It's summer time, which means you have all the good reasons for going outdoors. There is one important thing you can't forget taking with you - coffee.
As important as not forgetting to bring coffee on a trip, it is even more important to know how to make it right when you are in the backcountry.
The backcountry coffee making process
1. How to boil water in the outdoors
Your coffee will need hot water, and there are two main ways in which you can boil water in the outdoors: with real fire or using a camping gas stove.
While there are some methods that don't use matches to start the fire, we will follow the more easy way for our trip...
To build a good wood campfire, you can follow either the “tepee” or the “log cabin” methods.
For both methods, start with selecting a site away from trees, bushes, and other plant material. Then, build your fire bed, which should be on bare earth, not grass or dead grass. Gather dirt or rocks and place them in a circle around the area where you'd like to lid the fire.
To build your wood tepee, put small pieces of tinder in the middle of your fire pit. Tinder is material like dry leaves, dry bark, wood shavings, dry grass, or some fluffy fungi (not the dating app in that case). If you’re a pro camper, you can bring your own tinder with you from home to save time.
Stack the kindling (small twigs and branches) into a cone around your tinder, then lean the logs on the kindling. Make sure to leave an opening in the tepee structure, so you can light the pile from the bottom.
To make your fire using the wood log method, you should start by following the similar directions as in the previous method. First, gather tinder in the center of your fire pit. Then, create a small tepee structure around it with kindling as you did in the previous method. Finally, stack your logs a foot or less apart in an alternating pattern around the tepee in the shape of a square. Start the fire be lighting the kindling in the middle.
Portable gas stove
This portable cooking device is made for easy outdoor cooking, especially while camping. There are different types of stoves, such as single burner gas stove top, table top gas stove, double burner gas stove and so on.
The portable gas stove works similarly to your home gas stove, but obviously much smaller. Boiling water using a portable gas stove will save your time and effort for starting a fire, but will also minimize your outdoor experience.
2. What pots to use for making coffee while camping
Camping pots are large metal pots that you can use for boiling and mixing your coffee grounds or granules. These pots have to be made from durable metals as the purpose is to place them over the camping fire or portable gas stove.
They can be used for many things while camping. Such as, stews, soups, cooking vegetables and of course boiling water for your coffee or tea. The better pots will be coated with Teflon non-stick material, but you can also choose more affordable options if your use is limited to boiling water.
If you are making Turkish Coffee, you can also use the traditional small metal pot, also known as a cezve or ibrik.
3. Water-to-coffee ratio
An important factor to take into account is the water-to-coffee ratio. By adding too much of one and not the other, you will ruin your coffee experience and hence not enjoy your trip as much.
While with ground coffee, the water-to-ratio will depend on the strength of the coffee you purchased (usually one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water), with instant coffee it is much easier to perfect the ratio. A simple 1:1 ratio is the amount to go by. 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 1 cup of water (8 fl oz). It is also easier to adjust your desired strength by mixing in more or less coffee granules.
Bring with you filtered or bottled water if the tap water at your camping site is not good. If you’re using tap water, let the water run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot, and be sure to use only cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water.
4. Making Coffee the "Cowboy Way"
Now, after you have your fire all set with the pot of water hanging or placed on top, it's time to add in your desired coffee. Pour one tablespoon of grounded coffee per coffee serving into the pot (make sure you follow the water-to-coffee ratio accordingly).
Wait for the water to boil for about 2 minutes.
After boiling, let the coffee and water sit for about 5 minutes to let the grounds sink down. Slowly pour the coffee into your mug trying to avoid pouring out the grounds.
If you choose making your outdoor coffee experience much easier, use quality instant coffee. In that case, simply wait for the water to boil. Pour your desired amount of instant coffee granules in your individual mug and mix in the hot water. Wait for about a minute for the water to cool down and enjoy!
Why instant coffee is your best option for the outdoors
Individually sized instant coffee packets are perfect for on-the-go and outdoor activities. Just rip open a small packet, add water, and you have the necessary portion of morning coffee ready in seconds.
Single-serve instant coffee packets are easily slipped into a backpack and not take up any space, leaving room for you to carry more of your belongings. By using coffee packets you don’t have to worry about an open bag spilling, where you last placed your spoon, or if you put enough coffee for that perfect ratio.
Additionally, when going on a backpacking trip weight is very important. You don’t want to bring too much with you because it will slow you down and eventually hurt your back on those many hours outdoors carrying your bag. On the other hand, you may think that bringing everything under the sun is necessary because you will be away from home for so many days and you may need supplies along the way.
Instant coffee packets are almost weightless and small in size. There is also no need to bring along additional equipment for making this type of coffee. Water and a pot for boiling water is all you need.
The best outdoor coffee tips
Follow these coffee hacks and tips to keep your coffee fresh and tasteful while in the outdoors:
- If your coffee is too bitter, add some salt to soften the taste
- Use Joulies to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature
- When your coffee gets cold reheat over a low flame for a few minutes
- Don’t drink your coffee boiling hot, it will ruin the taste and burn your tongue
- Use a travel mug to keep your coffee hot all day long while traveling
- Add spices like cinnamon and vanilla to give your coffee a sweeter flavor
- Add cocoa to your coffee to increase the health benefits of natural coffee and enhanced flavors