Fresh coffee is part of my daily ritual. I ‘need’ two good cups of strong black coffee each morning to get me up and running. I have a lengthy commute to work – yes, this is a hobby not a career – and an early start so my first coffee of the day tends to be in the car. At work I don’t have access to anything other than a hot water boiler or the vending machine. I have long since given up on getting a decent coffee or tea out of any pay vending machine.
For years I had three approaches
A. I would get up, make a cafetière of coffee and then use one of the many Tommy Tippee-type coffee mugs. This worked fine but took a little extra time on what is already a tight schedule. By the time I had cafetièred and transferred to one of the many mugs it was already cooling down
B. I would find somewhere to stop off along the way. This is fine but it is quite difficult to track down somewhere which sells good coffee early in the morning, and which doesn’t also tempt you to eat food you really shouldn’t. No matter how fast the food this also adds time that I would rather have in bed.
C. Make the coffee at work with a cafetière and supply of coffee.
Around a year ago I saw one of my colleagues with a Bodum Travel Press mug. This combines the cafetière with the mug. The plunger is part of the lid and there. Is a locking lid which fits very snugly. It is so snug that you could lie it on its side and not leak. The whole thing is finished in chrome and brightly coloured lightly soft plastic. The other thing I like about it is that it is still has a decent capacity despite fitting a lot in. Although it doesn’t have a handle I think this is a bonus. Often handles are in the wrong place and mean cup holders in cars don’t function properly. The soft plastic forms an insulated, very grip able band around the mug.
So how’s the coffee? Pretty good actually. In my opinion it’s as good as any cafetière I’ve had. The design is very good at preserving heat. I can still have a decent cup of coffee (although not piping hot) three or four hours after making the cup. The plunger works well and once fully engaged the knob at the top lies flush with the top of the mug.
What are the downsides? The plunger doesn’t work as well if the coffee isn’t well stirred in or allowed to fall from the surface for a while. The last couple of sips can be a bit gritty. You can screw on the lid with the plunger up and allow this process to happen while you travel but it is inevitable that some grounds will sneak round the side and the whole mug is not sealed in this state. You soon master the right timings and the right amount of coffee though. Another things is that no matter how hard I clean the thing this is definitely either a coffee or a tea device the chrome lining retains some of the flavour and it isn’t a pleasant cocktail. My final comment is that it works well with black tea, fruit tea or coffee but I don’t see it working as well if you need white drinks.
All in all it is a great device which lots of people comment on and they are slowly popping up around my workplace. It costs less than £20 in most places so a good gift. I like it so much that even at weekends I will use it rather than fill up a big cafetière. 9/10