This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
It’s almost impossible to drink hot-piping coffee when you are trekking, camping, or simply going for a hike. Fortunately, many coffee machine manufacturers took the initiative to build battery-operated coffee makers for travelers just like you.
You can now travel with these coffee brewers that work without electricity and still brew quality-tasting coffee. They don’t just brew drip coffees but also espressos and Moka beverages.
So, next time you bail the country roads for a new adventure, these coffee makers can be great partners to give you the boost, energy, and power for an intimate journey!
|Top||Makita DCM501Z 18V LXT/ 12V max CXTLithium-Ion Cordless Coffee Maker, Tool Only||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker, Upgrade Version of Minipresso, 18 Bar Pressure Hand Coffee Maker, Travel Gadgets, Manually Operated, Compatible with Ground Coffee, Perfect for Camping||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Hand Presso Hybrid (Japan Import)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||Wacaco Pipamoka Portable Coffee Maker, Single Serve Coffee brewer, All-in-one Vacuum Pressured，Insulated Travel Mug, Hand Powered and Filter Pressure Brewer, Quick Extraction, Stainless Steel Thermo Cup, 10 fl oz||Prime||Buy Now|
|Top||CONQUECO Portable Espresso Maker Travel Coffee Maker with Case, Portable Electric Espresso Machine suit for Travel, outdoor, Home and Office||Prime||Buy Now|
Is there such a thing as a battery-operated coffee maker?
Yes, these devices will take a certain amount of time to heat the water, brew the beverages and serve you hot-delicious coffee, but it’s worth the time when this is the only option.
Battery-operated coffee makers come in various shapes and sizes, and a lot of them look alike, weigh the same, and travel with you like any metal/plastic water bottle.
These battery-operated coffee makers will work without electricity but can be easily recharged with your car in hours.
Or you can always keep spare batteries when traveling. Depending on your budget and the type of coffee brewer you would want, there’s a wide variety for you to choose from.
This list of five battery-operated coffee makers will explain the diverse range of brewers, their expense, features, and what you should look for in them.
Types of battery operated coffee makers:
- Rechargeable coffee makers (usually espressos) will come with AC adaptors and AC cords to charge the device. These devices typically take 4-5 hours to recharge fully to brew 4-5 beverages or more. You can charge the device again with your car if it discharges.
- Attachable long-lasting batteries: These batteries can be replaced when they are done servicing your coffee makers. You can charge these batteries, but they serve you for a longer period of time before running out.
Please note: It’s best to carry a hot thermal water bottle with you to avoid wasting the machine’s battery with constant heating of the water. These battery-powered coffee makers will take longer (more than 15 minutes to heat the water). So, pour already-boiling water into the device and brew quickly while also saving the battery.
Types of beverages they brew:
- Espresso: These machines do come with manual/pump mechanisms to extract espresso shots. You will need to pump pressure manually, or it will come with a high-defined 5-15-Bar pump pressure. The automatic pump will be more expensive than manual pumping.
- Drip coffee: Battery-operated coffee makers come with metal/permanent filters and don’t require paper filters to go with. Drip coffee machines are bigger than espresso brewers in size.
Makita DCM501Z brews drip/filtered coffee both ways; through coffee bags and freshly ground coffee. The dynamics of this battery-operated machine are pretty simple. It has a plastic body with a big upper handle to support the whole system.
The blue-colored Makita offers a stainless steel mug to brew the beverages in. The cup has a lid to keep the beverage hot, one basket to support tea bags, another basket to filter pre-ground/freshly ground coffee.
The filter basket has a mesh for saturation right below the water reservoir. The water reservoir is a small tank sitting at the top of the machine. You can find the water tank once you remove the upper lid.
The filter baskets have a magnet to keep the baskets from moving. Makita offers double battery slots: 12V CXT slide-style battery slot and 18V LXT batteries.
LXT batteries can charge in 15 to 20 minutes and last for 3-5 cups of coffee (5 ounces each).
Please note: this machine doesn’t come with batteries; you will need to purchase it separately along with their charges.
The Makita an expensive option but is very fast compared to other espresso-based battery-powered coffee makers. It will heat the water and brew the coffee for you in 5 minutes.
- It brews filtered coffee in 5 minutes.
- The machine offers stainless steel mugs to drink directly from the brewed cup.
- Makita brews 5 ounces (150-200ml) at a time, which is more than the amount any other battery-operated espresso maker will brew (usually 30ml)
- The machine has a light-weighted build compared to other electronic drip coffee makers.
- Avails two slide-style battery slots.
- Permanent filter basket and coffee bag slot.
- A plastic scoop to measure your pre-ground coffee.
- The machine turns itself off when not provided with enough water.
- The machine is made of plastic. However, plastic does make it lighter to carry around while traveling.
- It doesn’t come with batteries.
- Expensive for a small machine.
- Not that appealing to look at.
- The battery will run out of life after every five brews (25-30 minutes)
Is it even possible to pump and extract espresso shots without an actual pump and lever/piston? Yes, Wacaco Nanopresso espresso brewer does it for you.
