Travel Brewing Tips

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
dsc106

#1: Post by dsc106 »

So, I have several questions sort of rolled into this post - some specific, some broad. Looking for some advice on a versatile travel coffee setup, and trying to pin down the "sweet spot" in regards to flavor/quality vs size/weight.

I'm not a backpacker, and I am not interested in an ULTRA light setup that might be used for backpacking, where the goal is more so to just "get caffeine". At that point I would just use instant coffee anyway.

I do travel internationally for both pleasure, but also work. For pleasure, I may be somewhere where coffee is accessible but where I'd just prefer to start the day with a cup at home. IE I will be in Madeira, Portugal in an AirBNB in a couple of weeks and there will be many early morning hikes and I don't want to fuss with trying to find a coffee shop on the way and spend $5 on a mediocre cup. Or we may take a family trip to the coast and it's nice to brew a cup at the beach house. That sort of thing. For work, I may be in more remote areas like the Amazon Jungle or a small rural town in India. Nesquik coffee may be available then, or if I am lucky a little nicer at a hotel, but still "blah". The comfort of a delicious cup of favorite beans can be welcome in the morning there.

With that context painted, my thought is that taking pre-ground coffee defeats the point - at that point I'd just use instant coffee or drink bad hotel coffee or what not. Yet, for pleasure I try to go carry-on only when I can, and for work I travel with equipment and have limited space. So I am definitely not bring a larger coffee setup. I need the middle ground "Sweet spot".

The Aeropress + 1zpresso Q2 heptagonal grinder looks very ideal in this regard - a very compact/light package that would get me a good cup. To save space and complexity, I would pre-dose my daily dose (20g) into plastic test tube vials, and just memorize the spot to pour water on the Aeropress. Use a metal filter. This way, no need for paper filters, scale, or even a dosing spoon.

My only caveat is, I am not sure if the 1zpresso Q2 will satisfy my palette and be worth the hassle VS a larger hand grinder, such as the Commandante C40 or 1zpresso K-Max. How much of a compromose, in the cup, is the Q2 in regards to flavor/taste? If it still delivers wonderful results with only the slightest compromise, than I think it is a shoe-in. If it's sort of a large step down, then I may lean towards the added inconvenience of upgrading to the larger model. One big part of this question that is not often addressed is brew method. I really can't see myself while travelling using any other method than Aeropress - as soon as you go v60/kalita, now I need a scale and a gooseneck kettle, etc. I would also not use this for espresso. So for Aeropress only, Q2 vs K-Max/C40 thoughts?

Lastly, full circle. I only travel several weeks a year. So outside that, I like the idea of having a backup handgrinder at home if the power ever goes out, or if I am travelling more comfortably to a local AirBNB where I then might want to do v60/kalita or something. The point of this comment is to say, I am not sure *how* much bigger/heavier a K-Max/C40 truly is in practice vs the Q2. If it's a good job in quality/versatility for only a little more size/weight in the bag, than it makes more sense to me to get the more versatile grinder.

OK, that was a lot. Apologies. I'll sum up with a few bulleted questions as well:
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 taste in general - thoughts?
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 taste for aeropress ONLY - thoughts?
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 for size & weight - that big of a difference in practice?
  • Pre-Dosed plastic test tube vials - I'd love a good nylon carrying case for these. Stuff designed to hold essential oils vials look perfect in their design, except they are sized for those vials which are much smaller. Anything like THIS: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HD ... Q8BR&psc=1 -- Except sized for Test Tube vials sized for 20g of beans? (I think those vials are 30-40ml in size?)
  • General travel brewing tips - please share!

Miltonedgebert

#2: Post by Miltonedgebert »

My experience is with the Q2 and the Pharos. There is a taste difference, at least in the espresso range, but it's on the order of 10-15%. Enough to notice, but not enough to be disappointed by the Q2.
A point in favor of the Q2 is that it fits in the areopress piston.

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mkane
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#3: Post by mkane »

Grind at home and vac seal. In my experience, coffee is not the problem it's the water.

dsc106 (original poster)

#4: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Thanks for the help so far.

