How to get your coffee fix while travelling on a budget

My routine is the same every morning: I get out of bed, trip on my cat, and make a single espresso in my stove-top moka pot.  It’s a safe bet that you, my reader, have a similar caffeine routine (though maybe not a 19 pound cat circling your feet).  So how do you satisfy your coffee jones while travelling?

Coffee is expensive in most countries and not always readily available so HOB and I have a coffee fixing system that, while not glamorous, works for us.  We pack a travel mug, immersion heater, and coffee singles.  Coffee singles are a sort of coffee tea bag you dunk in hot water to make, um, coffee.  While not the tastiest coffee in the world, it is better than nasty instant coffee.  So anyway, we fill the travel mug with water and then heat it with the immersion heater.  WARNING: the immersion heater should be submerged in liquid anytime it’s plugged in or the device will short out and then you’ll be in a sad coffee-less situation.  (In truth, I’ve never actually performed the boiling water ritual myself, since HOB is so terrified I’ll do something wrong that he handles the immersion heater alone and then stands guard by the heating water like a mutt dog guarding a chew toy.  Stay away from my coil boil, grrrrrrrrr). We usually split a warm coffee while in our room just to get us out the door, and then pack a fully boiled-up mug to go.  Since we’re often traveling in winter, the hot coffee can be a nice warm up, and it also hits the spot on a long train ride.

When we travel in Italy we leave the coffee system at home.  Did I mention I’m an espresso drinker?  Well the espresso in Italy is so freaking good it practically makes my ovaries glow.  And at around €1.25 a cup, it’s a worthwhile expense for even a cheapskate like me.


Coil boil coffee for cheapskates.


But when we’re in Italy “due caffè per favore.”




  1. I have a cat that always gives me a guilt trip if I make my coffee without feeding her first. She’ll just stare at me like, “Oh no you didn’t!”


    1. LOL–I’m all too familiar with that particular look.


  2. Very important post – coffee makes the world go round.


    1. Coffee *and* lipstick. ; )


  3. Just travelled across Albania and don’t think I have tried coffee better than this…the best way to start your morning!


    1. Thanks for the tip Ashikhmina–I haven’t been to Albania yet but I’d like to (and of course, indulge in Albanian coffee!)


      1. I just wrote a blog about my trip, let me know if you decide to go, it is not the most popular holiday destination but certainly worth it.


      2. Thanks, I will certainly check it out. I have Albanian-American neighbors that are so wonderful that I think their home country must be equally endearing.


  4. omg! ill try this! haha


    1. Aha–I found another caffeine addict. Good luck, wengwengwanders!


  5. Have you tried civet coffee? Gayo coffee? You should really put it on your Coffee List.


    1. No, I haven’t tried either of those. Where can I buy them?


      1. Its originally from Indonesia. Have you been there?
        For civet coffee is really famous worldwide, I never tasted it before but coffee lovers dig it except for the price. Haha..
        In my city, its around €80 per kilogram for the roasted beans. I dont know how much will it cost per cup, though.

        As for both coffee it is marketed in The Netherlands, and some europeans country (its imported from Indonesia). I’m sorry I don’t know much which store sells it.


      2. Thank you, prasantee. I haven’t been to Indonesia yet, but I really want to. I was just looking at pictures of Borobudor Temple and I can’t wait to visit it.

        Those coffees both sound wonderful as long as someone else is paying–haha!


      3. Haha, true. Civet is like the most expensive coffee as far as I know. But Aceh Gayo’s price is like any other coffee but different taste. Here in Indonesia there are two types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica is planted in the highlands, less caffeine and taste sweeter, while Robusta contains more caffeine and tastes more like umm how do I put it, ground, or less sweet. But for me they all taste bitter! :)))

        Since you have such interest into art and stuff, you must pay a visit here. There are lots of Temples, well besides Borobudur which is the largest. xD

        Do you like underwater views? We have the best spot for diving and snorkeling in the world. Right now I live there, have you ever heard or Raja Ampat islands? Many foreign tourists come here, they also have foreign resorts. And I get to work here for a year. Its so awesome! You should absolutely have your second, or third honeymoon with HOB here! xD


      4. Great idea–I think we are ready for our 18th honeymoon…..


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