I am an early riser, usually up and at 'em and well on my way to work by 7 a.m. The coffee shops in my neighborhood, however, are not on my schedule. They don't open until 7:30 a.m. or even 8 a.m. That means I can't grab a coffee to-go before my commute, which is tragic because when you're up that early, you need coffee. I realize the solution here seems painfully obvious: to brew coffee at home. But making coffee at home and pouring it into a travel mug is its own kind of struggle. I prefer French press coffee, which is delicious but also a pain to clean up—so I would leave the used grounds sitting on the counter all day, only to be left with a mess when I came home from work.
The solution to my early morning coffee conundrum? Get a travel mug that brews French press coffee. That way, I can make coffee while I'm on the move without worrying about leaving a mess for myself in the kitchen. And though there are a few different types of these portable brewers-slash-mugs available, I've become a huge fan of the bobble Presse On The Go Brewer.
Part of what I love about this little guy is the design. Unlike other portable French presses, most of which have a tall plunger sticking out from the top, this one looks like any other travel mug you might own. It also means you don't feel silly using it as a regular travel mug in a pinch. That's because the "press" part of the Presse On The Go Brewer is a so-called microfilter, made of stainless steel, and it fits perfectly and snugly into the outer stainless steel mug. But it's also readily removable.
The way it works is simple. Put your coffee grounds in the main mug; I use about two scoops. Pour hot, not boiling, water, over the grounds. It's important not to overfill the mug, and there's a guideline marked inside the mug you can use. Stir the water and grounds together, let it sit for three minutes while you brush your teeth, and then press the microfilter down into the mug. It'll fit perfectly. (Sometimes a little too perfectly, and I have to force the interior filter down a bit.)
Because the microfilter is so fine, no coffee grounds rise to the top. And the coffee itself tastes pretty good. Plus, it stays hot forever. I think that's because the little air pocket between the microfilter and the mug helps with insulation. What I do know is that the insulation is so good that I've even, once or twice, brought this travel mug to the coffee shop in the afternoon and asked them to fill it with their coffee—and no barista has ever been the wiser that I also use it to brew my coffee when they're slacking in the morning.