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Ariana Bissinger | 04.10.2017

If you need your morning cup of steaming hot coffee as much as I do, this post is for you. Options are endless, but these are my tried-and-true methods for camp coffee. There is no single right way. I tend to use a variety of methods based on how much time I will have in the morning and how lightweight I want to be. So I've put together this comprehensive list to help you make the best decision for each adventure. 

Terminology

  • Serving size: Based on a typical 8 ounce serving. If you need more, plan accordingly.
  • Price: Total cost for four servings and the device needed (think two people for two mornings)
  • Weight: Total weight of the device and four servings of coffee
  • Waste: What will you have to carry out
  • Time: How long does it take to brew once the water is boiled
  • Taste: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being terrible, 10 being delicious

Treeline Coffee Roasters Geo

  • Brand: Treeline Coffee Roasters
  • Serving: 1 disposable pour over = 8 ounce coffee
  • Price: $2.00
  • Weight: 2.4 oz (68 g)
  • Waste: Carry out the wet disposable filter, coffee grounds, and packaging. Can leave it out to dry until you leave camp if you have time to decrease weight.
  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Taste: 7
  • Brewing tips: use hot (just boiling) water and take the time to slowly pour it over for a stronger brew
  • Pros: easy, tasty
  • Cons: price, waste

Note: I was provided with a sample box of Treeline Coffee Roasters GEO product for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review, and I was not compensated in any other form. The thoughts in this review reflect my own personal experience with GEO.

Instant Coffee 

  • Brand: Mount Hagen (one of my favorites)
  • Serving: 1 packet = 8 oz coffee
  • Price: $0.86
  • Weight: 0.2 oz (6 g)
  • Waste: Minimal, only packaging, no wet waste to carry out
  • Time: <30 seconds
  • Taste: 5
  • Brewing tips: pour, stir, enjoy
  • Pros: Quick and easy, minimal waste
  • Cons: Not quite the same flavor as freshly brewed coffee

Some other available brands: Starbucks ViaCoconut Coffee, Trader Joes Instant Coffee with Creamer and SugarMushroom Coffee, Alpine StartJiva Coffee Cubes

Pour Over

  • Brand: Options are endless here, but I've always just used a cheap plastic one
  • Serving: 8 oz
  • Price: $9.95 + cost of two #2 filters + cost of 8 tbs of coffee
  • Weight: 5 oz oz (142 g)
  • Waste: wet coffee filter and coffee grounds
  • Time: 2-3 minutes
  • Taste: 7
  • Brewing tips: slowly pour water over your coffee
  • Pros: easy brewing, reusable
  • Cons: bulky, need to carry out wet filters (unless you have time to leave them out to dry)

GSI has some camping-specific pour over models: GSI Collapsible Java DripGSI Ultralight Java Drip

AeroPress

  • Brand: Aerobie, available on Amazon
  • Serving: 8 oz coffee
  • Price: $29.95 for Aeropress + cost of 4 heaping scoops of coffee
  • Weight: 8.4 oz (237 g)
  • Waste: wet coffee grounds + small disposable filters
  • Time: 2-4 minutes depending on brewing method
  • Taste: 9 (this is my favorite way to brew coffee at home)
  • Brewing tips: use a fine grind
  • Pros: delicious and smooth tasting coffee, reusable
  • Cons: time consuming, bulky, difficult to clean

Jet Boil Coffee Press

  • Brand: Jet Boil
  • Serving: 8 oz per person
  • Price: $9.95 for coffee press + cost of 4 tbs of coffee
  • Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g) for the press and coffee (not including full Jet Boil system)
  • Waste: wet coffee grounds
  • Time: 3 minutes
  • Taste: 8-10 depending on coffee and brewing method
  • Brewing tips: use a coarse grind
  • Pros: reusable, brews multiple servings at once, made to disassemble for storage inside your Jet Boil
  • Cons: Lack of a tight seal leads to grounds in your coffee and difficult clean up, must already have a Jet Boil or be wanting to invest in the whole system

 

If you aren't a black coffee drinker, there are also many ways to bring lightweight flavor for your coffee. You can bring powdered milk, powdered coconut milk, sugar, and other flavorings in a separate bag and add it in as desired. How do you enjoy your backcountry coffee?

A word on Leave No Trace ethics. I posed the question about whether or not it was good practice to disperse your coffee grounds to the folks at Leave No Trace (as we know, coffee is a great fertilizer after all) and here is their response: “For Leave No Trace ethics we advise for grounds to be packed out. Even though they are biodegradable - much like apple cores, orange peels, etc. - they carry a strong smell that will attract wildlife to dig them up and become accustomed to checking backpackers sites for food scraps.”

This post was written in collaboration with The Wholesome Trail, a resource for recipes, musings, and reports with a focus on backcountry adventures and women's health. 

Comments

Thanks Stephanie, I've corrected the price.
A single Treeline GEO is $2 - not sure where the $8 price came from.
Thanks for the article. Here are a few more to try!

Dark Timber Coffee Company (https://www.darktimberco.com): Ascent packs offer a single serving (11 oz) of coffee in packaging similar to a tea bag. Two blends are currently offered.

Overland Coffee Company (https://overlandcoffeecompany.com): Everyday Coffee Packets offer a single serving (8 to 10 oz) of coffee in a pour over coffee packet which includes the filter. Three blends are currently offered.

KUJU Coffee Company (https://www.kujucoffee.com): Pocket PourOver Pouches offer a single serving (8 oz) of coffee in a pour over packet similar to those listed above. Four blends, including Decaf, are currently offered.

My AeroPress is still my preferred method based on taste but these work when I'm looking for less bulk.

Jena
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