Would you like to bring your own coffee on a plane? Most coffee lovers will not touch the in-flight coffee unless they really need the caffeine hit.
Sometimes you want to bring your own coffee beans and coffee-making equipment to continue brewing your favorite coffee in your travels. You might also come across some great-tasting coffee beans or a unique retro-style coffee maker that you want to bring home with you.
Can you bring coffee on a plane?
Yes, you can bring brewed coffee on a plane if you buy the coffee after security as liquid items over 3.4oz in the carry-on will not pass the security check. TSA allows coffee beans and ground coffee in both the hand-and-checked luggage although preground coffee may face extra scrutiny.
What are the Rules about Bringing Coffee on a Plane?
Rules about Bringing Liquid Coffee on a Plane
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), all liquids in the hand luggage should be in a quart-sized bag, and you are allowed one such bag per person. Each liquid item in the quart-sized bag should not be more than 3.4 ounces.
Therefore, if you intend to bring coffee in your carry-on before the security check, the coffee must in a container that is not more than 3.4 ounces and it has to be inside the carry-on bag together with your other liquids. That’s a tiny amount of coffee for all the hassle.
You are better off going through security and buying a hot cup of coffee in one of the coffee shops within the terminal’s airside. The TSA allows you to bring an empty travel mug that you can fill with coffee and sip away as you wait for your flight.
The good news for cold brew lovers is that you are not restricted as to the amount of liquid coffee that you can bring in your checked baggage.
You can, therefore, bring cold brew coffee concentrates in your checked luggage with ease. However, ensure that the concentrate does not require refrigeration and is not opened.
The airplane’s baggage hold is cool enough but the bag is shuttled in baggage carts between the terminals and the plane.
Rules about Coffee Beans and Ground Coffee on a Plane
You are allowed to bring coffee beans and ground coffee in both the hand luggage and the checked luggage.
However, you may want to carry preground coffee that is more than 340 grams in the checked luggage as the TSA officers may require you to place such powders, including pre-ground coffee, in a separate bin for further screening. They may also open the coffee grounds.
K-Cups and Coffee Pods in the Carry-on Bag
You can bring any amount of your favorite K-Cups or single-serve coffee pods in the carry-on bag and the TSA requires no special packing. Be sure to not exceed the carry-on baggage allowance to avoid paying extra charges.
Can You Bring a Coffee Grinder on a Plane?
Yes, you can bring a coffee grinder in your hand luggage as long as the blades are not removable. For grinders with removable blades, wrap the blades separately and carry them in the checked luggage.
Alternatively, bring the coffee grinder and all its components in the checked baggage. Safely wrap the blades if they are not inside the grinder as the TSA requires all sharp objects to be properly wrapped for the safety of the baggage handlers.
Can You Bring a Coffee Maker on a Plane?
Yes, you can bring a coffee maker either in the hand luggage or in the checked baggage. You are not restricted as to the size or weight of the coffee machine.
Bear in mind that single-serve coffee makers such as Keurig can weigh as much as 15 pounds (7.5kg) so you may want to factor this so as not to overshoot your free luggage allowance.
Fragile items in the checked baggage can end up damaged due to poor handling or purely by accident. The TSA recommends that you bring fragile electronic appliances such as a coffee maker in the carry-on.
Can You Bring a Coffee Mug on a Plane?
You can bring an empty travel mug or a regular coffee mug in a carry-on bag but be sure that the coffee mug does not have overly sharp features. Otherwise, put a mug that has very sharp features in the checked luggage.
You may want to bubble wrap fragile coffee mugs to prevent them from cracking or breaking if you intend to put them in the checked bag.
Personally, I like to bring my Yeti Rambler in my carry-on and have it filled with pour-over coffee as I kill the time. Some people like to buy mugs as mementos for their travels across the world or as gifts for their loved ones.
You may head over to this article that discusses scratched mugs and whether you should use them.
Will Coffee Beans in the Checked Baggage be Exposed to Heat?
We know that coffee beans and coffee grounds stale fast when exposed to heat. But heat should be the least of your worries when it comes to coffee that is in the checked bag.
The baggage hold of an airplane is pressurized and its temperature is controlled the same way that the temperature in the cabin is regulated.
The best way to bring a cup of coffee on a plane is to buy the coffee after you are done with the security check. Frequent fliers may want to take advantage of the fact that an empty travel mug is permitted in your carry-on bag. Bring a travel mug and fill it with your favorite coffee after security.
You may want to confirm beforehand whether the airport has coffee shops on the airside of your terminal. Most airports will have at least one coffee shop.
Although coffee pods, coffee beans, and ground coffee are permitted in your carry-on, you are better off packing ground coffee that is more than 340 grams in the checked baggage to avoid the inconvenience of being instructed to put it in a separate bin or even the TSA officers opening it for further scrutiny.
Coffee makers, coffee grinders, and coffee mugs are allowed in both the carry-on and the checked bag but removable blades and mugs with sharp features should not go in the carry-on bag.