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7 Best French Presses for Travel

Making coffee by French press is one of the most delightful ways to enjoy a cup of coffee. It is also super simple and requires no high-tech pieces of equipment. So, it’s not a wonder that so many people love a good cup of java from their French press.

When you travel, it would be so nice to wake up and have a delicious cup of coffee. But if you’re staying in a hotel, that dream is usually squashed by mediocre, cheap coffee in a paper cup. 

It’s enough to add a twinge of despair to even the best days on the road. And let’s not even talk about the adventures in coffee brewing when you’re camping. Can anyone say, “coffee full of grounds?”

Well, never fear. We have the perfect solution for all of your travel coffee woes. The portable French press. Imagine this, you get up on your travels, heat up some water, pour some grounds into your travel friendly French press, pour in the water, and five minutes later you are enjoying a perfect, tasty cup of perfectly brewed coffee. 

Sound too good to be true?

Count your blessings, it is oh. So. True. And the best thing in coffee since the coffee grinder!

Since we travel a lot and we like to have good coffee when we’re on the road, we have tried a lot of different coffee making options. The French press is our favorite because it is simple to use, always makes a good cup of coffee and is pretty portable. 

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a bunch of travel friendly French presses hit the market, so we thought it was time to try some, and give our thoughts.

After testing a bunch of options and drinking a lot of coffee we found that our favorite travel French press was the Bodum Travel Mug and French press. This option was the most versatile, it was super durable and it fit in our car cup holders, which was a bonus.

7 Best French Presses for Travel

  1. Overall WinnerBodum – Travel Mug – Vacuum Insulated with Interchangeable French Press Lid

When traveling, convenience and minimalism are essential. My favorite French press for traveling is the Bodum Travel Mug. The great thing about this mug is that it comes with it’s own French press lid so you can make your coffee and drink it from the same container. 

It is also the perfect size for a single cup of coffee, so you don’t have to worry about making a full carafe of coffee and only drinking a little.

Other highlights of this mug: it comes with a second, regular lid; it’s insulated so you don’t have to worry about cold coffee (unless you like it that way); and it comes in three colors.

The Bodum Travel Mug/French press is my pick for the best travel French press thanks to its perfect size and ease of use.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Capacity: 15 ounces 
  • Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.54 x 7.28 inches 
  • Weight: 14.1 ounces 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Converts from French press to regular mug
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Non-skid rubber base
  • Fits most standard car cup holders

Cons

  • This mug is not leakproof 
  • Lids are a bit tricky to get set

  1. Best Multi-Use – AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

A different take on the French press is the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso maker. What is great about the AeroPress is that it not only makes a nice cup of smooth and flavorful coffee, but it can also make a robust and delicious cup of espresso. 

This press is small, making 1 to 3 cups of espresso, so it’s perfectly packable and amazing for taking on the road.

This press kind of has a cult following. Lots of people swear that the AeroPress makes the best cup of coffee. The paper microfilter is probably the key to this press’s success. 

The filter removes all the fine grit from the coffee, so you have a delicious cup of French press coffee without the grit at the end.

Another added benefit is that the AeroPress will make cold brew coffee without a fancy machine. If you’re into the cold brew trend, but don’t want to invest in another expensive machine this is a great option for you.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Capacity: 1-3 cups
  • Dimensions: 9 1/2″ h X 4″ w X 4″ d
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces

Pros

  • Makes coffee, cold brew and espresso
  • Easy to use
  • Compact for easy packing
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Only makes a couple of servings
  • Not as durable as some other options
  • Filters are kind of a pain

  1. Best Budget- KOHIPRESS French Press Coffee Maker  

With a greater demand for full immersion coffee makers, especially those that are portable, the KOHIPRESS was invented. This durable, stainless steel coffee press is perfect for making both hot and cold press coffee. We like the double vacuum construction of this press, which does a great job of keeping hot coffee hot, and cold coffee cold.

This press uses an air pressure plunger for filtering, which makes pressing your grounds quicker. This reduces the potential for bitter flavors in your coffee. This press also has a tight sealing lid that you can drink directly from.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Capacity:12 ounces 
  • Dimensions: 2.7 x 2.7 x 10.6 inches 
  • Weight: 12 ounces 

Pros

  • Made the best cold brew
  • Fits in most standard car cup holders
  • Leak proof lid with flip top drinking spout
  • Light weight
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • A little tricky to use until you figure it out
  • Not super durable
  • Smaller capacity

  1. Best Durability- BruTrek Steel Toe 2.0 Travel French Press

With a name like “The Steel Toe” you know you’re going to get a product that is durable and tough. That is exactly what you get from the BruTrek Travel French press. This French press impressed us with its superior quality, and highly durable construction. 

