Travel Essentials for a Coffee Addict

 The morning coffee is a non-negotiable, essential start to a successful day. Throw little people and travel logistics into the mix and if you can’t get a decent caffeine fix in your accommodation then the search for it becomes priority number one upon leaving (if indeed you make it out for the day at all).

When packing for 4 months of travel, our space was limited but we made allowances for the following 3 pieces of coffee kit (from left to right as pictured above). We were thankful for them every morning

AeroPress

Extremely easy to use, even quicker to clean, the Aeropress produces a rich and flavourful coffee that can rival any other brewing method. Part plunger, part vacuum press, but really it’s just a simple piece of suitably portable kit. There are various different brew methods that can be found online if you do want to get creative with it.

The Aeropress has been a stalwart of my coffee brewing arsenal for many years now. Interesting fact, it was invented by engineer Alan Adler, of Aerobie Frisbee fame!

Porlex Mini Hand Grinder

Ok, so this coffee grinder perhaps wasn’t necessary, but it’s a lovely piece of kit. Furthermore it tucks neatly inside the AeroPress for ultimate portability. This grinder has a ceramic burr that runs a little cooler than a steel equivalent. For connoisseurs/fanatics, the extra heat produced by a steel burr can apparently impact negatively on the resulting flavour.

I rather enjoyed buying beans from local coffee roasters as we travelled. And although grinding beans introduces a lag to ones morning coffee intake, it makes for a satisfying ritual.

DISK Coffee Filter by Able Brewing

The Aeropress uses small circular paper filters which I have travelled with before. The silver DISK Coffee Filter from Able Brewing however provides a much more elegant and transportable solution. There is further argument to say that this filter can also improve the quality of the resulting coffee. It allows more fines into the brew than a paper filter, increasing body, without removing any the oils present in coffee, improving the overall flavour. I can’t say I did a side by side comparison or that my caffeine starved palette in the morning would really pick up on such nuances, but I can vouch for the resulting brew being satisfyingly effective.

 

Phil & Teds Traveller

4.4 Reviewer
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Robust
  • Easy to construct
Cons
  • Carry bag bit flimsy
Ease of Use
Weight
Durability
Comfort

For our big trip, we wanted to try to keep our wee one’s sleeping arrangement as consistent as possible. Of course with moving from place to place every few nights this wasn’t entirely possible but at least we wanted to travel with a portacot for consistency in her immediate sleeping environment. From my online research I was a bit surprised at the limited options for lightweight portacots. The options seemed limited to big bulky fold out cots, much heavier than we could accommodate or tent arrangements which for our wee one’s age throughout our travels would end up at the very upper limit.

Phil & Teds Traveller cot, weighing in at only 3.2kg [Weight: 5/5] but when constructed it is a decent size, proper cot that could accommodate a toddler, seemed to be the only option I could find that met our needs. There may be others out there, but I couldn’t find them! For some reason it was outrageously expensive to buy this product in Japan so I ended up ordering it to some friends in NY who were booked in to visit us in Tokyo before we were leaving.

It comes in pieces, 11 to be exact (8 bits of frame, 1 cover, 1 mattress, 1 sheet) so there is some assembly time required but it’s satisfyingly easy to put up [Ease of Use: 4/5]. When constructed it’s surprisingly robust, the sides slant in and solidly prevent your wee one from tipping it over.

It seemed to be a comfortable sleep for our wee one, first night she spent in it slept right through and woke up in a lovely mood so can’t complain. Obviously that wasn’t the case every night in this cot but it was a good start! I must say, whether to any effect, I did normally seek out a rug or carpet to put the cot on rather than straight on the hard floor since it is only a thin blow up mattress, but I think this just made me feel better more than anything [Comfort: 4/5].

The cot itself still could pass as new after a good 4 months of continuous use and travel. The bag for the cot however, as noted in the ‘cons’ section is a bit flimsy so quite quickly, some of the more pokey parts of the frame pushed through [Durability: 4.5/5]. No big issue since we often then would distribute the parts throughout our bag to optimise on space.

Unfortunately, looking back at my photos I didn’t take any of this cot in use, photos aren’t exactly one’s top thought when you’ve got wee one that’s ready for bed!

Quinny Yezz

4.6 Reviewer
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to collapse/expand
  • Bright colours
  • Comfortable to carry
  • 3 Wheels
Cons
  • No recline
  • Not much storage
Summary
Awesome
Ease of Use
Weight
Durability
Comfort

Our buggy in Japan was an Air Buggy. Whilst it’s a great buggy and has survived a return flight to the UK before, it’s no travel buggy and far too bulky for the requirements of our big trip. We needed something very lightweight and compact but sufficiently comfortable for our wee one to endure potentially long days city exploring. It also needed to be durable to survive 14 flights!

Online research had focussed my attention on 3 buggies in particular; Babyzen YoYo, Goodbaby Pockit and Quinny Yezz.

From the outset, my preference was the Quinny for cosmetic reasons. The Quinny has a beautiful range of bright, bold coloured skins, which can be replaced. The wheels even come in different colours and the trim is also a cool coloured twine. It just looks fun, suiting our trip and also great for photos. We bought the ‘Bold Berry’ colour scheme, loved it so much it was in fact the inspiration for the colours of this website!

The Quinny also curried favour for it’s 3 wheel frame, making for a more manoeuvrable ride, especially with one hand. Furthermore, due to it’s shape when collapsed and the built in carry strap it felt very comfortable and lighter than it’s actual weight to carry [Weight: 5/5]. Both the Pockit and YoYo are 4 wheelers and collapse into a wider, boxier shape which feels more awkward to carry.

Whilst the Quinny has no under carriage pocket, the pocket at the back is pretty roomy. We also strapped on a couple of hooks to the handlebar allowing us to hang our bags etc. off the back. Obviously this carries a tipping risk but one quickly discovers the weight restrictions with and without baby in the buggy!

The one button to expand and collapse the Quinny is exceptionally easy to use [Ease of Use: 5/5]. In some ways, not having an under-carriage pocket is a positive since with that filled up I presume collapsing the other buggies is a no go. The YoYo is also very easy to expand and collapse, whereas the Pocket is definitely a two-hand job.

The sticking point for me was the lack of any ability to recline the Quinny [Comfort: 4/5]. Our wee one was a good sleeper in the Air Buggy and while we were travelling it was important she could catch some zzzzs while we were out and about. This concern had me sizing up the YoYo, but at more than twice the price it wasn’t worth the difference for me. The Yoyo is priced to be a primary buggy, not a secondary travel buggy really. Fortunately, after a quick test drive around Tokyo our wee one had no problems nodding off in it. Admittedly, we did spend sometime throughout our trip pushing the Quinny at an angle to assist in her reaching the land of nod…

The Quinny survived all 14 flights. 13 of those spent in the hold (by choice) and 1 in the cabin on a flight when the hold was particularly full. With there being a 6 week delay between us arriving in Melbourne and our stuff arriving we continued to use the Quinny in Australia. Alas it did finally collapse on us in a shopping centre about a month later when it looks like a lost screw came out the base [Durability: 4.5/5]. Fair dinkum, it was a sad day but we more than got our money’s worth.