Travels with my Coffee, Part I

My Travel Press and Therma Cup stand in awe at the magnificence of Courthouse Butte in Red Rock Country, Arizona.If you have been paying attention on social media (or indeed, reading my posts!) you’ll know that for the last four weeks, I’ve been travelling around the USA, first in Florida/Miami, then in Phoenix/Arizona. In the past, I’ve written about my travelling coffee kit and I’ve also written extensively about making coffee on planes and at airports, which makes the long journeys bearable.

On this trip, I’ve been doing a lot of touring, which means not that many visits to speciality coffee shops along the way. In the past, this has meant either not having coffee or having to put up with bad hotel coffee in the morning and bad diner coffee during the day. However, since getting my Travel Press, all that has changed.

The Travel Press has meant that I can make coffee in the morning and take it with me. Then I began to get a bit obsessed (me? no! surely not!) It started with a trip to the Grand Canyon where I took a photo of my Travel Press and Therma Cup overlooking the canyon, then last year I took a picture of them on the Great Wall of China. Then it got out of hand…

You can see what I’ve got up to on this trip in the gallery.

  • My travels, as ever, started with coffee on the plane, my trusty Aergrind standing by.
  • Here's my Espro Travel Press and my Therma Cup admiring my leg room on the A380.
  • Having safely arrived in Florida, my coffee watches the distant Falcon Heavy rocket on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.
  • The following day, we admire the breakers on the Atlantic seaboard at Sebastian Inlet...
  • ... and the day after it's the calmer waters at Duck Key, half way down the Florida Keys.
  • Still in the Keys, I took my coffee to Cannon Beach in Key Largo the following day.
  • Our last stop on our tour of Florida was Flamingo, in the Everglades...
  • ... where we also checked out the beach.
  • That was it for Florida. Next stop, Miami airport before my flgiht to Phoenix.
  • In Phoenix, I took my coffee out into the desert (well, the office courtyard).
  • After a week of work, it was time to explore. Here's my coffee overlooking Canyon Lake.
  • And here we are overlooking Roosevelt Lake at the other end of Route 88.
  • The next day, we visited the abandonned cave dwellings in Walnut Creek Canyon...
  • ... then the following day, we drove down Oak Creek Canyon. Here we are at the top.
  • My coffee was most taken by the view. Here it is looking across the canyon...
  • .. and down to the road, which is twisting its way to the bottom.
  • And finally, my coffee looks out to the south, along the canyon bottom.
  • We ended the day in Red Rock Country, south of Walnut Creek Canyon.
  • The colours are so beautiful that it's worth a second look. This is Courthouse Butte.
  • Next day, we were admiring the San Francisco Mountains north of Flagstaff.
  • This is the tallest point in Arizona, but is all that's left of a massive volcano.
  • That, however, was just a pause en-route to Sunset Crater, a more recent volcano.
  • After all that travelling, we relaxed and read my book on the balcony of La Posada Hotel.
  • Then it was back on the road. Here my coffee admires the Agate House...
  • ... and looks out over Jasper Forest, both in the Petrified Forest National Park.
  • We ended the day at the northern edge of the park, looking out over the Painted Desert.
  • I'll leave you with a view out over the Painted Desert badlands near dusk.
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As you can see, I’ve taken my Travel Press and Therma Cup with me practically wherever I’ve been on this trip and it’s been a real blessing. I make my coffee in the morning at my hotel, then take it on the road with me, meaning I can enjoy great coffee on the beach, in the desert, overlooking an amazing canyon, hiking around a volcano cone…

Now, admittedly, I could have achieved this with my Aeropress and/or cafetiere and a thermos flask, but somehow this feels better. Of course, there’s an argument that by packing just my Travel Press and not an Aeropress and flask, I’m saving myself a piece of equipment, which is great, except that I take my Aeropress with me as well. Yes, I know, I’m strange like that…

So, I have my coffee, my coffee-making device(s) of choice, my scales (of course) and my grinder (my trusty Aergrind). All I need is water and some way of heating it. How difficult can that be? Read on…

Water first. Water is very hit and miss. The water in Florida is great. And in Flagstaff and Winslow, the two places I stayed in Northern Arizona. The water in Phoenix, on the other hand, is dreadful for making coffee. Short of carrying a water filter with me (and I think we all agree that I’m probably packing too much already) this means bottled water. Which means buying lots of disposable, plastic bottles. Which rather goes against the whole no more disposable cups philosophy I’ve been banging on about for the last year.

But wait! I can use the reverse osmosis filtration machine at the office in Phoenix to fill up a water bottle each day. Then I don’t have to keep throwing bottles away. Except the machine was broken the entire time I was there…

Next: how to heat the water. This is America, so hotel room generally don’t have kettles. Some don’t even have any method of heating water. The last time I was in Phoenix, I was so frustrated by this that I bought a cheap kettle and took it with me for the rest of the trip.

However, forewarned is forearmed. I have a couple of travel kettles, so I grabbed one off the shelf where it’s been hiding for many, many years, and stuffed it in my rucksack. Only it turns out that my memory let me down. I don’t actually own two travel kettles. I own one travel kettle, and one small, cheap European kettle that I picked up on a trip 15 years ago for very similar reasons to the American kettle I bought last year.

No prizes for guessing which kettle I grabbed off the shelf when I packed…

The first problem with a European kettle is its European plug, which doesn’t fit into American sockets. Nor does it fit the British adapters that I brought with me. So I went out and bought a European-US adapter, which cost only slightly less than the kettle I bought last year…

Second problem: my European kettle expects to operate on 240 volts, not 110 volts, which is what the US system runs on. And the result of this is that my kettle takes a long time to boil. And I mean a long time. Maybe 20 minutes on a good day. So making coffee in the morning has become a rather involved process which starts by my remembering to put the kettle on as soon as I get out of bed…

But trust me, it was worth every minute of it! If you don’t believe me, check out the gallery.


The coffee on this trip has been kindly provided by Frank and Earnest Crafted Coffee, Panther Coffee and 111 Roasting Works.


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4 thoughts on “Travels with my Coffee, Part I

  1. Pingback: My Travelling Coffee Kit | Brian's Coffee Spot

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