We found that this press did the best at keeping our beverage at the optimal temperature, whether it was a piping hot coffee or a nice cold brewed tea.

BruTrek uses the patented Bru-Stop technology which stops grounds or tea leaves from brewing once they’ve been pressed. This keeps your coffee or tea from having that not so delicious bitter flavor.

This press is big enough for two cups of coffee or tea or can be used as an extra large travel mug, if you don’t like to share. We also like that this press comes in fun colors. The biggest bummer with this one is that it doesn’t fit well in our car cup holder.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Capacity: 20 ounces
  • Dimensions: 3.75 x 3.75 x 7.5 inches 
  • Weight: 16 ounces 

Pros

  • Extra durable stainless steel 
  • Bru-Stop technology works reasonably well
  • Good insulation
  • Comes in 4 colors

Cons

  • Not dishwasher safe
  • Too big for standard car cup holders

  1. Best for Car Camping- Stanley French Press

Growing up, my dad carried a Stanley thermos to work with him every day. The green enameled stainless steel is a bit nostalgic in my opinion. So naturally, I am drawn to this French press. 

The Stanley French press is a really great press for camping. It makes a great cup of coffee and keeps it hot for a good long time. 

You don’t have to worry about drinking cold coffee on those chilly camping mornings. And this press is plenty big, so you can enjoy multiple cups or share with your camping partners.

Like other Stanley products, this French press is made from durable stainless steel. It packs up easily and is easy to clean, so a perfect addition to your camping gear.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel 
  • Capacity: 48 ounces
  • Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 6 inches 
  • Weight: 1.15 Pounds 

Pros

  • Built to last
  • Larger capacity that many other presses
  • Exceptional insulation
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • It’s bulky

  1. Best Single Serve- ESPRO P1 Double Walled Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Coffee French Press

If you are looking for a good single serve French press for coffee or tea, we would suggest the ESPRO P1. This sleek looking French press makes a wonderful cup of coffee, thanks to the fine pressing filter that stops brewing and keeps grit from your coffee.

The ESPRO P1 is perfectly sized at 14 ounces, and the vacuum sealed, double walled construction keeps your coffee warm for hours, so it’s perfect for the office or on the road.

We were a little confused with the lid/press construction and assembly. It seems like there could be more capacity in the mug if the lid was redesigned. However, the ESPRO P1 does make a good cup of coffee, so really that is all that matters.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Capacity: 14 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.83 x 2.83 x 8.06 inches 
  • Weight: 12.2 ounces 

Pros

  • Well insulated
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Attractive design
  • Fits in car cup holders

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Could have a better press/lid design
  • Only comes in basic colors

  1. Best Thermal Insulated- Betterbrew Travel French Press Coffee Maker

When it comes to a small, compact French press, we thought it would be hard to find one that is so packable, but yet does an amazing job at keeping our coffee hot. We were pleasantly surprised to come across the Betterbrew Travel French press. 

This compactly sized French press made a great cup of coffee and kept it hot for a number of hours.

You don’t have to settle for hotel coffee again with this French press. It is nicely designed and has a comfortable silicone hand grip. We also really liked how this press was designed. 

It was simple yet didn’t limit the capacity of the mug with added parts and pieces. 

The Betterbrew Travel French press goes from making coffee to coffee mug just by adding the lid. It’s really a great French press for traveling.

KEY SPECS & FEATURES: 

  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Capacity: 14.88 Ounces
  • Dimensions: 9.84 x 3.66 x 3.54 inches
  • Weight: 13 Ounces 

Pros

  • Durable stainless steel construction
  • Leak proof flip top lid
  • Very compact
  • Easy to use
  • Comes in a borosilicate glass option

Cons

  • Really only holds one cup of coffee.
  • The strap/handle thing is a nuisance

The Coffee Taster's Club

How to Choose a French Press for Travel

So, we’ve put together a list of our favorite seven French presses for travel, but not everyone is going to love our picks. So… to help you find the perfect French press for your travels, we’ve created a buying guide with the features that we thought were the most important.  

With this list you can evaluate our list or go out and find your own, amazing, travel French press.

Materials

You’ve got two options here, when it comes to French presses: Stainless steel or glass. That’s it. To be honest we only found a couple of travel French presses that were glass, and they were pretty thick, so if you’re into using glass containers, we’ve listed that pick below. Otherwise, our recommendation is that you pick stainless steel.