This manual machine asks you to pump the plunger to create the pressure build-up inside the small coffee brewer. The company claims to build 18-bars of pressure.
Nanopresso looks like a small bottle with multiple screwable parts for easy cleaning and brewing.
This espresso device doesn’t need a battery or electricity to function correctly, just manual action of pumping the plunger in and out. You will need to add hot water to the water chamber to start the brewing cycle.
Nanopresso can use ground coffee and Nespresso pods. However, the pod portafilter needs to be bought separately, and it will add extra cost to the overall device. Nanopresso can create a bit of a learning curve to use, but it brews quality espresso.
The machine comes with a scoop to dose and tamp pre-ground/freshly-ground coffee. Nanopresso doesn’t work with the extra-fine ground. So, you probably will be tasting a mild espresso shot.
- The machine is very portable and doesn’t increase the extra expense of batteries.
- It’s small size allows you to carry it anywhere without needing additional storage space. It looks like a bottle.
- The device comes in a clean-black color profile.
- It offers a brush to clean the grounds off the coffee container.
- The pod brewing method produces rich, dense crema. The same cannot be said for ground coffee.
- One of the best devices for an affordable espresso.
- Wacaco Nanopresso can only brew a single shot of espresso at a time.
- It doesn’t come with a heater and results in a lot of heat loss throughout the process.
- Nanopresso can hold 60ml of water (max)
- The plunger is rather hard to press and involves actual manual action, which gets complicated with back-to-back brews.
- It doesn’t accept finest-ground coffee.
- The cleaning process is rather extensive.
- It’s made of plastic.
Handpresso Wild has a beautiful interface with minimal bottle design and stainless steel built. The device looks like a big spoon but allows you to brew pressurized espresso.
Yes, Handpresso Wild manages to create pressure with manual action. This manual action is performed by constantly pumping the plunger present at the bottom. The device takes 10-20 seconds to build pressure of 16-Bar.
In Handpresso, the pressure is built first, and then the rest of the material is put together. The device honestly looks beautiful with a cylindrical frame and a scoop that is actually a water tank, coffee holder, and portafilter all set together.
It’s small and will brew one shot at a time. To brew with Handpresso, you will first need to pump the plunger for 15 seconds or until the pressure gauge reads green. (Yes, it does come with a pressure gauge.)
Once done, unscrew the portafilter, remove the coffee basket and add hot-piping water at the scoop base until the water-limit mark. The coffee holder allows you to use both pre-ground coffee and ESE pods with different coffee baskets. Once you are done putting coffee in the chamber, screw the portafilter back.
Put over top of an espresso glass and allow it to face the portafilter. Hold the portafilter firmly and press the brewing button; it will instantly brew espresso inside the cup without any other steps. You can actually observe a rich crema and dark espresso.
You can buy a Handpresso outdoor kit; it will be a beautiful gift for any espresso lover. It comes in a lovely square, sturdy box that unzips to introduce inner content.
The outdoor kit offers four espresso transparent cups, an insulating thermal bottle (keeps the water at 190 degrees for about an hour), pre-tamped coffee pods for future use, etc.
- Handpresso is small and easily portable. You can buy a Handpresso portable bag with straps separately.
- It’s completely stainless steel. The product is top quality.
- It comes in beautiful packaging.
- Handpresso can brew ESE pods as well as ground coffee.
- The first-ever portable espresso maker to offer a pressure gauge and the capability to produce 16-bars of pressure.
- The model comes in black matte and shiny finish.
- The device doesn’t require electricity or batteries.
- It can brew a small shot of espresso only.
- The device doesn’t heat the brew. So, you will be sipping a not-so-hot espresso shot.
- It’s expensive, and the price is equal to electric espresso machines (Entry-level)
Pipa Moka is a beautifully constructed coffee maker with stainless steel casing and vacuum pressure technology to create pressure and dense, delicious coffee. Pipamoka has a capacity of 300ml and can brew the whole stainless steel cup in 2 minutes without electricity and batteries.
The device requires manual activity to create vacuum pressure by twisting the knob and turning the plastic ring on the top of the body.
It takes approximately two minutes and gentle screwing to brew your beverage. The process of brewing long black with Wacaco is pretty simple.
It comes with a stainless steel filter basket (the case is made of sturdy plastic, but the mesh is pure stainless steel for excellent extraction). Fill in pre-ground coffee in the enclosed filter basket and add hot-boiling water in the screwed bottle.
(The bottle has two parts; the outer cylinder is made of stainless steel, and another screwed cylinder is fitted in the stainless steel exterior.
Once you are done refilling the bottle, allow the filter basket to dip inside the hot water. Let it reach the bottom. Give the bottle a few taps on the surface, so that the filter basket settles at the bottom and air bubbles escape the water.
Next, start turning the orange band clockwise until it comes entirely out, leaving your brewed hot coffee behind. The coffee remains in the stainless steel mug, and the plastic screw comes out while vacuuming.
You can seal the lid on top of the stainless steel mug and enjoy your coffee for as long as you’d like.
