Ah, coffee. What would life be without it? When I’m on the road and staying in hotels, nothing fixes the jet lag more than a good cup of coffee. But unfortunately, hotel coffee can sometimes leave much to be desired –– which is why I’ve got some insider tips on how to make your own divinely delicious brew right in your own room. So get ready: with these tricks up your sleeve you’ll never find yourself sipping an inferior cup of coffee while on the road again!
What Coffee Problems to Fix
First and foremost, let’s talk about the coffee itself. Most hotels provide coffee packets that are pre-measured (aka: frac pack) for a single cup or a tiny pot. Or worse yet, some sort of capsule system, which we will cover later. While these may be convenient, it also means that the coffee is often pre-ground and has been sitting in its package for who knows how long. If you want to truly elevate your hotel coffee, consider bringing your own beans and a travel grinder . Not only will you get a fresher, more flavorful cup of coffee, but you’ll also feel a bit like a real coffee professional.
Of course, not everyone has the space or desire to pack a coffee grinder in their suitcase. In that case, it’s time to evaluate your options, if you can see what type of coffee maker is provided, if any, you can pack accordingly. Consider bringing your own coffee filters and some pre ground coffee of your choice. Deciding on your own coffee and coffee filter can make a big difference in the quality of your coffee. Not only does it allow you to use your own coffee grounds, but it also eliminates the need for those flimsy, often ineffective hotel coffee filters.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, consider bringing your own immersion brewer. An Aeropress or a travel Aeropress can be a great way to make a high-quality cup of coffee in a hotel room. Plus, it’s a fun and novel way to enjoy your morning caffeine fix.
Time Tested Brewing Hacks
But let’s say you’re stuck with the standard hotel coffee packets. Fear not, there are still ways to hack your way to a better cup. One trick is to double up on the coffee packets. Most hotel coffee packets are designed to make a single cup of coffee, but doubling up can result in a stronger, more robust cup of coffee. Simply open up two packets, dump them in your coffee maker, and voila! A more potent pot of coffee.
Another hack is to use hot water from the hotel’s in-room tea kettle. While it may not be as hot as water from a coffee maker, it can still do the trick. Simply pour the hot water over the coffee grounds in your coffee maker, and let it steep for a few minutes before inserting the carafe and letting the coffee dispense.
Capsule systems present a dilemma for the user, they are well known to never be cleaned inside of them, and the water at many hotels is less than perfect. So some funky stuff can grow inside of them, and we would suggest either not using them, using them with a thorough inspection and bottled water, or using them with a thorough inspection, bottled water and your own capsules. Alternatively you can use a reusable K-cup if you want to use your own coffee.
If you’re feeling really creative, consider using other hot liquids to brew your lackluster pre-ground coffee. Hot chocolate, for example, can make a surprisingly drinkable cup of a mocha-like coffee. Simply brew your coffee as usual, or a bit stronger, and then add a packet of hot chocolate mix to the cup. Stir until the chocolate is fully dissolved, and enjoy your probably not too bad cup of coffee.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of a little flavoring. Most hotel rooms have basic condiments like sugar, salt, and pepper. A few grains of salt can remove a touch of the bitterness in coffee, but only a few grains. But did you know that a little bit of cinnamon or nutmeg can add a delightful twist to your morning coffee? Simply sprinkle a pinch of your desired spice into the coffee grounds before brewing, and enjoy a unique and flavorful cup of coffee. You can score these from a local coffee shop (don’t forget to purchase something first), or bring from home.
Hotel coffee doesn’t have to be a completely disappointing experience. With a little creativity and a few simple hacks, you can elevate your morning cup of coffee from meh to alright, alright, alright. Whether you’re bringing your own beans and equipment, doubling up on the coffee packets, or adding a little flavoring, there’s a hack out there for everyone. So the next time you find yourself facing a impending hotel coffee situation, don’t despair, hack your way to a better cup.