Category Archives: Travel

Pakt Coffee Kit Review

It’s (way) past time to do another post on travel gear – one of my and my wife’s favorite subjects (and a serious weakness). A (long) while back I wrote about my personal bag made by Nomatic. When it comes to travel, I favor products that are a marriage of form and function. My Nomatic messenger bag certainly fits that bill, and our new Pakt Coffee Kit does as well.

Like a few items I’ve purchased over the years, the Pakt is the result of browsing down the rabbit hole on Kickstarter. I’m always on the lookout for things that will make travel more efficient. When my wife and I travel – especially on Field Band tours – we like to bring our coffee with us because…hotel coffee. We started with the vaunted AeroPress, whole beans, and a small hand grinder. Now, the AeroPress makes a good cup of coffee but it was a little unwieldy to work in a hotel room for not a lot of coffee. The next contestant was French press travel mugs. Again, it made good coffee but dealing with the grinds was a little annoying. It was also a lot to pack between the mugs, coffee beans, and grinder.

Enter Kickstarter and the Pakt Coffee Kit. I’ll start out by saying that I wanted to wait to review the kit until after taking it on tour but…

So, I made coffee with it Saturday. First, the components of the kit seem to be all well thought out and well made. Most of the components are made of stainless steel and are protected by silicone sleeves.

The three main components: Kettle, Mug, and Coffee Grounds Container.

The kit is stored like Russian nesting dolls – the coffee grinds container fits into the mug, which fits inside the kettle, and they all go inside a case that also houses the kettle base, a spoon, and a reusable filter.

The kit weighs a little less than four pounds; not light, but also look at what you’re carrying. It was easy to set up and didn’t take very long to make two cups of coffee. So, how did it fare?

I prepared the coffee the way I normally do our Chemex (which during this pandemic has become our number one way of making coffee each morning, shunning our very good coffee maker, a Bonavita). We still enjoy the ease and surprisingly flavorful coffee our Nespresso makes…and I still have an ibrik to make Turkish coffee in the evenings…I might have a problem.

Where was I? Oh yes. I work in grams so I placed the kettle on our digital scale and poured water to the fill line to see how many grams it was – 300. I then ground the coffee with the same ratio to water as the Chemex – for me 19:1 (I know, you probably think it should be more like 16:1…)

Anyways, the kettle beeped when the water was ready. The temperature was around 205 degrees F so I let it cool just a bit before pouring over the coffee. One of the truly great features of this kit is the kettle’s spout. Pour over coffee requires a narrow, controlled stream of water, which normally requires a long spout. That would take up too much space in a kit like this so they came up with this cool design that gets the same result – ingenious!

The kettle made it easy to control the flow of water over the coffee.

The resulting coffee was very smooth, clean, and flavorful. Easily the best tasting coffee of the three travel methods we’ve tried. Of course the true test will be when we take it on the road, but for now I’m quite impressed with Pakt. The retail price on their site isn’t cheap (on Kickstarter it was quite a bit less), but if coffee is important to you when you travel, you should at least check it out.

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Review – Nomatic Messenger Bag

As anyone who follows me on social media knows – whether on the road for my job or vacationing with my wife – I do a fair amount of travel. One thing my wife and I are (possibly unhealthily) addicted to is finding travel hacks, travel gear, and travel clothing that makes our time on the road more efficient and comfortable. Continue reading


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Impressions of Bhutan

Bhutan. Land of the Thunder Dragon. Some call it a modern day Shangri-la. I call it a beautiful country steeped in tradition that my wife and I had the good fortune of visiting on our most recent vacation. I know what you’re thinking. “Oh yeah, Bhutan…that’s where now?” The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small (around the size of Switzerland), land-locked country nestled in the eastern range of the Himalayas between India and China. Its history is rooted in protecting its sacred traditions but the last forty years has seen its monarchs slowly open the country to the modern world while simultaneously safeguarding its heritage. Continue reading


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It’s the Little Things

My wife and I have been in Korea for about four months now. There are things that I miss about living in the U.S. and there are things I love about living in Korea. Obviously, I miss my friends and family, and living in an Asian culture certainly takes some getting used to, but here are a few things I like about Korea that I wish we would adopt in the United States: Continue reading

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Episode VI: The Return of the Blogger (Part 2)

After a vacation for the ages with my wife and her family, we said goodbye to Virginia Beach and the Army School of Music, which had been our home for five years. We’ll always carry a lot of wonderful memories to go with the occasional headaches, but we were more than ready to move on to our next adventure – Korea. Thankfully, our flight to Korea took us through Seattle, giving us the opportunity to visit with two of our closest friends and their family before the long flight through Japan to Osan Airforce Base. When we finally did arrive at United States Army Garrison Yongsan, which is located in the Republic of Korea’s capital city of Seoul, we were excited to hit the ground running, taking very little time before wondering off base. Continue reading

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Episode VI: The Return of the Blogger (Part 1)

It’s been a long, long time since I last published a post on this blog. I could say I had a good reason, but the truth is I let my busy work schedule be an excuse to do other things…like watch “Blacklist” and “Agents of Shield.” The truth is that I think deep down I felt like I had said all I wanted to say about my time at the Army School of Music – I was there for five years after all – and was hoping that a return to the “operational” domain (i.e., serving at a band) would inspire me to write again…almost true. I did feel inspired to write again, but I also felt a little overwhelmed with moving to a foreign country and the new job, so I again made excuses. No more. For the five of you who have been hoping I would return to this space, the wait is over. Continue reading

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