Hotel Survival Kit

We checked into a boutique hotel recently that advertised a French press coffee in each room.

When we got to the room there was a French press, a hot pot and a sealed jar of ground coffee. We tried the coffee and knew instantly where it came from. It was burned and over-roasted. It was probably good that it was over-roasted because the next day we saw the maid topping off each jar from an open bag of ground coffee. Not only was she putting stale coffee in the jars but also at the bottom of each jar there was probably coffee that was at least several months old.

The only solution is to create your own hotel survival kit. You need great whole bean coffee in airtight bags, a grinder, a brewer and a water heater. Obviously, your survival kit has to be as small as possible.

Grinder
There are a number of small manual conical burr grinders on the market. They are a little more work than the electric conical burr grinder you have at home but they are small and easy to use. Amazon carries 5 different manual conical burr grinders for $15 to $25 dollars each. Get an all metal grinder so that you do not have to worry about breaking. They all get good ratings. Amazon also carries flat burr grinders which cost more but are not as good.

Brewer
There are a number of ways to brew coffee in the hotel room. Since every brewer produces different flavors from the same bean you have to choose the method you like.

One option is an AeroPress. They are easy to pack and they are inexpensive if you lose one. AeroPresses have a very fine paper filter which creates a very clean cup of coffee with virtually no solids.

Don’t use the manufacturer’s suggested brewing method. Use the upside down method used by AeroPress champs. Put the plunger in the brew tube. Turn the AeroPress upside down and take off the filter cap. Pour the ground coffee into the brewer, add water, stir, wait one to four minutes, put on the cap and filter, flip the AeroPress over onto a cup and push down.

Another option is a small French press. If you search for travel French press you will come up with a number of metal French press options. A number of the travel French presses double as travel mugs. All of the mugs are OK as French presses but we have tried the travel mug option and don’t like it. Just because you press down the grounds in the bottom of a French press doesn’t mean that the brewing stops. So long as the coffee is in contact with the grounds, brewing will continue. Over brewed coffee is bitter and acidic, so after awhile you will be drinking bitter, acidic coffee. Unless the grounds are sealed off from your brewed coffee, the coffee will continue to brew. Espro has an all metal French press/travel mug that has a rubber seal at the bottom that they claim stops the brewing. None of the small metal presses are very expensive.

Another option is a manual pour over cone. There a number of cones on the market. While we use glass cones on the farm, we recommend metal or plastic cones for travel. There are micro filter metal cones on the market that do a great job of filtering coffee grounds. The benefit is that you don’t have to carry a supply of paper filters. They are also metal and plastic cones that support paper filters. Remember to stretch out the extraction by pulsing the water into the filter for about 3 to 4 minutes.

If you forget your brewer it is also possible to put coffee grounds in a sock and pour in water. However, it is messy and you wind up with one brown sock.

Hot Water
You should be able to use bottled spring water that you obtain as you travel. However, you can’t count on room service or the Mr. Coffee brewer in your room for 200F water. You could carry a small hot pot with you but the easiest choice is an immersion water heater. You put the heating element into a cup of water and plug it in., They come in both 120v and 240v versions, Most travel stores sell an immersion heater kit with a set of foreign plugs, Amazon has over 25 different immersion water heaters with prices ranging from $8 to $29.

Even on vacation starting the day with a great cup of coffee makes a difference. It is a little work to create a hotel survival kit but when you have that great cup in the morning you will agree it is worth it.

Hula Daddy Kona Coffee LLC is a boutique coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii that grows, processes and roasts its own current crop coffee beans. We grow 7 different varieties of coffee and process them using 4 different methods. We roast date every bag of our coffee.
In 2014 we won the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. In 2015, we won the Hawaii Cupping Competition. In 2016 and 2017, we came in Second in the Hawaii Cupping Competition and First in the Kona Coffee Cupping Competition. In December 2016, Coffee Review rated our Laura’s Reserve SL-28 as Number 3 in the top Thirty Coffees of 2016.

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