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Motorhome Living: Choosing a coffee machine

Great motorhome adventures start with great coffee

Many of us just love the smell and taste of a welcoming cup of fresh coffee first thing in the morning... and several other times throughout the day too!. Being away in a motorhome shouldn't come between us and our coffee, should it!

Nevertheless, to get that great fresh coffee smell and taste in your motorhome you may need to make some compromises.  In this article we'll delve into the various types of coffee machines that might be worth considering to take up storage space in your cupboards and space on the worktop.

 Read on and smell the coffee!

what choices do we have?

  • Do you prefer drip/filter coffee or espresso-based coffee in your motorhome?  
  • What space do you have available for machine storage and worktop use?
  • Do you want good coffee even when you are not on Electric Hook-Up (EHU)?
  • How much electrical current (Amps) would you be comfortable using without tripping a breaker?

Keep it simple or go luxury?

As we all know, a French press, or cafetiere, is certainly a cheap and quick way to brew simple black coffee and really just needs a boiling kettle.  Simple perhaps, but cleaning out the coffee grounds can be a messy job and could possibly clog up your waste pipes when disposing of coffee grounds down your sink, so maybe it's not quite as simple as it sounds. A drip filter coffee maker makes things a little easier by keeping all the grounds together and it's a simple job of just throwing the filter paper out with the grounds inside.

If you prefer a more luxurious and stronger espresso-based coffee then there are several options for you.  

Simple French press coffee maker

Stove-top coffee machines

3-6-9-cup-stove-top-espresso-maker
3, 6 or 9 cup stove top espresso maker

We've even considered using an italian-style stove-top espresso pot like the one pictured here. If you are just making coffee for two of you then perhaps a 3 cup machine will do, but if you have a bigger coffee-drinking family, or visitors, then maybe a 6 or 9 cup machine may be ideal. Ultimately though, I could see me needing one of each size, just in case.  In that situation, it's easier to use one of the other types of machine we talk about below. Storage space is sometimes a premium.

Disposable or permanent filter coffee machines

Automatic drip coffee maker

Want plain and simple coffee to fill a mug, or enough coffee for several people at one time, then a filter coffee machine may well be a great choice. These machines generally require you to use pre-ground coffee (although a few do have integrated grinders).  

They're a good bet for making simple, unfussy black coffee and range in price from £15 to £89 for a top of the range digital machine. Just be careful of the power consumption needed as they can be quite thirsty on electricity.

Some use paper filters while others have permanent filters.  Paper filters can be more easily disposed of together with the coffee grounds. But if you don't mind cleaning the filter out then running out of paper filters won't ever be an issue.

The simplest of these devices are ideal for wild camping or where you don't have access to, or limited, mains electricity.  All you need is a kettle and enough gas or electricity to boil some water. Simple!

Pod-based coffee machines

These cost more per cup than other types of coffee brewing process while the benefits are simplicity and convenience. Each pod or capsule contains the perfect amount of coffee, so you can decide on the type with the strength and flavour you like best. No-hassle, no-mess coffee, that’s hard to beat. 

There are a wide range of pods available to buy in supermarkets that will fit most pod machines from Lavazza, Dolce Gusto, Tassimo and other top brands. They seem to be far more convenient than using ground coffee and all you have to do is thrown them away after use. Be aware that if the pods are from Nespresso they can be recycled. 

Pod machines vary in size as well so you can shop around to get something that will either fit in a cupboard when you're travelling and won't take up too much room on a work surface ensuring that you have coffee close to hand when you need it!

Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee Machine
Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee Machine
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo Coffee Machine

Barista-style coffee machines

Delonghi Dedica barista-style coffee machine
Delonghi Dedica barista-style coffee machine

Certainly not a cheap option, but this machine was one of the smallest traditional pump, barista-style machines we've seen. 

Although you'll need to buy espresso ground coffee (it's a finer grind than drip coffee), or have a grinder on hand, it will deliver a real barista experience wherever you are in the world. 

With the ability to provide hot water for an americano or for herbal teas it is versatile, but it does draw 5 amps (1300W). if your appreciation of good coffee requires a machine like this then go for it! 

Fully automatic bean to cup coffee machines

A-Maz-ing! These machines grind and brew your coffee fully automatically. You simply pop water and coffee beans in the machine and you will get a perfect shot of your chosen recipe coffee at the press of a button, and no clean up required between shots. Some machines include integrated milk frothers which do the work of heating the milk to exactly the right temperature for you, providing you with a cappuccino or latte with almost no effort.

The down side to this ultimate convenience of freshly brewed coffee will be the size of the machine. Great for a work surface at home, but maybe too big for many motorhomes unless you have an exceptionally large kitchen area. being quite heavy machines too you may find that packing them up and getting them out again to be too much of a chore to be worth the effort.

Also, be aware of the electrical requirements for these machines as they can draw quite a few Amps of current from your electric Hook-up.  Typically 1500W (6 Amps) and above

Krups Espressaria Automatic Bean to cup coffee machine
Krups Espressaria automatic bean to cup coffee machine

12 volt coffee machines

12 Volt single cup coffee maker
12 Volt single cup coffee maker

For some this is an important requirement.  "Can I get my morning coffee when I'm camping off-grid?".   Being able to make good coffee from just using your 12 volt leisure battery (or in your motorhome cab) when you are away from an Electric Hook-Up can be a life-saver.

There are certainly quite a few of single cup drip/filter coffee makers out there that run on 12 volts and they can be quite inexpensive too.  

handpresso automatic 12 volt espresso maker
handpresso automatic 12 volt espresso maker

 

Nevertheless, some clever bod came up with a 12 v espresso make so, if you've got deep pockets, go find one of these... they really are amazing.

Finding the ideal coffee machine for your motorhome

There are so many options available that it can be quite overwhelming.  But if you love your coffee then finding a good coffee machine is almost mandatory for an acceptable motorhome lifestyle.  We hope to have brought you a few ideas of what to look at and possibly what questions you need to answer in able to choose the right machine.  Best wishes from us all at Oaktree!

Just keep drinking the coffee!

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