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Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp

07.12.17

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Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp

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  • Treeline Coffee Roasters GEO- Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp
  • Instant Coffee- Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp
  • Pour Over- Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp
  • Aeropress- Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp
  • Jet Boil Coffee Press- Five Ways to Brew Coffee at Camp
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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: $8.00
  • 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. 

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