Enjoying a good camping trip doesn’t mean you have to also give up your favorite drink. On the contrary, camping actually provides the opportunity to brew coffee using methods unique to the natural, basic settings of a campsite. Whether you are making coffee at home, or in the great outdoors, the elements necessary for brewing a cup of coffee remain the same: a heat source, vessel, water, and coffee. While you prepare for your trip, ensure you have packed the four essentials listed above, and you too can make coffee using one of the following five campfire brewing methods.
1. Traditional Campfire Coffee
Whether you have chosen to bring along ground or whole coffee beans, you might need to utilize a grinder. There are a variety of hand-crank grinders, which don’t require any power whatsoever — simply a helping hand. This method also assumes you have built a proper campfire, and are utilizing something such as a cast-iron campfire rack to set your vessel on.
For traditional campfire coffee, you need 6 tablespoons of ground coffee, combined with 48 ounces of cold filtered water in your chosen vessel (such as a fire safe kettle). Set the kettle on the fire rack, and allow it to come to a boil. Once it has reached temp, remove it from the fire and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then you are all set to go, so filter the grounds, pour up a mug, and enjoy!
2. Pour Over Coffee
A collapsible pour-over coffee maker is a perfect addition to your camping gear, requiring very little space. Made with heat-safe, sealed silicone, this little gadget pops open, and sits on top of a coffee mug, ready to prepare a single serving of campfire coffee. Simply heat up your water to boiling in a separate metal vessel, until it hits boiling. Pop open the maker, fill it with coffee grounds, and then pour your hot water over the grounds. The coffee will filter through to your mug, and you can enjoy it black or with powdered creamer.
This method is rather popular due to its overall simplicity, and easy cleanup. It doesn’t require additional paper filters, utilizing an additional vessel, or requiring complicated pieces in need of breakdown for proper cleaning. That’s a big win in our book!
3. French Press
There are a lot of travel-style French press makers on the market, but even your average glass, ceramic, or stainless steel French press will travel. Regardless of your chosen style, the method by which you brew French press coffee remains the same. Start off by heating your water until it reaches boiling. If possible, preheating your French press with hot water will improve the brew, at which point you will add your coffee. You may notice that a pre-heated French press, where the user also saturated their grounds, produces coffee with a significantly lowered amount of foam – this equals better taste and less bitterness.
A two-serving French press requires 6 tablespoons of roughly ground coffee, adding a bit of hot water to create a muddy consistency. After 30 seconds, fill your press the rest of the way, and wait 5 minutes. Before serving, press down on the plunger slowly, taking about 30 seconds to depress it all fully.
Now, if you find yourself unable to utilize your campfire as a heat source, you can avoid the situation altogether by utilizing an overnight brewing method, instead. For this style of brewing you will need a large container, something like a stainless or glass water bottle with a lid, a fine mesh style strainer or cloth, ground coffee, and cool filtered water. For two servings, utilize 6 tablespoons of a roughly ground coffee, and fill the container with water (using a 1:14 ratio). Set your container in a safe location, allow it to sit for roughly 16 hours. Once the time is up, simply pour it through a filter or strainer into a mug, add creamer as desired, and enjoy.
If you consider yourself more of a coffee snob, and need to start your camping days with a jolt, something as convenient as a travel AeroPress may be more your speed. This lightweight espresso maker enables coffee lovers to make espresso sans electricity, with just a bit of man power. Once you have ground the coffee to a fine level, heat your water. Once the water has reached temp, measure your coffee grounds into the AeroPress, and pour enough hot water over the grounds to pre-infuse with a little stir. After about 30 seconds, pour the rest of your water in at a brew ratio of 1:14. After another stir, allow it to brew for 60 seconds with the cap on. Take about 30 seconds to gently press down on the plunger to complete the process.
READ MORE: Guide: How to Cook while Camping
Feel free to experiment with a few of the various campfire coffee brewing methods, in order to decide which fits your style and needs best. Some methods require less cleaning than others, and others may be more time-intensive depending on the individual. Once you have tried a few, you may need to make adjustments.
For example, hand grinding coffee on the trail may be a bit too much effort, whereas already ground coffee serves as an excellent alternative product. However, for the hardcore coffee enthusiasts, there are a plethora of both hand and solar-powered coffee grinders available that easily pack up for your next camping trip. Either way, there are a lot of ways to enjoy coffee in the great outdoors while relaxing in front of a crackling fire.
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