Unless you’re staying at Portland’s Ace Hotel and thus have a Stumptown Coffee bar in your über hip, bohemian lobby, when you’re in some far off place hoteling in a name-brand tower or a teensy, boutique inn, you’re entirely at the whim of those oh-so-fickle gods of hospitality for your in-room coffee. Chances are further that this in-room coffee service is a frac-pack of ground coffee of questionable freshness, to be brewed at  questionable temperatures in a likewise questionable brewing device.

It really doesn’t have to be this way.

On this trip I packed a coffee bag. In it are two half-pound valve bags of just-roasted beans (Panama Los Flores de Boquete, and  W.P. Ethiopian Jimma Doromina, ’cause sometimes you want a juicy Central and sometimes a peachy African), my trusty Braun hot water kettle (tough plastic, not glass), a Melitta cone pourover basket and filters, a measuring cup and spoon and a whirly-blade grinder. Yes, I said whirly-blade… this is just the scenario where the grinder you wouldn’t choose to have on your kitchen counter is just fine, thanks. So equipped, making coffee in your room is much the same as you’d make at home. ‘Course, you could also order something to go with from room service…

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