Review: Bonvita Bona Voyage Mini Electric Kettle
I’m not going to lie, I’m never going to be a true uber minimalist bikepacking type because the thought of a few days in the woods with no decent coffee scares the beejesus out of me ; ) We usually travel with at least a small burr grinder and 12 oz of beans. When we go camping, we’ll heat up water with our trusty Trangia stove. However, most of our trips this summer have involved a lot of motels and hotels. Finding a safe place to light up indoors has become a hassle. Our usual work around is using the cheap plastic motel coffee brewers to heat up some tepid water that we then pour through our ground beans. Problem is it takes so dang long and the water never quite gets hot enough for proper extraction. So you get a sort of meh cup made from spendy beans.
I had almost resigned our travel days to unfulfilling coffee until I spotted the rather clever Bonvita Bona Voyage Mini Electric Kettle. We have and use (multiple times a day ) the Bonvita Electric Kettle that has a goose neck and love it. It is easily the most used electrical cooking appliance in our apartment. The thought of a smaller travel sized kettle, suddenly made the prospect of week long conferences not so terrifying (from a coffee standpoint). So I pedaled to Mr. Green Beans, the purveyor of all things roasting and brewing in Portland and picked one up.
The Bonvita Bona Voyage is small, but not miniature. It’s about the size of a hefty beer stein but way lighter. It’s big enough to hold a 12oz bag of beans comfortably, but not quite tall enough to nest the Porlex Mini Mill in there (you could stick it in there if you separated the top and bottom). For the casual coffee drinker, it might be too big. For the coffee aficionado, it’s an acceptable size.
It functions similar to the Bonvita goosneck kettle. Plug it in and press the button to start boil. Unlike it’s bigger brother, it doesn’t detach from the wired base. It is one single unit, an important thing to consider when staging your remote coffee making location. Everything should be within cord’s reach. The other big difference is the lack of a goose neck spout. This isn’t a big deal if you brew in a french press, Aeropress or Clever Dripper but it does make getting a good pour for a Hario V60 or Chemex a little more challenging.
I usually fill it near the top (sometimes a little water sputters out at boil). This gives me plenty of excess water to do the initial wetting of a paper filter. At this point, the water comes out pretty coarse with not much control. The pour does get marginally better but will never reach the control offered by a goose neck. For some, this may be unacceptable. For me, it’s an ok compromise to make in order to have coffee on the road. You could pour the water into a metal wine decanter to give you better control.
Some things to note is that the handle is pretty close to the metal body. The first few times I used it, I had to be a little conscious how I held it so as not to get burned. Also, as you pour, hot steam from the top rises to your hand. Surprising at first, but you just figure out how to hold the handle a different way. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the Bona Voyage. It’s great to have hot water on demand whether you are staying at the Ritz or slumming it at a cheap motel. We brought ours recently to some cabins in a state park in lieu of a cook kit and heated up some Trader Joes instant noodles. Likewise, if dehydrated food is your thing, you could use it for that as well. The pour control is non-existent to mediocre at best but you can get a decent pour with some practice and patience.
We bought ours locally at Mr. Green Beans in Portland. We encourage you to get yours locally as well. If you can’t or want to help support the site, you can get it from our Amazon Affilaite link.
Recommend: Highly Recommend