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Living close to nature and gazing towards a sky full of stars can undoubtedly feel surreal. The cherry on top is having a freshly brewed cup of coffee by your side. That is why we decided to write this ‘Ultimate Guide’ on how to brew coffee while camping. It may even be the best way to brew coffee while camping!
To figure out how you can continue to be a barista, and brew coffee when camping, we have selected a few methods that can brew you the desired coffee faster and with minimum effort and resources.
Whether you want to go for the traditional cowboy’s method, or getting on the AeroPress bandwagon is your decision. This guide will explain how you can carry and get coffee from your favorite brewing mechanism while camping.
1. Instant Coffee
OK. You don’t need to be a barista for this method but it is a way to easily make coffee when camping. Instant coffee is ideal for camping as it requires little space, it is light, and can be carried in small backpacks.
There is no need to care about the coffee to water ratio. Instant coffee also doesn’t leave behind any ground coffee that you need to separate (and throw away) after brewing.
You will need:
- Instant coffee
- Kettle, saucepan, or metal coffee mug
- A heat source such as a camping stove, campfire, or blow-torch (OK…maybe not a blow-torch)
Bring water to boil and pour it in the mug containing instant coffee or bring the water to the boil in the mug and add instant coffee.
Wait until the coffee vanishes in water leaving behind a light sediment-free java. The final step is to stir the mixture and you are ready to drink – unless you also want to add milk, cream, or sugar (you have those with you when camping don’t you?)
Different brands of instant coffee may recommend a slightly different method to make the coffee. But it can’t be too much different from what we have described here.
2. Coffee Bags
Just like instant coffee, these bags are also the easiest to carry. The coffee bags are quite similar to tea bags and the only difference is that they contain coffee instead of tea.
For brewing, you will need
- Coffee bags
- Kettle, saucepan, or metal coffee mug
- A heat source such as a camping stove or campfire
- A coffee mug
You only have to add the coffee bag to boiling water and let it steep for around 1 to 3 minutes. When the coffee has been fully extracted, throw the bag away and enjoy a sediment-free java.
However, the coffee bags are not always fresh. To ensure a refreshing joe, make your personalized coffee bags by twining the freshly grounded coffee beans inside a basket coffee filter. By doing so, you can have your favorite coffee even at a campsite.
3. The Traditional Cowboy Coffee
Whether you are in the wild or enjoying backcountry camping, this brewing method can accompany you everywhere without demanding any extra resources. To brew coffee by this age-old method, you will need:
- A coffee pot
- Heat source – traditionally a nice hot glowing log campfire
- Coffee grounds
- A coffee mug – one of those old-worldly enamel mugs fits the scene.
Start by pouring water into the coffee pot and bring it to a boil. Let the water sit for about 30 seconds for the desired brewing temperature (195-205 °F).
Add the coffee grounds to water by following a ratio of 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water. Stir the coffee-water mixture and wait for about 2-minutes.
Now stir the mixture again and wait for an additional 2-minutes. Once the grounds have settled to the bottom, pour out the coffee slowly so the coffee grounds don’t get a chance to make a way to your cup.
Furthermore, to efficiently separate the coffee grounds, you can follow the methods adopted by cowboys. One common practice is to add crushed eggshells into the pot. Since the shells are highly alkaline, they counter the acidity of coffee and make the beans settle down. Adding cold-water or using a cheesecloth to separate grounds were also among the adopted techniques.
4. Coffee Percolator
If you prefer a full-bodied cup of joe, then a stovetop percolator is one of the best options.
At a campsite, you will need:
- Medium-coarse coffee grinds (Fresh)
- Heat source
- A coffee mug
Start by disassembling the percolator. To add coffee and water, you will need to remove the tube and coffee basket from the inside.
Pour water in the kettle and for efficient filtration, place a paper filter in the coffee basket. Insert coffee grounds keeping in mind the ratio of 2 tablespoons of coffee for a single serving.
Place the percolator on a heat source and leave the coffee to perk for some good 8 to 10 minutes. After that, let the coffee sit for an extra minute so the escaped grounds settle. A strong cup of coffee is ready to serve. Enjoy it and boost your energy level to roam and explore around.
If you want a great percolator that you can take with you anywhere then we recommend the classic Farberware 47053 Stainless Steel Yosemite 12-Cup Coffee Percolator. It was our best pick in our review of coffee percolators.
5. French Press
Hitting the road with a delicate French Press might sound inappropriate but leaving your favorite coffee-maker behind sounds worse.
To meet the need, the French Press makers have come up with some super durable models that can go hand to hand with your journey.
To brew in a French Press, you will need:
- French Press (made of stainless steel or plastic)
- Coarse coffee grounds (Fresh)
- A kettle (as above)
- Heat source (as above)
- A coffee mug
To brew French Press, add water in a kettle and bring it to boil. Remove the water from the flame and let it cool for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, add two tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 1 cup (6-ounces) of water in the carafe. Pour the water over the coffee grounds and stir the mixture.
Place the plunger on the carafe and let the grounds steep for about 4 minutes. After that, press the plunger down and pour out your freshly brewed java. With this simple machine, you can brew a strong and full-bodied coffee not only for yourself but for your whole group at once.
Out of all campsite brewing methods, using a classical AeroPress is best to brew the finest cup of joe. Although a clunky device, the AeroPress is ideal if you are car camping. For the backpackers, make a space for it and enjoy a rich cup of coffee in return.
For an AeroPress, you will need:
- Medium-fine coffee grounds (Fresh)
- Paper or metal filters
- A Coffee mug
- A heat source
A ratio of 2 tablespoons of coffee for a cup is sufficient to brew. However, you can alter the ratio as per your choice. Meanwhile, prepare your AeroPress by inserting and damping the filter paper in the detachable basket.
Fix the basket back at the bottom of the brewing chamber and set it above the mug. Add the measured grounds into the AeroPress chamber and pour some hot water over it. Wait for 30 seconds until the coffee degasses.
Now stir the grounds and add the remaining hot water to the chamber. Mix the slurry and place the plunger over it. After a minute and a half, remove the plunger and stir the mixture again. Place back the plunger and start depressing it steadily until it hits down at the bottom.
New And Innovative Coffee Products for Camping
We have recently reviewed some really neat coffee cups and coffee makers that would be very useful for camping. You may like to take a look at
Hunu The Pocket-Sized Portable Eco Cup and the portable Solocano Bean to Cup Coffeemaker and Grinder.
You may also want to think about cold brew coffee for camping. It can be great on a hot day. However, you would need to find a source of cold water and ice instead of heat!
The Bottom Line
Getting a break from the busy urban life and going out on any far-flung site is enjoyable only if you’re able to remain active.
However, for most of us, running out of caffeine will ultimately lead to making the trip dull and boring.
To cope up with the situation, we have discussed above 6 of the easiest brewing methods to make sure that you can conveniently enjoy a warm cup of coffee at the campsite.
Image Source: Depositphotos
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