed it on the fact that, especially towards the top of the mug, the pressing element had too much room to move around, allowing grounds to sneak through. I found that by only filling the mug 8/10 with water, that prevented the grounds from invading my face. But as someone who drinks a LOT of coffee in the AM, I was not happy to sacrifice so much coffee just to avoid grounds!
Ideal Traveler: Individuals who know and trust the Bodum name and are faithful to the brand. People who don’t need a big cup of coffee in the morning. People who don’t have a glass French Press and are thinking of getting the bundled glass press and travel press.
The Double Shot was my personal favorite when it comes to travel French presses for individuals on the road. The stainless steel construction is incredible at keeping coffee hot, despite getting a little hot to the touch sometimes. But I’m never mad at a press that keeps my drink too hot…but I’ll slap a mug that loses heat too quickly! The company has just seemed to go the extra mile when it comes to fun added bonuses. The mouthpiece not only has a rotating cover that can be closed whether the press is up or down, but it also has an extra piece of mesh at the opening to catch any stray grains that get through the initial press. And while the press looks like it holds more liquid that most presses, it has a secret! In addition to holding 14oz of liquid, the bottom has a secret screw-out container to put additional grounds, sweeteners, money, etc. It really feels like the company sat down and asked itself, “What can we do to blow away the ‘bare minimum?’”
Ideal Traveler: The individual traveler who demands form and function in the most travel friendly package. Holding a topic of conversation in your hand never hurt anyone either.