- The machine brews fast compared to other products.
- It offers a brush to clean the grounds and a funnel to pour the ground coffee without any spills.
- Also, pipa Moka comes with a scoop for pre-ground or freshly ground coffee. Pro-tip: add extra coffee and darker roast to avoid the stale taste.
- The screw itself has water markings for brewing different coffee ratios to help you with great-tasting coffee.
- The lid seals to avoid spills.
- It offers an additional black pouch to carry the device with ease. (You can buy a contrasting gray and orange case to hold the bottle-like coffee maker)
- It’s small and easily portable and brews enough coffee.
- The vacuum process seems lengthy and manually challenging if you have to repeat it a few times.
- Plastic parts can affect the flavor the first time you use it. If you soak the parts in dish soap or run them through the dishwasher you can avoid this.
Another fine addition to this list is Conqueco Portable, the espresso maker. Unlike other devices that work on manual action, this device works on batteries, it heats, and brews the beverage for you in the given time (5-10 minutes).
Conqueco espresso maker can build up to 15-bars of pressure inside the bottle-like device and has a power LED-display to show battery life.
It comes with two adapters, one allows you to charge the coffee maker through the car, and another AC adapter will enable you to use an indoor electric outlet.
The battery life can depend on the process of brewing you choose. Conqueco can brew with both cold water and hot water.
If you use cold water to brew, the brewer will take 15 minutes to heat and extract the shots. This also uses almost all the battery life. So, it’s best to use hot boiling water while brewing.
Conqueco has a bottle shape with three chambers and center body. The top-most chamber is filled with water accompanied by the body where pressure and heating process takes place.
Below the body is the pod holder and below the pod holder is the big cup where the beverage is extracted. All these are screwed together.
The machine uses Nespresso or L’OR pods only to brew beverages. No other pods or pre-ground coffee will work with this device.
After adding water and the pod, turn on the switch and press the button for 5 seconds to brew with hot water (The water will directly run through the pod). With cold water, press the button for 2 seconds; the water will start heating up and brew in 15 minutes.
- It’s powered by batteries and can be charged with a car.
- AC adaptor, cleaning brush, and scoop comes with the device.
- When heating the water, it reaches 190 degrees quickly. The device has an NTC temperature sensor.
- It brews quality espresso.
- The machine is small and easily portable.
- The batteries run out pretty fast, and it takes a lot of time to charge it completely.
- Heating and brewing take 15 minutes which seems like an eternity when you are waiting for your first cup of coffee. (maybe I’m just impatient).
Make sure it is a true battery-operated coffee maker.
A decent battery-operated coffee maker can cost you a couple of hundred dollars ($100-$200). So, make sure you are buying a reliable product with equally functioning batteries and their chargers.
While purchasing a battery-powered coffee maker, choose 15V-20V of batteries to support and charge it for an extended period.
Apart from the said coffee makers, many companies manufacture no-electricity, no-batteries manual coffee makers. These devices simply need manual pumping and hot-piping water in the kettles to brew the shot.
The truth is, batteries will die sooner or later, and when you are left with no source to charge these batteries, your coffee maker will become a useless purchase. (that’s why we included the manual options on this list)
So, choose a battery-operated coffee maker when you have the source to charge it like a car/car adaptor or a van with charging slots.
These rechargeable batteries can last for an hour or 5-6 brew (less or more depending on the battery power and if you are using hot or cold water)
If you don’t have the source to recharge your batteries, choose a manual, portable coffee maker that doesn’t require batteries or electricity to function. These coffee makers usually brew espresso in a couple of minutes.
Battery-operated coffee makers will brew hotter beverages than manual espresso makers, but the choice can depend on your preferred palate.
Battery-powered coffee makers can brew both drip coffee and espresso, but they will consume more energy while heating up. So, make sure to choose wisely.
While you choose a battery-operated coffee device, make sure its mechanism doesn’t overheat the battery or exhaust it too much.
Battery chargers use a fan to decrease the heat inside the batteries while charging. Pro tip: You can brew with a battery while it’s being charged to keep the heat away.
These devices are a fun investment for travelers, but battery-powered coffee makers can be more expensive, and constant replacement of batteries in itself is more costly than you can imagine. A Makita battery should last for three years. Again, the choice depends on you.
What options do you have to make coffee without electricity?
Multiple brewing methods do not demand electricity to brew your beverage. Such brewing apparatuses are often more affordable, sturdy, aesthetic, and incredible showpieces on your trekking counter or van.
Chemex: A sandglass-like carafe that brews filtered coffee without electricity. Place a filter at the tunnel’s mouth and pour hot water from a kettle/thermal bottle, stove, etc.
The apparatus will brew in five minutes. Chemex is more extensive and can brew 2-3 cups of coffee in one go! The Hario V60 is another similar product that brews hot filtered coffee without electricity or a battery.
Please note: Chemex and other such devices are either made of glass or ceramic and can be very delicate while trekking or even while resting at home. So, store them properly.
