If you’re considering the leap to van life but fear a life without good coffee, we’ve got some great news for you. Making coffee on the road is just as easy and achievable as it is at home. Ok, you might not press a button on a $20 machine and walk away, but there are some amazing campervan coffee makers out there.
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With the wealth of compact and portable options, coffee drinkers don’t have to compromise on good coffee on the road. Whether you’re an aficionado or a no-nonsense coffee fan, there is a campervan coffee maker for every lifestyle. So grab your mug and check out these 6 best coffee makers for van life or RV living.
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Guide to Buying a Campervan Coffee Maker: What to Consider
Depending on how much coffee you drink at a time, some camping coffee makers are geared for single-cup brewing. If you’re more than one person or like to enjoy multiple cups, this can turn making coffee into a lengthy process. Consider if a larger capacity camp coffee maker might be a better fit.
With electricity from solar or shore power, you can run pretty much any home coffee machine in your van. But a fancy espresso maker might draw more power than you think. Be sure to factor in wattage or opt for a non-electric coffee maker if your battery capacity is limited.
Having a portable coffee maker for camping means you can brew anywhere. If being able to take your coffee maker on a hike with you is important, you’ll want something super compact. If it isn’t, then you can choose a more robust RV coffee maker. Just remember you’ll need a secure place to store it when not in use.
The bumps of the road and a glass carafe usually don’t go together. We outfitted our kitchen with as much non-breakable gear as possible and campervan coffee makers are no exception.
The value of a good cup of coffee is deeply personal. Some coffee lovers are willing to fork out big bucks for the best coffee while others are just looking for a no-frills morning cup. Thankfully, there’s a huge range of prices with a camper coffee maker for every budget.
Ease of Brewing Coffee
The best camping coffee maker shouldn’t require a barista to operate. Choose a coffee machine with a brewing process that suits your lifestyle.
Can you use a coffee machine in a campervan?
Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Traditional drip coffee makers can definitely double as mobile RV coffee makers but require electricity and storage. They’re not as conducive to travelling as portable coffee machines that are lightweight and compact. So while you absolutely can use a drip coffee maker in a campervan, there are better options out there.
How do you make coffee in a campervan?
If you’ve ever wondered how to make coffee when camping, the good news is there are lots of different methods. The most common brewing methods include french press coffee, pour over coffee, percolators, and handheld devices like the Aeropress.
Coffee Beans vs Coffee Grounds
Pre-ground coffee is readily accessible but making coffee from beans is always preferable for freshness and flavour. Coffee lovers know that if your morning coffee is fresh and delicious, your day is off to a good start. So we recommend buying fresh coffee beans and grinding them yourself right before brewing.
Best Manual Coffee Grinder for Van Life
Even if you already have an electric coffee grinder, having a manual grinder is a great back up. The Hario Skerton Coffee Grinder is perfect for making the best camping coffee without the need for electricity. It has ceramic burrs just like a fancy grinder and working the mill counts as a morning workout!
Best Campervan Coffee Makers
Making coffee on the road is a surprisingly painless process thanks to the great coffee machines out there. So skip the instant coffee and find out which camper coffee maker is the best fit for you.
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
Wacaco makes some of the best coffee makers for campers who won’t compromise on coffee quality. The Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker is what we used in Australia and loved its power and portability.
It works by pumping a button to create pressure to extract the espresso. The Nanopresso has an impressive pumping system that can reach 18 bars (261 psi), which makes pumping pretty effortless. Simply add boiling water, fill the basket with finely ground coffee, tamp, and pump. It brews directly over your coffee mug and is sure to make a delicious cup of vanlife coffee, wherever you are.
The Nanopresso is super lightweight and compact at only 6”/15 cm long for ultra portability. Plus, it only requires hot water and coffee grounds so there’s no need for electricity. It’s easy to clean and makes a mean cup of coffee. Thanks to its ease and portability, it’s one of the best coffee makers for camping.
- Super lightweight and compact—perfect for portable use
- Makes higher quality coffee than other coffee makers
- Doesn’t require electricity
- Pricier than other camping coffee machines
- Can only make one cup at a time
- Requires finely ground coffee which can be harder to find pre-ground and takes more effort to grind manually
De’Longhi Nespresso Essenza Plus Machine
The De’Longhi Nespresso Essenza Plus Machine is the coffee maker we have in our van and we love it! It’s an espresso machine like you’d use in your home kitchen with a built-in water compartment. This makes it easy to throw in a pod, hit a button, and have an amazing cup of coffee ready in no time.
These types of espresso machines do require electricity (1260 watts) so it’s best for builds with solar. It also makes a fantastic RV coffee maker when you’re staying at a campsite with shore power. Another perk is that it’s not only for coffee drinkers—it has a dedicated hot water option that’s perfect for tea. We’ve also used the water boiler for cooking since it’s way quicker than boiling water on the stove.
