Perhaps it’s because all 3 of us have roots in Washington State, the birthplace of Starbucks, but fellow bloggers, MJ and Jessica have both written about the difficulty of finding a tasty cup of coffee while traveling.
MJ found a handheld espresso maker called the Handspresso that looks really good. At $100 it seems pricey, but a true coffee junkie would recoup that after a month or two. It would definitely make a great gift for espresso fans who travel a lot. (Heck, it would make a great gift for me.)
All you need with the Handspresso are coffee pods (like the Nespresso uses) and hot water. It’s a tidy little unit that would be easy to tote around. Judging from the video demo on MJ’s post, it makes a primo cup of joe.
After living in Italy, Jessica moved to a small town in northern France where she could not find a decent cup of espresso. She wrote of her coffee woes in a post that pulls no punches.
Jessica’s story has a happy ending, however. She solved her crappy coffee dilemma by cold-brewing her own toddy coffee in an easy process which she describes on her blog. I have since adapted her recipe and brew it all summer long. It’s a lifesaver in triple digit Texas heat!
Here’s how I make toddy coffee: Dump 2 cups of coffee grounds into a large glass jar, to which I then add 6 cups of filtered water. Steep over night, then strain into another jar. The resulting cold coffee can be used as a base for iced coffee drinks made as strong – or weak – as you prefer. (What I often do is fill a tall glass with ice, pour a serving of this toddy coffee in, add a splash of 1/2 & 1/2, a touch of vanilla, and voila!)
What’s great about Jessica’s technique is that the cold-brewing process actually improves the flavor of the beans. If you have an old bag of coffee that was too sharp for your palate, the toddy coffee version will be more mellow. While you’re welcome to use top of the line coffee, a middle-grade bean comes out just fine.
As a recovering barista, the quest for good coffee is a prime concern. Since I don’t yet own a Handspresso, I plan to brew my own toddy coffee on my next trip. In fact, I’m flying to Arizona in a few days, so I will to do some toddy coffee testing while I’m there.
Here’s my plan: I’ll pack a glass jar of some sort (an old dill pickle jar, maybe), whatever I can find that is roughly 32 ounces. I’ll put a heaping cup full of coffee grounds in the jar, fill it with good tasting water, leave it in the hotel fridge overnight, then strain out each dose one serving at a time. If this is too messy, I may invest in either the Planetary Design Travel French press, or the Bodum 16-Ounce Travel Coffee Press for toddy coffee brewing while traveling.
Do you have any tips for brewing a great cup of coffee while on the go? If so, leave a comment and let me know.