Originally published on July 15, 2011
Webmaster note: This past Memorial Day long weekend, I attended my first outdoor music festival in years, the Sasquatch Music Festival in The Gorge, Washington. As you might imagine, I was responsible for making sure that everybody drank good coffee in the morning. It reminded me of the post that you’ll read below. I used to think that one had to sacrifice quality with coffee while camping, but thanks to the press pot and however you boil water while you camp, you can make good coffee. I thought you might enjoy this post as the camping season is upon us!
If you like camping, I don’t need to tell you that we settle on many things. Sure, we may grill meat over charcoal instead of gas and talk about how awesome it is, and yes, breakfast somehow tastes better when you’re roughing it than when you make it in a kitchen.
But, one thing we definitely settle on is our coffee. At least, I used to. Because the addict in me would rather drink awful coffee than no coffee, and energy drinks have only recently popped up everywhere, it was standard to bring instant coffee, sugar packets, and powdered whitener on camping trips. It’s a terrible combination and I was sure to drink less coffee but it was something instead of nothing.
One year, one of the big grocery store coffee brands had introduced “coffee packets” which looked like tea bags and sat at the bottom of the cup. You’d pour hot water on it, let it sit, and then remove the packet. I thought this was the answer to coffee on camping trips but learned soon enough that it was really just more instant coffee in a perforated packet.
This year after everything was packed and I stared at my coffee bar waiting for the answer to hit me…it did!
French Press coffee brewing (sometimes called the Bodum from the brand name) is for many, the best way to brew coffee. Click here to learn more about the French Press brewing method. The short explanation is that you pour hot water over coarse-ground coffee that sits at the bottom of a container like the one you see above. After a few minutes of exposure between the coffee and water, you press a filter downward to hold all the ground coffee at the bottom so that everything above the filter is great brewed coffee.
I thought, how ironic could it be that one of the best ways to brew coffee in your kitchen might also be the best way to brew it while camping. As long as I bring coarse-ground coffee that I’d grind before leaving the house (and which would keep fresh well enough in an airtight container over the couple days that I’m camping), and the French Press itself, all I need after that is water heated over the fire or gas stove, and a cup to pour it in.
The setup is to the left. Coarse-ground coffee measured out of my ceramic airtight container and deposited into the press. Water brought to a near-boil (don’t pour boiling water on coffee!) and poured into the press. Wait a few minutes, press the ground coffee down with the filter, pour into your cup.
It’s worth repeating…how ironic when we settle on things while camping that one of the best ways to make coffee is the same in the campground as it is in the kitchen!