Moka Pot: Moka pots brew on a stove or campfire and thus brew hot beverages. Moka Pots create one of the best dense coffees (It’s not as complex as espresso but has a close game). Compared to Chemex, Moka pots are sturdier and are made of aluminum or stainless steel.
Battery-operated coffee makers: You wouldn’t need heat, stove, burner to ignite the process as long as your batteries are functioning. Battery-operated coffee makers are better than the rest because they are specially designed to adjust to your trekking life.
- They have a concise body and either use stainless steel or sturdy plastic to build the device.
- Most of these battery-operated devices look like bottles and are easily stored in your backpack.
- They are meant to hit the roads with you!
Manual espresso makers: The espresso from these devices is more robust than what you will receive from Moka pots because manual espresso makers build intense pressure to extract quality crema and dense nicely-extracted espresso.
Electric coffee maker’s substitutes are:
- FIRE. You can brew hot-piping, almost boiling coffee with a source of fire. Carry a burner, a Moka pot, or just a kettle to heat the water above a bonfire.
- Batteries: These are even better if you have charged them to the max level and are carrying additional ones to replace drained batteries.
- Hot thermal bottle: Stainless steel bottle that keeps the water hot will work great with Nanopresso and similar devices.
- Kettle and Fire: Brewing and straining the coffee traditionally.
Questions to ask before buying a battery-operated coffee maker
You shouldn’t compromise the quality of the product you are purchasing just because it’s the last resort.
Whatever you wish to have in the battery-operated coffee maker must be there, and you can find the right one for you with a bit of research and asking these Q&As before making the purchase.
Since coffee makers are usually small, their quality and functionality stay at the base minimum. These coffee makers will brew for you without any additional programmability.
Please note: These machines will brew average, entry-level espressos and coffees with a mild taste and not-so-hot temperature. So, use boiling water and dark-roast extra flavored roast to brew quality coffee with these machines. Capsules and ESE pods (flavored) will brew more tasteful coffee than ground coffee.
If you wish to brew freshly-ground coffee, buy a manual grinder along with your purchase to grind free beans.
If you plan to grind fresh coffee beans, it’s best to choose highly-flavored (naturally strong) Arabica coffee beans.
You can choose between these Nespresso pods with exquisite flavors as well. These are some of the essentials you’d need with a new battery-operated coffee maker, so don’t forget to pick the best flavors and apparatus for yourself.
These Q&As will introduce you to the aspects of these coffee makers, their size, style, flavor profile, complexity, usability, cost, how much coffee they will brew, much more.
How long does it take to brew?
Since these are manual, hand-operated coffee makers, these brewers will take longer than electronic coffee makers/espresso machines. The brewing period of beverages can also depend on the specific coffee maker you will be buying.
Battery-operated coffee makers can take anywhere between 5 minutes-15 minutes while brewing the coffee. For instance, the Makita coffee maker brews the filtered coffee in 5 minutes.
It heats cold water pretty fast compared to other brewers. On the other hand, the Conqueco Espresso maker takes 15 minutes to heat the water and brew the espresso shot.
The period can also depend on the heating factor and if you choose to heat the water for brewing or not. Since these machines are installed with a small heating element, it will be slower than you expect. Many portable devices allow you to brew by adding hot water.
That is, you can brew by skipping the heating stage altogether. This can be done by using a hot thermal (stainless steel) bottle that has boiling water stored or by heating the water in the woods on a kettle will save you both time and battery.
It’s best to carry a burner while traveling or camping to heat and cook small meals for you in the meantime. Once you boil water separately, the rest of the process is relatively fast forward. You will add coffee for espresso/filtered coffee, and it will be brewed quickly.
After artificially adding hot water, espresso shots will take much less time than cold water. It’s a matter of seconds unless you need to pump the pressure build-up manually. Pushing the plunger manually will mostly take a minute or two.
On the other hand, filtered coffee is a slower process since no pressure can push all the water through the coffee at once. Also, filtered coffee has a larger cup size. Mostly, these battery-operated coffee makers will take 2-5 minutes to filter coffee nicely.
How easy is it to clean?
These coffee brewers are pretty simple and small compared to more significant, electric espresso/filtered coffee machines, so these will be simpler to clean and will be less time-consuming.
In the list, Makita is the only coffee maker that’s bigger and rectangle-bodied than the rest of the counterparts that are mainly cylindrical in shape.
Makita has a plastic body and many compartments like the small water tank, dual filtered baskets, stainless steel jar, plastic body base, etc.
Although plastic is more difficult to break, it’s prone to scratches, so keep your device away from sharp objects and water. The battery slots are open and might damage at the contact of water.
While cleaning the machine, make sure to wipe it off with a damp cloth. Please check if the removable parts are dishwasher safe or not. If not, you will need to hand-wash them.
Battery-operated cylindrical espresso makers are the easiest to wash because they require a similar process to brewing. You need to run water through the system without coffee installed. This will ensure the cleaning of the portafilter, shower screen, and baskets.
If it doesn’t need electricity or a battery, water is safe around such brewers, but if an internal battery system powers it, keep moisture away.
