While we might be half way around the world, we still want our morning wake-up beverage. I’m a coffee connoisseur, and Madeline likes her iced tea just so. So we often travel with items that help us get up in the morning.
Here’s what we pack to make our favorite beverages each morning.
Madeline loves iced tea. She brews a special blend, and we travel with an iced tea maker so that she can make iced tea wherever we go. I love drinking her iced tea as well, but I’ll usually start my day with coffee from the local hotel breakfast spot. For Madeline, we make iced tea usually upon arrival at the hotel.
Iced Tea Maker
Takeya Iced Tea Maker
This two-quart Takeya Iced Tea Maker is what we take on every trip over three days in length. Madeline can suffer making her iced tea or buying it for the shorter trips. But we’ll take this iced tea maker on longer trips.
All you need is the tea bags and hot water. When you arrive at the hotel, find out where to get boiling water. In almost every hotel in Asia, they will have a tea kettle in the room. It’s a simple task to boil water and then pour it into the tea maker.
In the US, we’ve gone to the lobby where they usually have an espresso machine and used the hot water there. In other hotels, we ask for an electric kettle to boil water in our room.
After filling this flask with boiling water, let it steep until the flask is cool. Then put it in your fridge. Madeline gets ice from the ice machine or downstairs at breakfast and pours her own special brew of iced tea.
The Takeya Iced Tea Maker goes for about $25 on Amazon.
So now that you have the iced tea infuser, you need to make some iced tea. Since this is a travel blog, it is only appropriate I tell you about a travel experience where we first encountered the Twinings Mixed Berry tea and Taylors Irish Breakfast.
We were in Manila Philippines in a very nice Marriott Hotel. Because of our Marriott status, breakfast was included with the room. At breakfast Madeline said she wanted to make iced tea. The waiter, a very pleasant man who spoke English, said he had just the thing and went about making a nice pot of tea. We had various choices for tea and we never saw the Mixed Berry variety before. It is very hard to find in the grocery store, but thankfully Amazon now carries it.
Madeline tried the Mixed Berry tea and loved the flavor. She then poured the tea into a glass full of ice and realized she needed more ice. After lots of ice, she pronounced the tea to be excellent but needing a bit more “oomph,” or strength.
The next day, Madeline asked for the Mixed Berry and a dark tea. They had English Breakfast. She mixed the two into the pot and found it much improved.
On the third day, the waiter asked if he could make the tea because he watched us every day and found itfunny to be making iced tea in the Philippines. Madeline asked if he had anything stronger than English Breakfast, and he produced Irish Breakfast. She mixed the two together and was hooked for life.
I did a lot of research to see if there was a way to make the tea in our room and found the Takeya Iced Tea Maker. When we travel, Madeline packs all the tea she needs for the trip into the tea maker to save space.
Twinings Mixed Berry goes for about $1.50 per bag, if you purchase it with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature. The Taylors Irish Breakfast goes for about $1.00 per bag. Madeline mixes in the Irish Breakfast to make her brew stronger. The Mixed Berry is delicious with lovely fruit notes but isn’t very strong. You can find your own mix of bags for your personal taste, but you’ll need between four and six bags of tea to make it strong enough for the entire flask.
Twinings Mixed Berry used to be called Four Red Fruits. You may be able to find that in some markets. We buy the two tea types in bulk from Amazon on Subscribe and Save, and then take what we need on our trip.
Now that you know about my wife’s iced tea travel items, I need to admit that although I really like her iced tea, I drink coffee in the morning. I’m not quite a coffee snob but I’m pretty close. I’ll tell you about what my coffee machine at home looks like but for now, let’s talk about traveling with your favorite coffee.
Grinder and Filter
Just about every hotel room has a small coffee maker. For the ones that are drip coffee makers, I like bringing my own beans. I buy whole beans which we’ll talk about a bit later. I like grinding the beans just before I brew the coffee, so I take along the $26 KRUPS GX4100 coffee grinder. It doesn’t weigh much and is quite compact. The hotel will have coffee filters that fit the coffee maker. All you need to do is determine how many beans for how many cups.
We’ve also been in hotels that have a Keurig coffee maker in the room using K-cups. When that machine is in our room, I use Delibru reusable K-cup filters. Grind your beans, pour them into one of these things, and then use it like a real K-cup. Just remember to take it out of the machine before you check out of your room!
I really like Café Altura. It’s organic coffee and fair trade certified. As I said before, I’m almost a coffee snob and this is French roast but it’s not bitter like some blends have been. I’m not sure if it is their roasting process, organic beans, where the beans come from, etc. I just think it produces a very consistent rich taste.
I’m half Danish, and my grandmother had me drinking coffee at an early age. She said Danes drink it black. I’m not sure that’s true, but that’s the way I drink it so if it doesn’t taste right to begin with, I know it. This coffee will not disappoint you if you like a French roast. It also comes in many other varieties.
So, maybe I am closer to a coffee snob than I thought. I figured you might want to know about my coffee maker at home. This sucker does not travel with me! The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica about half the cost of other semi-professional models. I don’t use it to make an espresso sized cup either. I adjust the strength of the brew on one knob and the amount of water on the other. I get about 60 percent of a full coffee cup of espresso with crema. When you use the beans I recommended, you’ll find it is not bitter at all but still a nice strong French Roast.
I’ve used the milk frothing feature occasionally when someone else comes over that wants steamed milk. But, for me, it’s always black. The machine comes with decent instructions and it’s pretty idiot proof. A light will come on when it is time for descaling and if you have 20 minutes, you can get through the cycle painlessly. It’ll still make coffee with the red light on, but I would caution you to follow the directions and descale it when it says to do so. The number one reason why these machines stop working is too much lime deposits.
I’d also recommend you use filtered water. I don’t use bottled water. I have filters in the house and in pitchers. I’ve found that’s plenty good to make a good cup.
So, you won’t be packing this in your suitcase but when you get home, you might like it—assuming you’re not into iced tea like Madeline!