This machine works with Nespresso pods, which come in a range of styles and flavours. Since it’s a single-serve coffee maker, this makes it convenient to customize coffee for friends based on everyone’s different tastes. It also alerts you when it’s time to descale so you can assure every cup of coffee is delicious!
- Fast and makes an amazing cafe-style cup of coffee
- Also boils water for tea or cooking
- Alerts you when it’s time to clean
- Best RV coffee maker if you already use Nespresso pods
- Requires electricity
- Requires pods
- Expensive compared to other options
- Not portable—it needs a permanent home in your campervan kitchen
When it comes to camping coffee makers, the Aeropress is synonymous with freshly brewed coffee off-grid. It’s similar to using a french press coffee maker that’s quick, easy, and can be done anywhere. It works by immersing coffee grounds in hot water and using pressure to extract the coffee.
Aeropress coffee is known to be smooth and delicious without the acidity and bitterness of french press coffee. It’s perfect as a coffee machine for camping because it’s lightweight, compact, and can be easily stored. Though it’s a portable coffee maker, it’s very popular among home-based coffee buffs too.
The best part about the Aeropress is that it doesn’t require electricity and can make 1-3 cups of coffee at a time. This makes it super versatile and easy to bring with you on all of your adventures. It sits directly above your mug and can brew regular coffee and espresso. Keep in mind that it does require filters but it’s very easy to clean with a good rinse. Overall, The Aeropress is a top contender for the best coffee maker for van life.
- Lightweight, compact, and portable
- Affordable and versatile
- Only requires hot water and coffee grounds to operate
- Requires disposable coffee filters
Bialetti Moka Pot
A moka pot is a classic stovetop coffee maker popular in Italy that makes authentic espresso. The Bialetti Moka Pot in particular is a great choice for a campervan coffee maker because it’s easy to use and very durable. They’ve been around since the 1930s and have barely changed thanks to timeless design and functionality.
A moka pot is similar to a percolator coffee pot where the fresh coffee rises from the bottom (percolates) into the carafe. Since it’s made from durable aluminum, it keeps coffee warm if you’re not ready to drink it right away. These types of coffee pots don’t need electricity but they do require a stove to percolate.
Moka pots come in all different sizes and can make multiple cups of espresso at a time. They don’t need any disposable filters and you can add your coffee grounds in without tamping. This makes it a sustainable, eco-friendly option for the best coffee maker for RV living and van life.
- Affordable and can last a lifetime
- Comes in different sizes to make up to 18 demitasse-sized cups at a time (900 ml)
- Made of durable aluminum that can hold up to the bumps of the road
- Sustainable all-in-one solution with no coffee filter required
- Requires a camping stove or campfire
- Takes a little longer than other portable coffee makers
French Press Coffee Maker
Using a french press is one of the easiest ways to brew coffee. It’s just as easy to use as a drip coffee maker without the need for paper filters or electricity. We recommend a stainless steel carafe over a glass carafe like this Secura French Press Coffee Maker. This improves durability and helps to keep coffee hot after brewing.
To use a french press, simply add your coarsely ground coffee beans in the carafe, pour hot water, and let the coffee brew for 3-4 minutes. Then, push down the plunger to extract the coffee. You can pour directly out of the carafe and they’re usually large enough to make 3 or 4 cups at a time.
You can pick up french press coffee makers at any home/kitchen store and they’re very affordable. They use reusable screens as a filter so there’s no need for disposable filters or additional accessories. All in all, a french press is totally fool-proof to use and is the best coffee maker for camping.
- Easy to find and very affordable
- Large capacity that makes enough coffee for multiple cups at a time
- Durable and easy to store in any campervan kitchen
- Sustainable brewing doesn’t require any disposable filters or electricity
- Cleaning the filter properly can be a pain
- Takes longer than more “instant” style coffee makers
Hario V60 Pour Over Coffee Dripper
A pour over is the easiest and simplest form of brewing coffee. The Hario V60 is a lightweight plastic funnel or “coffee dripper” that sits on top of your mug. Unlike other pressure-based coffee makers on this list, it extracts coffee in the same way drip coffee makers do. By pouring water over coffee grounds in a filter-lined funnel, the coffee drips right into your cup.
Pour over coffee can be as basic or as complex as you want it to be. Many folks use scales and thermometers to make the perfect cup but it’s not necessary. With the Hario V60, you can make a fresh, hot cup anywhere. Even if your camping trip leads you up a mountain top, there’s room for a pour over and a jet boil in any backpack!
Hario makes high-quality coffee makers for RVs, vans, and home use. They’re ultra-lightweight and portable and really shine with lighter and brighter roasts. On the whole, a pour over is the best coffee maker for campers who want a no-frills brewing process that can be done anywhere. But, it can also be fancified into an elevated coffee experience straight out of a coffee shop.
- Compact, lightweight, and super portable
- Easy to operate and doesn’t require electricity
- Very affordable
- Only brews one cup at a time
- Requires disposable paper filters
- Can be time consuming and complicated if you’re striving for the perfect cup