Most of these items are not dishwasher safe, so clean and remove the coffee puck carefully. All these coffee brewers come with a brush to wipe off the extra ground mess.
Nespresso pods, ESE pods make much less mess than ground coffee.
To avoid a complete mess, it’s best to brew with pods instead of ground coffee because the coffee puck might remain clogged at the surface, and ground particles are bound to stick to other parts of the machine and mess around on the table.
With Nespresso pods/ESE pods, all you need to do is remove the container/used pods from the machine and run the washable parts with water without worrying about clogged filters, portafilter, coffee container, etc.
How many people are you making coffee for?
Sorry to break it to you; these portable coffee makers can’t brew more than one shot of espresso or one cup of coffee at a time, let alone for a morning party.
The whole concept of trekking coffee makers is to serve portability, less weightage in their trekking bag, and easy travel.
So, no matter what battery-powered coffee maker you choose, it’s going to brew a solitary cup, no more and no less.
The difference in the cup size does matter. Espresso makers will brew somewhere around 30ml (one ounce of shot) every time you brew. Filtered coffee will brew a max of 5 ounces-10 ounces of coffee.
If you are a couple who have similar taste-making 2 shots or cups back to back is no big deaal.
Depending on the number of people around and the hot water source, you can easily pull back to back espresso shots by adding boiling water to the device.
Once you are done brewing one shot, you can rinse the machine and then brew another shot right away without waiting.
Make sure you have ample hot water to pull back-to-back shots. It will take a couple of minutes, but few people can enjoy espresso shots while trekking with a bit of patience.
Wacaco pipa Moka, this brewer allows individuals to add and brew filtered coffee using already-boiling water.
Pipamoka will require manual saturation and it takes 2-3 minutes to brew coffee with the device. Once it’s brewed, the second individual can brew with similar functions. You can serve 2-3 people with the method, not more.
What is the battery capacity?
Before discussing the chargeable hours of battery, let’s know the overall life expectancy of batteries used in these coffee makers.
The average life expectancy of a 12V battery is mostly 3-4 years and depends on how you utilize the battery.
Most of these rechargeable lithium-ion batteries lose 20% of their capacity after two or fewer years and go utterly useless after the third year. Three years is not a bad investment but make sure to choose quality batteries that will last longer.
Mainly, the manufacturers will inform you of the battery you must buy to recharge the coffee maker. I suggest you stick to the suggestion if you are oblivious to the concepts of power and voltage, like me.
Different coffee makers demand a specific battery. Some give you the option to slide batteries externally, while others come with battery input that may or may not get changed.
Please note: these rechargeable lithium-ion batteries tend to self-discharge when left unused with the remaining charge. So, make good use of their power and empty them by yourself without wasting that charge. Also, do charge the battery completely before bringing them with you.
How long until you need to recharge the batteries again?
Most of the batteries need a recharge after 2-3 hours or less, depending on the battery and its usage. Usually, brewing itself isn’t much battery-consuming but heating the water takes most of the battery life.
So, if you are heating the water, it will consume most of the charged battery and will leave you with a couple of minutes or an hour at most. If you are brewing coffee while also heating the water, the battery will support only 2-3 drinks back-to-back.
When you heat the water, the battery will last for many brews. Espresso shots usually consume batteries either to build pressure or to heat the water.
Both of these actions can be manually performed, so you can skip the expense and brew unlimited coffee without unnecessarily purchasing multiple batteries.
Please note: If you use already boiling water, the brew will be mild hot and never hot enough. So, if you have supreme love for a hot brew, it’s best to invest in a battery-operated trekking coffee maker.
What is the coffee quality?
The coffee quality can depend on the techniques you use while brewing and the heating element of the coffee machine.
Most of these battery-powered coffee makers either brew filtered drip coffee or espresso shots, and each will have a similar taste to what an entry-level brewer will brew.
If you are not heating the water inside the machine, the coffee/shot will be colder and staler than hot-piping coffee, especially espresso. Espressos get sour when they get cold.
Quality of filtered coffee brewed by a battery-operated coffee maker
Filtered coffee demands fewer techniques and barista skills than espresso shots. So, it’s easier to brew delicious filtered coffee by using these portable coffee makers.
However, you must purchase high-quality coffee beans and a good grinder that grinds well for coffee and espresso.
Pre-ground coffee will never create as good a taste as freshly ground coffee. While investing in a portable coffee maker, also invest in flavored Arabica beans (dark-medium roast)
Once you have it all, practice your brewing skills and learn the best way to brew filtered coffee. With an automatic drip coffee machine, you don’t need to apply much strength and concentration but remember few aspects:
- Use freshly ground coffee (Arabica beans) and use a dark-medium roast while you are at it. Grind your beans medium-fine or finest, if you prefer that.
- Preheat the mug that you are going to brew in to maintain temperature.
- Choose a coffee maker that evenly saturates water in the coffee.
- Brewing temperature: 195 degrees Fahrenheit if you are heating water separately.
