Serious Eats

Gadgets: Bodum French Press Travel Mug

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[Photograph: Sur La Table]

Taking your French press to go seems like a brilliant idea—spare me four more minutes in my morning and I'm yours—which is why I jumped at Bodum's new French press travel mug. It's cute, with a catchy little message that says, "Make Taste, Not Waste,"* and only costs a few bucks more than your average travel mug at $15 (available at Sur La Table). I considered it a food-forward accessory for my morning—and one that would save me four minutes if I was lucky.

Turns out my high expectations weren't met all the way. I loved walking to the subway in the morning with my conspicuously unpressed pot, thinking, "My mug is so much more sophisticated than yours," as I passed Upper East Siders in decidedly more sophisticated outfits. That was the first day. Then I pressed my 16 ounces of coffee as I ducked into the subway station, realizing that that would have been the point at which I'd normally pour my coffee into a real mug and—this is the key part—add milk and sugar. Don't like your coffee black? You'd have to un-press your coffee and mix up the grounds to fix that, and there go your four extra morning minutes. Damn!

Another gripe? The plunger doesn't quite go down all the way, somewhat assuming how much coffee you should be using for a tumbler of its size. That's fine and well, and doesn't affect me too adversely, but there are mornings where eight ounces of coffee is good enough for me, thank-you-very-much, and over-caffeination on those mornings might lead to an overuse of commas.

How had I not realized the implications of my travel press? I was completely blinded by the cute design, the promise of some great coffee that I'd recently gotten from Brazil (a trip that fellow Serious Eater Carey Jones is currently writing about), and seduced by the thought of having a travel version of any coffee geek's favorite home accessory. It's a great idea, if not the most practical, but for the truest coffee lovers who won't travel abroad without their favorite beans, it may be a great packing solution (I'm pointing fingers; I know you exist!).

For those of us looking to save four minutes of our morning commutes, though, I'm content to just pour my French pressed coffee into an ordinary travel mug, add my own milk and sugar, and call it a day. And when laziness sets in so badly that there's no hope for a proper press, there's always the Nespresso.

* I was unable to find my exact green mug online, but it's the same model as what's pictured in this review. Mine was purchased recently at Broadway Panhandler, a local kitchenwares store in Manhattan.

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