There was no Daily Coffee Tip yesterday because I was traveling; driving, in fact, for the larger part of the day. With a total of around ten hours of highway time logged this weekend, I had plenty of time to think about coffee on the road; a subject fresh in my mind as I threw loathing glances at the 32oz Diet Coke that sat in place of a delicious cup of fresh roasted coffee. Though my companion and I certainly tried, we couldn't find a decent cup that met our needs (close to the travel route and easily accessible), despite the fact that we traversed three states and several major metropolitan areas. My contemplation led me to this conclusion: If you insist on drinking great, fresh roasted coffee even when you're traveling, you will have to plan ahead and take matters into your own hands.
The first order of business is packing enough ground coffee to last your trip. If you follow my advice you're going to be doing a lot of press pot coffee so if you're used to brewing in a home coffee brewer you'll find you use a bit more ground coffee in the press.
I like to hit the road with a full cup of coffee in my travel mug; in this case use whatever is most convenient at home to fill up before you leave. If your trip is like mine and you'll be on the highway for five hours, you're probably going to want a refresher a few hours into the trip. Without a long, out of the way sojourn to find quality local coffee houses, your choices are basically Starbucks or convenience store--not good. This is where I advocate this little gem, the Bodum travel press. This press acts like your travel mug except it has a press pot stem built in. I preload mine with ground coffee before I leave the house so when I'm ready for a new cup of coffee I can pull over to a gas station and fill my press with hot water (for free) and in four minutes, I've got hot, fresh, french press coffee. I do recommend pouring your coffee into your other travel mug when you're done brewing, otherwise the coffee can over extract. If you need another cup you can repeat the process though this leads to some awkward public restroom press pot cleaning, but then, no price is too high for good coffee right?
Hopefully your ending destination has normal coffee brewing capabilities so you can mirror your pre-trip routine. If not I recommend another neat Bodum product, the Young Press. This press pot still uses the standard Bodum glass beaker but it has a durable protective shell unlike all the other models. This shell is perfect for traveling because it drastically reduces the risk of breakage. If you're stuck at a hotel with bad coffee and in-room brewers designed to only brew paper pods of sad stale coffee, just throw some fresh roasted coffee you brought from home into your Young Press, scurry downstairs to the "continental breakfast" and ask nicely to fill your pot with hot water. You might get a funny look or two but what you won't get is a let-down in your cup.