- 4-8 minutes is the brewing period depending on the amount you are brewing.
- Filter coffee usually uses 1:16-1:17 (1gm being coffee and 16 being water) Pro tip: use darker coffee and lesser water to have complex filtered coffee.
Espressos are usually stale and cold when you use portable, trekking coffee makers, but some espresso is better than no espresso.
Unfortunately, battery-operated espresso machines are usually different from real electric espresso machines. So, none of your old techniques will work.
These machines produce mild-hot espressos with great crema and dark-flavorful taste if you choose quality beans.
People often complain about the cold espressos it brews, but that’s not the complete case. These brewers do produce hot espressos, not as hot as high-quality machines will but they are still hot.
- Use rich-flavored coffee beans.
- Nespresso and ESE pods brew better with these machines.
- Preheat the device or rinse it with boiling water.
What material is it made of?
Portable coffee makers are usually made of plastic to sustain challenging weather. Simultaneously, keeping the weight down to make them more easily portable and create less-costly battery-operated coffee makers.
Nonetheless, all these battery-operated coffee makers (especially filtered coffee) usually have stainless steel mugs and sealed lids to keep the coffee hot for a more extended period.
In a filtered coffee maker, the water tank, filtered baskets, the whole external body is made of sturdy plastic except for the stainless steel mug. However, plastic is not a good resort for coffee makers since it comes across heating and can promote BPA infiltration.
BPA in plastic is hazardous and leads to many side effects. Thus, it’s essential to choose a plastic coffee maker that’s BPA-free. Always buy a product that promotes BPA-free plastic.
However, you can find stainless steel variabilities in these coffee makers, but they will be more expensive. Handpresso is one such exception with a 100% stainless steel body and brews tasteful espressos.
Is hot water required before brewing?
Yes, and no.
The manual coffee makers require hot water before the brewing process. These machines usually have small water tanks. These water tanks are either present separately or go together with the filter.
Battery-operated espresso makers have their water tanks right above the portafilter. Expensive coffee makers always give you a choice to choose between heating the water inside the system or adding the already boiling water inside the water tanks.
Coffee makers that don’t include batteries will never boil/heat the water for you because they don’t have a charge. These machines will only ever accept boiling water and produce mild-hot espresso shots.
Some coffee makers that come with batteries will ask you to set the choice in the machine, just like the Conqueco coffee maker. In Conqueco, when you use boiling water to brew espresso, you press the power button for five seconds to allow the water to pass through the system for a direct espresso shot.
But when you want to heat the water inside the machine, you press and hold the power button for 2 seconds. (The device takes 15 minutes to heat and brew the beverage thoroughly)
Please note: These coffee makers will take more battery life and time to heat the water. The brewing process that can be performed in 2 minutes can take 15-20 minutes to brew a single shot while heating.
What types of coffee does your machine use?
Battery-operated coffee makers can brew with pre-ground coffee, freshly-ground coffee beans, ESE pods, and Nespresso pods.
Every coffee brewer will give you access to brew ground coffee. All the coffee makers come with coffee baskets to carry on the brewing process.
ESE pods: ESE pods are exclusive for espresso machines because they are ground for espresso coffees only.
ESE pods can fit in portafilter baskets. Also note: Every company has a different fit for their personally designed ESE pods. So, battery-operated coffee makers allow you to use ESE pods if they come with a separate coffee basket that’s certainly designed to fit an ESE pod.
Please remember, you cannot simply put away ESE pods or coffee bags directly in any coffee basket. It must be specifically designed for it to brew rich flavors. Most espresso makers allow you to use ESE pods, and they offer separate coffee baskets for you to brew them.
Nespresso pods: Nespresso pods come in various flavors and every flavor is great, but Nespresso pods can only brew with Nespresso machines or machines designed for Nespresso pods.
Unlike ESE pods wrapped in paper filters, Nespresso pods are sealed aluminum pods that need a specific device to extract flavors out of them.
Wacaco portable Nespresso coffee maker allows you to brew Nespresso pods and ground coffee both, but you will need to buy both the tools separately.
K-cups: Keurig designed K-cups and only Keurig can accept K-cups. Keurig hasn’t built any travel-friendly coffee makers for you to carry around without electricity.
Ground coffee: As discussed, most of the machines will accept ground coffee unless it’s an exclusive pod coffee brewer. Ground coffee usually has mesh filters that are made of stainless steel to provide maximum saturation.
How much do these coffee makers cost?
Battery-operated coffee makers can cost you anywhere between $50-$200 depending on the functionalities they offer.
Most non-battery, non-electric coffee makers that rely entirely on manual pumping for pressure and already hot water will cost much less and somewhere between $50-$100.
The most expensive coffee maker is still ‘the Makita’ that doesn’t come with a battery. The Makita coffee maker, battery, and charger can cost you $200-$250 (The coffee maker is $100 and separate charger and battery can cost you $100-$150)
Battery-operated coffee makers who directly get charged through a switch and cable have intermediate price points. They have less power, but these batteries are set inside the machine, and you don’t have to worry about losing them.
