Coffee In The Woods

Who doesn’t love a hot cup of coffee in the morning? And coffee on cold/rainy mornings while camping is the absolute best. There are plenty of options out there for the backcountry now, to compare them it’s important to consider weight, ease of use, and quality of the coffee. If you go out and search coffee on camping and backpacking retailers, you will see there is quite a plethora of gizmos and gadgets that can be used to make your morning Joe. Each comes with their advantages and disadvantages, and they will all suit different people and different situations better, But here's what I've found.

Instant is pretty straightforward.... you add a mix to some hot water and your coffee is ready. Advantages are weight savings and the easy cleaning of your coffee cup because there are no messy grounds that you have to deal with. At my local grocery store I found instant mixes such as Folgers, and Nestle. These offer a warm cup of coffee but are not quite there flavor wise, if you are a coffee connoisseur. Recently, Starbucks released its VIA™ which I had the chance to taste a couple days ago.  It tasted a lot better than the other instants but is pretty pricey (around $10 for 10 packets). There is one other type of instant I have tried, it's called Java Juice ®and it is similarly priced to VIA, except there are a few flavored options if that floats your boat.

Cowboy Coffee
You have to be a little hardcore to enjoy this one, I decided to mention it because I have tried it on several trips and have enjoyed it. Basically, this process just adds coarse coffee grounds to hot water, the mixture is stirred then allowed to rest, where the grounds hopefully settle to the bottom of your cup. Some people believe that adding a tiny bit of cold water during the settling process helps the grounds settle but it is debated by cowboy coffee makers. Check out this video on youtube to get the idea down.

There are several French presses aimed towards campers and backpackers. There are ones that are uni-taskers for coffee or there are designs that fit nalgene bottles, or jetboil stoves. I think that I like the  Jetboil Coffee Pressbest because you confine cleaning to cooking supplies, and avoid leftover coffee taste in your water bottle. Remember when using a French press that grounds should be coarser than usual to achieve the best results. If you grind your own or have a place grind your beans for you, go for a coarse ground. I really prefer the flavor of a french press over most methods so if I was going on taste alone, I would choose this method. Most of the presses for backpacking also collapse to a smaller size to make carrying them in your pack easier.

At the grocery store you can find "tea bag" individual coffees in the coffee section and these can be pretty nice because they use grounds but keep cleanup simple because the grounds are contained in the "tea bag". Another option filter oriented is to just buy some cone shaped coffee filters and a filter holder or just fold over the edges of the filter around a cup and slowly pour your hot water into the cup. There are also filters that fit on the top of mugs that are reusable.  Finally there are tea balls that can be used; there is one designed like a spoon that you stir in coffee or tea into your mug, or another that is just a small cylinder canister to add grounds to and place inside of a cup. This method can be simple and still give you good flavor because you can use the coffee of your liking inside of your selected filter. 

So what it boils down to is your personal preference and the type of trip you are planning for. Each method suits different types of trips, it just depends on what you like, and find works best for your system.

1 comment:

  1. I like the Folgers tea bag coffee as they don't taste like instant. You can even buy the empty tea bags from most tea companies and put our own brand of coffee you like.