Most stainless steel French presses are double walled for insulation. Not all stainless steel is created equal so look out for lightweight, inexpensive options that are posing as heavy duty beasts. While stainless steel is becoming more affordable, don’t skimp on quality for price. You’ll regret it down the road, and will probably end up buying a higher quality product anyway.

Capacity

You really need to think about capacity before you buy. Now, if you like to drink a few cups of coffee in the morning or if you’re brewing for more than one person, you may want a standard 48 ounce French press.

However, if you are brewing just for one, or if your travel companion is particular about their morning beverage, go for a 14 ounce to 16 ounce French press. These are typically about the same size as your normal travel mug but come with the workings of a French press. Most will double as a mug which is handy.

Ease of Cleaning

If you’re on the road, you probably aren’t going to be able to toss your French press in the dishwasher. So, picking an option that is easy to clean while you’re on the road is a must.

We found that some of the more complicated presses were a pain to clean. Look for travel French presses that don’t have a ton of parts. This cuts down on the challenge of cleaning, and honestly just makes using them easier. Also, if you’re going to be washing your French press in a small sink or camp wash basin, a smaller size will make clean-up easier.

How to Make French Press Coffee When Traveling

If you’re new to the French press game but are tired of settling for a sad coffee experience when you travel, here are some helpful tips to making a great cup of French press coffee when you’re on the road.

Water

If you’re willing to pay the extra money for bottled water, we recommend using a good quality bottled water for use in your travel French press. 

Our experience tells us that the tap water in our house makes a pretty darn good cup of coffee.

But when we travel, the variability in the taste of tap water can really change our coffee flavor. To eliminate the unknown, go for some bottled water. 

Grounds

Fine ground coffee is always the best for your French press. The smaller the grind the quicker the flavors are released from the grounds. But… finer grounds also mean more grit in your coffee. 

If you can grind your own coffee at home that is best. If you can’t grind your own coffee, you’ll want to steep your coffee a little longer for a more robust flavor.

The perfect ratio of grounds to water for an optimal brew is 1 part grounds to 6 parts water, according to coffee experts. Ok, that sounds neat, but honestly who wants to work that hard when on the road or camping. 

We eyeball the grounds in the bottom of the press to what looks like a good amount. Keep in mind, the more grounds you add the stronger your coffee will be, so use some moderation. 

You’ll want to experiment a little with your travel French press to come up with the optimal amount of grounds for your tastes.

Temperature

Water temperature is key for a good cup of French press. For best results, bring your water to a boil, then let it set for 30 or so seconds. This will allow the water temperature to drop just a little. 

It’s important to not use boiling water in your French press, because it will cause the bitter tannins in the coffee bean to come out strong. 

This will result in a less than delightful cup of coffee. If you can measure the temperature of the water, 200 to 208 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal, but the reality is that you’re probably not getting this technical in the woods or in your hotel room, so just let the water sit before pouring over your grounds.

The Pour

Ok, this is the important part, because this is where the magic happens. Don’t just pour the water in your French press, first pour in enough water to just cover the grounds. 

This process is called “bloom” and it is where all the aromas of your coffee are created. Following the bloom, fill your French press to the designated fill line, and stir gently. 

Place the lid back on the press, but do not press down on the knob. Let your coffee brew in this state for 4 to 5 minutes.

Filter

After 4 or 5 minutes, begin the process of pressing down the grounds. As you depress the stem and knob of your French press, you will compact the grounds at the bottom of the container and filter the grit away from the coffee. 

Don’t press too hard or go too fast or you may get break through grounds, or you may get a bitter flavor.

Final Thoughts on French Presses and Travel

We really don’t think you have to skimp on great coffee when you’re on the road. The humble French press makes enjoying a good cup of coffee possible, no matter where in the world you are. 

Today, there are so many great travel French presses on the market that if you take some time to do your research, you can find the perfect French press for traveling. 

Whether it’s a full-size French press, or a single-serving French press that doubles as a mug, there really is a French press for every traveler.

The Bodum Travel Mug/French press is a really great option for any traveler that wants a convenient way to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee on the road. It is our favorite, and we think you’ll find it to be a perfect addition to your camp gear or suitcase.

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Jason Gass

Jason is a professional freelance writer who regularly seeks out adventures with “The Wife” and "Munchkin" in tow. When he’s not traveling, camping, hiking or road-tripping, he is writing about family life with an emphasis on dads, entrepreneurship, craft beer travel or micro-farming.

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