Plus, you save the expense of chargers. These internally attached batteries can be charged through car adaptors easily.
What adds to the overall cost of these portable coffee makers:
- The material used to build it: The more stainless steel your coffee maker uses, the more expensive and reliable it will get. Stainless steel can be costly, but it’s there for the long term.
- Filter basket options: If it allows you to brew ground coffee and pods with separate filters, it will cost extra money.
- LED lights or battery indication and power-lit models will cost more.
Choose a coffee maker that’s in your budget. If you don’t need the additional expense of batteries, either pick one that’s already internally equipped with batteries and charges on in your car or purchase a manual battery-less coffee maker.
How big is the coffee maker?
In case of traveling, the smaller the coffee maker is, the better it is to carry around. As discussed, portable coffee makers usually have a bottle shape and also similar size. They can weigh anywhere between 500ml-1kg.
The standard height of any bottle-shaped coffee maker usually falls between 7in-15in. The Makita coffee maker has a height of 17 inches; the rest have an average size of 12″.
While checking for the height of an espresso maker, check the water tank it has to offer. Portable coffee makers will usually offer 30ml ounce of water capacity, but the size might increase by 60ml.
These coffee makers (the one shaped like a bottle) will always come with exclusive bags that you can zip and sling around. You can purchase them separately and keep your coffee maker safe. These bags are a great investment.
How much does it weigh?
Portable coffee makers are very lightweight. As stated, they will weigh anywhere between 500g-1kg (more or less.)
The weight of the device can also depend on the material used while manufacturing these devices. Stainless steel will weigh more than plastic, but you can always find a middle range between plastic and stainless steel. It will cost less.
Makita is one such big exception in these coffee makers. It’s not shaped or sized like a bottle. Makita is a big plastic box with a medium water tank (5 ounces) and double slots for two different battery types. It’s not as heavy as you would think, but it is a bit bulky.
The total weight of Makita is 2 to 3 pounds(without water), and it comes with an oversized handle that supports the weight quickly, and you can carry it around without worrying too much.
Where will you be using it?
You can use these devices anywhere, but they specifically meet the demand of trekking, casual traveling, and forest regions that don’t allow electricity.
- Camping: Buy a manual coffee maker that won’t require batteries or charging of batteries.
- Traveling: if you are traveling by car, train, or airplane, you can easily use your coffee maker and charge it at any point in time.
- A new city for a short trip: New cities might not taste like your homemade coffees. These small investments can make your short trips better with tasty coffee.
- Home: You can always use the coffee maker right at your home when you are out of electricity.
- Van-house: If you are always traveling, these coffee makers can keep you awake at night while driving.
Does it come with a milk frother?
Most of these coffee makers will not come with a milk frother, but you can always invest in an excellent manual milk frother that will suit your traveling lifestyle. Many suitable manual foaming devices create rich microfoam milk.
You will have to practice a little to create good, dense microfoam before you hit the roads because manual frothers do take time and practice to receive good results.
Also, do keep in mind, you will need to perform manual plunging, i.e., you will need to pump the plunger to create foam manually.
Tips for traveling with coffee.
It’s best to ration your coffee and set some ground rules before you go ahead and carry a large grinder, coffee brewer, and stock pre-ground/fresh coffee beans inside your bag.
The top-notch rule for trekking and traveling is to pack minimally. So, instead of carrying a big coffee maker, choose a portable-size, handle-friendly prototype of the machine that can be fit in your carry bag easily. If you enjoy freshly ground coffee, carry a small manual grinder.
These manual grinders will churn for espressos as well. Change the settings to whatever you prefer right at your home and before starting your travel.
For coffee beans, carry your favorite bag of coffee beans or seal them in a stainless steel container. Don’t go ahead trying new beans for your traveling because you never know the taste; carry highly-flavored, dark-roasted beans for enhanced flavor.
If you choose pre-ground, don’t carry the whole container and instead hold a small amount of pre-ground coffee in a sealed container. Count your days out, and then scoop the required coffee with some additional add-on.
Even if you are not trekking and simply traveling to a new city/country, it’s much better to keep the list and your bag with a minimal amount of everything possible if you will return to your city in a couple of days.
Use a light-weight machine
Portability is the key to trekking. While in the wilderness, the last thing you’d want is to drag unnecessary luggage along.
You will be on your feet a lotand will be either carrying the luggage on your shoulder or relying on your hands. So, bring lightweight things.
The same goes for coffee. If you want to make fresh coffee for yourself every morning while you are trekking, carry a lightweight espresso maker/coffee brewer. So, you can carry it to any part of the forest/world.
These coffee makers must fit in a small handbag/shoulder bag, or you can buy a sling bag to carry them around. The smaller the machine is, the better it’s for traveling.
At most, coffee makers will come in the shape and size of a bottle that usually has screwable parts that fit together to brew for you. These bottle-like coffee makers easily settle in your carry bag and will brew faster.
