Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fuel for the Road

In honor of my last posting about the Coffee & Tea Festival and my overall dedication to coffee & tea, I present you with my top tips and crafty ways to get your coffee on the go!

Travel Tips for the Caffeine Fiend! 

1. Chocolate covered espresso beans... possibly one of the best culinary creations ever, in my coffee-dedicated opinion at the very least. A couple of these and you'll get a nice jolt. They pack well. They are yummy. What more could you ask for?!? I put about 8 pieces into a Zip-Lock snack bag for a total of 1 Points Plus value on Weight Watchers, or 11 beans for 2 Points Plus values.

2. Try making a Coffee Cup Coffee Maker. I haven't followed this exact how-to from Instructables, but I've done similar tricks. You'd have to keep some coffee filters and coffee grinds on you, but for a pack light travel option or for a camping trip, this is definitely possible.

3. For summer trips or trips where I won't be spending much time in the hotel, I bring Starbucks Iced Coffee Via packets. All you need to do is pick up a bottle of cold water, add the packet and shake. Voila, you have iced coffee.

Photo Credit: Betty Kane
Starbucks Via are my personal favorites for travel. Read directions carefully
when purchasing to see if you are getting one that requires
hot water, cold water, or hot milk.

4. Campfire Coffee! A hot cup of fresh coffee first thing in the morning is a great way to start a day in the wild. When I camp I usually have off-site plans for the day so I don't like to start a fire in the morning unless someone is staying at the site. To avoid a morning campfire I bring some kind of propane grill or burner for cooking breakfast. It's also great because you don't have to wait for the fire to reach a high cooking temperature. Start, by filling a camping kettle, such as the GSI Tea Kettle and get the water boiling. If you're a tea person then just pour into your mug and you're good. For the coffee drinkers, invest in Coffee Maker and using coffee filters and your favorite grinds from home you can brew an individual cup. If that's too much for you then bring instant coffee like Starbucks Via packets.

5. Flavor, flavor, flavor! When you're in the USA it's pretty easy to get a basic cup of black coffee in just about any town in any state. I can't vouch for other lands, but here in the US, we live off of a basic cup of coffee. However, most people look at me like I'm crazy for drinking it black, and even I like a nice treat of a caramel macchiato once in a while. So... how to flavor when your out and about?

  • Mix 1/2 packet of hot cocoa mix into a cup of coffee for a mocha. One of my friends also recommends a splash of Nesquik. 
  • Keep sweeteners such as sugar, honey sticks, etc. in your glove compartment, work desk or day bag on a trip. You can get a great variety of individual sized packets from
  • When at home, or on a vacation location with kitchen access, try using some caramel syrup and milk. Ikea has a frothing wand for the milk if you want to get real fancy.

6. Look for a local cafe. When in new cities or towns I love to keep an eye out for little Mom & Pop shops. Places I've found this way include:
Kiss My Cake in Huntington, NY - A great cup of black coffee and a French Macaron is a heavenly treat here.
Jaho Coffee & Tea in Salem, MA - I recommend the lattes and the Zodiac teas.
Harney & Sons Fine Teas in New York City, NY - They have a great variety, a cafe with snacks for sale in the back of the shop and the front end of the shop offers taste testings and containers of tea leaves to go!

7. For nearly all trips (minus camping) my survival kit includes a Heating Coil, a Fold-A-Cup and some Starbucks Via packets. I've actually mentioned this in an earlier post, but it really is my best trick.  Simply fill the fold a cup with water, put the heating coil in the cup and wait about a minute for the water to boil. Carefully remove the coil and let it cool on a head resistant surface. Add the via packet and if you're lacking a utensil to stir, use the empty packet to stir. Enjoy.

Photo Credit: Betty Kane
My Heating Coil and Fold-A-Cup from have
traveled many miles with me, and will be traveling more!

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