When the Aeropress Go premiered at SCA Expo in 2019, it barely registered for me among the crowded trade show. I already had a full-sized Aeropress and besides, traveling with coffee gear was all or nothing for me. I either packed up my entire pour-over setup or brought nothing and hoped for the best.
Three years later when my spouse, William and I quit our jobs to travel for a year, my coffee gear didn’t make the cut on my packing list. As we boarded our one-way flight to Prague, I told myself that foregoing a good morning cup was a necessary price to pay for our new, carry-on-only lifestyle. But after a few weeks of instant coffee and Airbnb Franprix brew —with some truly delicious coffees at cafes in Prague, Budapest, and Paris sprinkled in to remind me of how good coffee can be—I started to think it might be worth it, even necessary, to find a way to make good coffee on the road.
Everything changed when a friend brought an Aeropress Go on a beach trip to Normandy. I had forgotten how compact it was and was really impressed with the self-contained brewer. A scoop, stirrer, filters, and the Aeropress itself fit neatly into one small cylinder which doubled as a mug. On our first morning of the trip, I brewed a sweet natural from Mutana Hill Burundi roasted by Kafferaven. After weeks without a proper home setup, I forgot how comforting and pleasant delicious coffee is first thing in the morning. After three days of this, any coffee asceticism I had left was gone. The next day when we were back in Paris, William and I walked 45 minutes to Kabane to pick up our own brewer. Since then, my Aeropress Go is non-negotiable on my packing list.
Going such a long time without a brewer and fresh coffee gave me a renewed appreciation for reliably good coffee each morning. I had missed the morning ritual itself, something I’d savored every morning at home. An added benefit I wasn’t expecting was that I could explore our destinations more thoroughly by trying local roasters on my Aeropress. In Paris, I was fond of Ten Belles, a cafe where I had one of the best hospitality experiences in recent memory. I wanted to practice my French, but stumbled through the order. Rather than rush me along, the barista coached me through my order and was really encouraging despite my mistakes.
Brewing Ten Belles’ Rwanda Kilimbi each morning on the Aeropress brings me back to that positive cafe experience. I enjoyed this coffee so much that I brought some of it with us to our next destination, the Mosel Valley in Germany.
On our first morning in Germany, the Aeropress was a familiar thread connecting our temporary Paris home to our new location. As our Parisian coffee stores waned, we discovered a roaster in the neighboring town, Cochemer Kaffeerosterei. We got to try many of their coffees while there, but the first bag was a robusta from India– my first specialty robusta experience. When we departed for our next stop in Somerset, UK, I brought as many bags as I could while staying under the carry-on bag limit.
Once again, the familiarity of a coffee from our most recent home and the repetition of the morning Aeropress helped us settle into our new routine. When we went on to London and the Cochemer Kaffeerosterei supply was long gone, my new practice of getting coffee for the next country was established. I visited the gorgeous Rosslyn coffee and got a bag of their Nicaraguan coffee along with the best flat white I’d had in months. The Aeropress was turning out to be both a tool to discover a new place and an anchor to create a sense of home in each location.
On a trip to the west coast of Ireland with friends, I made coffee for more than two people for the first time since we left home. That too was a forgotten joy my little brewer opened up for me. We sipped the Rosslyn Aeropress while walking along the beach. It felt like an advertisement for Aeropress climbing the rocky shoreline.
Most recently, my coffee journey has diverted west with the gift of a bag from our visiting friends and the arrival of a care package from home. Now I’m drinking a natural Colombia from Tag Coffee, my brother’s roastery in San Antonio. This was the roaster I drank every day when we lived in Nashville. After 4 months of traveling, this taste of home both helped me savor the time and place I’m currently in and also transported me back to the people and places I’ve missed.
Being far from home and on the road made me think I needed to let go of all home comforts, but the Aeropress taught me coffee is one comfort I can take with me. No matter where I am, the comfort and ritual of brewing my own coffee gives me a semblance of home. No matter where we are or how little space I have, the Aeropress Go ensures that we’re not far from a good cup of coffee.