Makita coffee maker is slightly bigger than the rest of the tools, but it brews hot-piping coffee. It’s more like a sturdy plastic box with chambers and a battery with a big handle to carry it around. These machines will weigh anywhere between 1 to 2 pounds except for the Makita that weighs almost 3 pounds.
Seal your coffee so that it stays fresh
Choosing the correct coffee is essential. Without fresh coffee beans/pre-ground coffee, your espressos or filtered coffee will never taste good. So, seal your pre-ground coffee nicely to keep it fresh longer.
Please note: As a coffee snob, you must know the importance of freshly-ground coffee beans, and there’s no comparison between the two.
Coffee beans will always taste better because they hold the taste, fragrance, flavors, aroma, and oils inside the beans for longer, unlike pre-ground coffee, whose surface is already oxidized.
How to seal pre-ground coffee:
However, if you cannot carry a manual grinder for some reason, you can store fresh pre-ground coffee. When storing pre-ground coffee, make sure it’s freshly bought and not something kept for long to ruin the taste even further.
So, order a new bag of pre-ground coffee before your trip to preserve the taste longer for your trip.
- Instead of packing in a plastic bag, use a stainless steel container with a sealed lid. The sealed cover will keep your coffee fresh for longer compared to plastic bags. If you can’t arrange a sealed container, go with zipper bags.
- Seal the container/zip the bag as soon as you scoop the coffee out. Don’t allow the container to be open for long as the flavors might escape.
How to seal coffee beans:
- Transfer your coffee beans from the zip bag into a container if you have one available.
- Keep them away from the sun to preserve the oils.
- Seal them back as soon you are done scooping the beans out.
Nespresso and ESE pods are better because:
- They produce minimal waste.
- Nespresso pods brew tasteful coffees.
- Unlike coffee grounds, pods collect the coffee puck inside without dirtying your coffee maker.
- They are easier to carry and keep coffee sealed until reaching the coffee maker.
Test your machine at home so that you are familiar with how to use it
These machines aren’t like your average coffee makers sitting on your kitchen counter, these coffee makers’ dynamics are entirely different from what you are used to.
It’s best to use your new coffee maker before going on your trip. These coffee makers aren’t challenging to use, but they require some practice.
Makita coffee maker has a similar design to the original electric coffee maker, so it isn’t challenging to get used to. The second best battery-less design is Wacaco Pipamoka.
Wacaco pipa Moka brews dense filtered coffee in a bottle-shaped design with vacuum pressure and stainless steel mug.
The real deal starts when you wish to brew with an espresso maker while trekking or traveling. These brewers are entirely different from what an electric espresso maker will operate like.
In a battery-operated coffee maker, the machine will mildly heat your espresso shot and apply mild pressure.
Most of the espresso makers are entirely manual and don’t come with either electricity or batteries. These espresso makers generally ask to apply manual pressure in the form of a plunger.
So, disassemble the parts of your brewer and learn how to clean it and put it back together. It is easier to do this in a controlled environment for the first time instead of in the woods.
Once you know about the parts of your coffee maker, brew more than a couple of times to learn what works best with your device.
Bring extra batteries
Your machine will be an empty vessel if it depends on batteries for heat-up, pressure, circulation, etc. Thus, it’s necessary to carry extra batteries to allow your machine to work the entire trip.
These coffee makers have short-lived batteries that usually run out after brewing 2-3 cups.
If you have spare batteries, you can charge the ones that have been discharged and use fresh batteries and repeat.
If you’re okay brewing without batteries, we have mentioned some excellent battery-less choices as well.
Bring a decent portable milk frother.
Espresso has various milk-based variants that many coffee lovers love. The list is nerve-wracking, and if you can invest in a manual milk frother, you will enjoy delicious milk-based espresso in the forest.
Yes, many manual milk frothers work without electricity and create great foam. Milk frothers come in various shapes and sizes. You can either choose a stainless steel whisk milk frother or a Bodum french press sieve-style milk frother.
Few things to keep in mind before investing in a milk frother:
- Does it come with a carafe/pitcher to foam the milk?
- The size of the milk frother and its carafe. Bigger carafes can be of no use if you want just a little quantity of milk, but if you are used to a lot of milk, you can go for the big-sized milk frother.
- Do keep in mind that manual milk frother won’t heat the milk, and foaming it will further reduce the temperature. So, choose a tightly sealed frother that reduces the heat loss to a minimum. You will also need to heat the milk before and after the frothing and foaming to keep the milk hot enough for an espresso beverage.
- Milk frothers are affordable and an excellent investment for trekking trips.
- Choose the material wisely. Stainless steel will be costlier than a glass carafe, milk frother. Stainless steel will insulate heat better.
Coffee is an essential part of our life, and you don’t have to leave it behind while trekking.
Waking up with the early sun, birds chirping, cool breeze, great view, and a cup of coffee is a mesmerizing morning.
On the other hand, if you are trekking in the snow and at a lower temperature, coffee would do wonders to your system, and that dopamine surge can make you feel warm, so skip some things but don’t skip the coffee.
These are the five best battery-operated coffee makers that will make your trips more energetic, enthusiastic, and fun.