Traveling in France years ago, I found the coffee was always a shock. I loathed the big cups of Nescafé cheap hotels served up for breakfast. And the café crème you got at the corner café wasn't much better--acrid and not quite strong enough. And overpriced to boot.
Fed up, I rigged up a brewing kit that consisted of a metal coil that I inserted in a cup of water and then plugged in to boil the water. I precariously balanced a one-cup plastic dripper fitted with a Melitta filter over the hotel coffee cup. The ground beans came from whatever coffee roaster I could track down.
That cup of real coffee, taken in my hotel room with the sad, dim bulb dangling overhead, was utter luxury at the time.
It includes Snow Peak's stainless steel coffee dripper, which folds flat—brilliant!—and uses either Chemex or Melitta No. 4 filters. And if you're sticking it in your backpack, this baby weighs only 4 ounces. But here's the real genius: You also get a Porlex mini manual burr grinder with ceramic conical burrs that can perform grinds from fine to coarse enough for a French press. The handle even comes off for efficient packing.
Then you get one of Stumptown's classic enamel camp mugs, a pack of Melitta filters and a 12-ounce bag of their excellent Hair Bender coffee beans. Oh, and a carpenter's pencil and an illustrated brew guide.
Certainly, $125 may sound like a lot, but consider how much you're saving by brewing your own every day. Not to mention the cool factor of trotting out this brewing kit in the most unlikely places.
Buy it online here.