1. Do you recommend bringing third wave water packets with me then?

2. Grind then vac seal - does that really work? Also seems like a good bit of effort to vac seal that many individual portions, and can't imagine it holds as well as fresh grinding?

dsc106 (original poster)

#5: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Miltonedgebert wrote:My experience is with the Q2 and the Pharos. There is a taste difference, at least in the espresso range, but it's on the order of 10-15%. Enough to notice, but not enough to be disappointed by the Q2.
A point in favor of the Q2 is that it fits in the areopress piston.
That's a pretty strong endorsement of the flavor in cup from the Q2. Heptagonal I presume?

Miltonedgebert

#6: Post by Miltonedgebert »

No it's pentagonal.
A couple of caveats: I don't have much experience outside those two grinders, and I haven't done a comparison brewing between the two grinders with the areopress. I will once I make a jamb nut adjustment for the Pharos, but right now it's too much hassle.
I have been very happy with the Q2 overall.

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mkane
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#7: Post by mkane »

dsc106 wrote:Thanks for the help so far.

1. Do you recommend bringing third wave water packets with me then?

2. Grind then vac seal - does that really work? Also seems like a good bit of effort to vac seal that many individual portions, and can't imagine it holds as well as fresh grinding?

When were on a road trip we bring water. When we're on a plane we buy water unless the stuff out of the tap passes our scruntiny?

We do not seal 1-cup bags. We seal enough coffee for that day. And of course, it's not as good as fresh but hand grinding is a PITA with those handheld jobs.

jpender

#8: Post by jpender »

I bought a Q2 (Heptagonal) to pair with my Aeropress. I've been happy with it both in terms of grind quality and also usability. I added a silicone grip (the Q2 still fits in the Aeropress) and for me it's a joy to grind with. But as to whether you'd be happy with it I can't answer that. Probably the Commandante is a superior grinder in that respect. It's more expensive. It's bigger. It's heavier. But some people take espresso machines when they travel or "camp". So it's a very personal thing what constitutes travel gear as well as what is good enough for you in the cup.

I have to add that I am surprised to hear that water is more important than freshly ground coffee. That sure hasn't been my experience.

d_e_santos

#9: Post by d_e_santos »

dsc106 wrote:
OK, that was a lot. Apologies. I'll sum up with a few bulleted questions as well:
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 taste in general - thoughts?
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 taste for aeropress ONLY - thoughts?
  • Q2 Hep vs K-Max/C40 for size & weight - that big of a difference in practice?
  • Pre-Dosed plastic test tube vials - I'd love a good nylon carrying case for these. Stuff designed to hold essential oils vials look perfect in their design, except they are sized for those vials which are much smaller. Anything like THIS: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HD ... Q8BR&psc=1 -- Except sized for Test Tube vials sized for 20g of beans? (I think those vials are 30-40ml in size?)
  • General travel brewing tips - please share!
I have both K-max and Q2 heptagonal.

1) As for the taste, neither produces a bad cup. They are close for sure, but i tend towards the K-max. But i have to say, the burrs of my Kmax are definitely more seasoned by the use.

2) The Q2 hep + aeropress are my office kit for about a month, and I bought it foreshadowing my vacation at the end of the year. They pair well together, it grinds smoothly and relatively quick for a burr that small. It was a noticible upgrade from the Timemore C2 i had before.

3) The Q2 is really small, comparing to the K-max, almost half the size, in proportion. Sometimes the photos doenst do the justice. That being said, considering its size, the quality of grinding and the price, i really dont know any competitors as a travel grinder, or neither a aeropress only grinder for a budget/compact setup

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mkane
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#10: Post by mkane »

jpender wrote:I bought a Q2 (Heptagonal) to pair with my Aeropress. I've been happy with it both in terms of grind quality and also usability. I added a silicone grip (the Q2 still fits in the Aeropress) and for me it's a joy to grind with. But as to whether you'd be happy with it I can't answer that. Probably the Commandante is a superior grinder in that respect. It's more expensive. It's bigger. It's heavier. But some people take espresso machines when they travel or "camp". So it's a very personal thing what constitutes travel gear as well as what is good enough for you in the cup.

I have to add that I am surprised to hear that water is more important than freshly ground coffee. That sure hasn't been my experience.
\Water with chlorine is terrible. I'll drink a coke first.