What's the latest in small travel kettles?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
User avatar
Supporter ❤

#1: Post by Peppersass »

Though part of the fun of traveling is finding cafes that serve great espresso, often I'm in need of a caffeine boost before heading out for the day, and sometimes good espresso simply isn't available at my destination. So I've finally decided to put together an espresso travel kit. My priorities are 1) compact size/weight, 2) quality of espresso and 3) speed of preparation/cleanup. Though quality of the espresso is supremely important to me, I put compact size/weight first because if that criterion isn't met I won't take the kit on trips and quality won't matter.

I'm a big fan of fruity light roasts, which I roast myself, and singles. However, I realize that portable espresso makers typically don't do singles. That's OK because singles can be hard to prepare unless a Tadika-like funnel is available for the diameter basket used by the machine.

So far, I'm considering a Picopresso and 1Zpresso J-Max grinder. I have plenty of scales available. What's left is the travel kettle. I'd like one that's very compact and boils fast. I see quite a few people use the Bonavita 0.5L kettle, but it looks a bit bulky to me (unless the grinder or machine can fit in it.) The foldable ones look interesting, but I saw one post that suggested they don't boil very fast (seems to me boil time shouldn't be much longer than hand grind time.)

Please recommend your favorite travel kettle. Thanks in advance.


#2: Post by nrcoffee »

The bonavita isn't that big. Neither the Jmax or picopresso will fit in it. I usually put my little scale, a stainless steel espresso cup, and my beans inside of it. It boils very fast.


#3: Post by Marmot »

One thing you could consider is an immersion heating element. It's very compact and you can choose a high wattage if you want it to heat fast. You could use a vessel at your destination or take something with you. Maybe something collapsible or something where you can put the other stuff inside.

User avatar
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

Many years ago, I had a Bodum Bistro that I traveled with. I don't recall if it was the 1 L or 1/2 L size. I stopped carrying it mainly because most all the hotel rooms abroad either had an electric kettle or microwave.


User avatar
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by GC7 »

This one fit the bill for me. It switches between 110 and 220, collapses into a compact packable size and it boils very quickly.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PR ... =UTF8&th=1

User avatar
Team HB

#6: Post by baldheadracing »

Bonavita is a dead brand now - so if you want one of those now, then you probably have to grab existing stock, although I wonder about the warranty situation.

I have both Bonavita's - the 120V/900W and the convertible 120v/240v/700W. The 120v is noticeably faster. In both, the lid is removeable so I used to leave the lid at home (so no auto-shutoff), and then put a grinder inside an Aeropress, the Aeropress in a cup, and the cup into the Bonavita. (I use an Aeropress Go with its integrated cup now.) Both are also great for heating up canned soups, instant Ramen, etc.

For espresso, I'd pack a Handpresso because of its small size; I liked the lever pressure profile it delivered; and, like lever machines, there is a dry puck afterwards (because of the residual air) which makes clean-up easier. Handpresso also has plastic demitasse cups. However, the machine does take some practice to use and the optional ristretto filter is needed for good espresso. I also used a nice Aluminium mini-tamper and Tidaka-like (tamp-thru) funnel for proper dosing/tamping. Dose was around 12g. (The actual dose depends on the coffee as the basket has to be packed full for proper operation.) I also used to have a Portaspresso setup for travel - but that was a pain to clean up afterwards. I only packed the Portaspresso for travel a handful of times.

However, to be honest, the Handpresso also ended up mostly staying at home. I switched to Aeropress or collapsible V60. I found both workflows were just soo much faster, convenient, and packed smaller ... and if I wasn't flying, then I could just put a small SBDU espresso machine and a Baratza Vario in the car.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

User avatar

#7: Post by spressomon »

Dick, you didn't state whether traveling by car or plane...but for all our automotive based traveling a little JetBoil does the trick. A small fuel canister, burner, etc., fits inside the JetBoil vessel and the little fuel canisters last a good amount of time.
No Espresso = Depresso

User avatar
Peppersass (original poster)
Supporter ❤

#8: Post by Peppersass (original poster) »

spressomon wrote:Dick, you didn't state whether traveling by car or plane...but for all our automotive based traveling a little JetBoil does the trick. A small fuel canister, burner, etc., fits inside the JetBoil vessel and the little fuel canisters last a good amount of time.
Ah, yes. Jetboil. 8)

As it turns out, in addition to being an avid hiker, I led Jetboil's first financing back in 2003, was Chairman of the Board for the first 8 years and negotiated sale of the company to Johnson Outdoors in 2012. Though challenging at times, the Jetboil experience was one of the most fun things I've done in my career. Among the many memorable events, I got to meet Conrad Anker and several of his Sherpa friends.

I have a few Jetboils on my shelf, including the first model, a Flash signed by the founders and the very compact Sol and MicroMo. That said, I do want a water heater that can travel by air in carry-on luggage, so that precludes Jetboil unless I can buy fuel canisters at the destination.

There's another issue. Remember, one of Jetboil's most important safety warnings is that the product (or any other camping stove) should never be used indoors. After all, what could go wrong when you fire up a gas appliance in a hotel room? :mrgreen: Note that contrary to what some people may think, use in a tent isn't allowed, either, though there's a famous climbing film showing a fired-up Jetboil hanging from the apex of the tent perched on the side of a mountain every night. Is tent material flammable? You bet. Can you die of CO poisoning in a tent? Yep.

Anyway, thanks for the recommendations, folks. If you think of any others, let me know.


#9: Post by cebseb »

Peppersass wrote:Conrad Anker and several of his Sherpa friends.
Didn't think I would find his name in this forum ever. Ha. Legend.

User avatar
Peppersass (original poster)
Supporter ❤

#10: Post by Peppersass (original poster) »

Yes, a legend. He was one of several famous climbers who endorsed (and loved) Jetboil.I met him at an event at a ski resort in the mountains outside Salt Lake City that took place at the same time as the OR (Outdoor Retail) trade show that I was attending. Jetboil's CEO invited me to go with him. Anker was running a presentation and silent auction to fund a climbing school for Sherpas. Many would think that Sherpas don't need to be taught how to climb, but the truth is that many Sherpas have been injured or killed in accidents that could have been prevented by proper training in advanced mountaineering.

I won an ultra-light tent and ultra-light sleeping bag in the silent auction. I also got a simple white Kata prayer scarf from the Sherpas. One of my prized possessions.

Oh, to keep it on topic, I went with Geoffrey's kettle suggestion (see his post above.) Oddly, when I unpacked the Picopresso, JE-Pro and kettle, my wife seized on the kettle. She thought it was the coolest thing. Me, I was more taken with the machine and grinder 8) .