Filmmaker David Lynch said it best when he muttered, “But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.” But for people like T.S. Eliot, who measure their life with coffee spoons, it’d be a delight to have a nice cup of hot coffee every time.
Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for a bad cup of coffee when you’re not in the comforts of your own home, in the office pantry, or in Starbucks. You can brew coffee outdoors and get that kick you need to start your day or any time of the day for that matter.
There’s a way to enjoy your favorite coffee even if you’re in the snowy mountains, in the wilderness, or in the middle of nowhere. You just need the necessary gear that’ll allow you to brew coffee outdoors.
What You Need to Brew Coffee Outdoors
Despite the magic that each cup of coffee brings, they don’t magically appear when you need one most. You can’t simply walk into a coffee shop and get your caffeine fix when you’re in the great outdoors. Though, with how aggressively these coffee shop chains are expanding, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see a Starbucks branch in the mountains or in the jungle someday. Okay, maybe not but who knows?
To brew coffee outdoors, you need the right gear. Here are some of the must-haves if you really must have your cup of Joe in the outdoors.
You need hot water to make coffee. To do that, you need fire. Always pack a number of fire starters whenever you go on an outdoor adventure.
Makes sure you have waterproof matches, waterproof lighters, and at least one set of magnesium and Ferro rod fire starter. Pack some tinder, as well. A pencil sharpener will come in handy when you run out of tinder. You can sharpen twigs and use the shavings to start your fire.
A portable camping stove is a must-have for many outdoor enthusiasts. They prefer a gas or propane stove so they don’t have to worry about building a fire.
For those who are fine with starting a fire, they can make do with something like the Firebox backpacking stove pictured above.
Actually, you really don’t need a stove to boil water. You can heat up your pot or kettle on an open fire. It is easier and faster with a portable gas stove, though. Still, coffee lovers will agree that as long as they can heat up water and brew coffee outdoors, it doesn’t really matter what kind of stove they have.
Pot or Kettle
Once you’ve got your fire going, you need something to boil water in. If you have an outdoor French press, you can put it on the open fire. You can also use a pot or a kettle.
You should pack lots of water whether you’re a coffee lover or not. Of course the cleaner the water is, the better the coffee. In case you run out of clean water, a portable water filter or water purification tablets would come in handy.
The most important ingredient in making the perfect cup of coffee is, of course, coffee. Bring the best kind you can get your hands on. If you pack instant coffee, then you’re having low-quality coffee. Ground coffee means you’ll enjoy a good cup whenever you need one.
Different Ways to Brew Coffee Outdoors
If you’re one for fancy stuff, a French press is perfect for you. Use it at home or brew coffee outdoors. As long as you use quality ground coffee, you’ll always have a good cup of full-bodied coffee every time.
Choose a French press that can be placed directly on an open flame. To use one, you just need to fill it with water and place it over the fire. Once the water boils, take it out of the fire and scoop in the amount of coffee grounds you need. Let it sit for half a minute or so. Stir and then place the lid on the French press. Don’t press down yet. Slowly press the plunger down after 3 to 4 minutes.
If you’re using a traditional one, you need to boil the water in a pot or kettle first before using the French press like you normally would.
Pour-over coffee is another brilliant way to brew coffee outdoors. In fact, pour-overs have become very popular among outdoor lovers thanks to a couple of Eagle scouts who’ve had it with carrying bulky equipment just to brew coffee outdoors.
The foldable pour-over pouch can carry enough coffee grounds and hot water to make one serving of wonderful coffee. It’s lightweight and takes up little space you can brew coffee outdoors, in the office, or any place and any time the need for coffee strikes you. As long as you have your stash of 100% ground coffee, hot water, and a container then you’re good to go.
You can also use filters to make coffee bags and brew coffee outdoors. Simply place some grounds in the middle of your coffee filter and tie the edges with a string. The amount of grounds depends on how much coffee you’re making.
Let the water boil then place the coffee bag in the pot. Let the coffee steep for a while before enjoying your hot cup of heaven.
As nasty as it sounds, dirtbag coffee is one of the ways you can brew coffee outdoors. You’ll need a piece of sock, coffee grounds
If you’re too grossed out at the prospect of sock-infused coffee, you can opt for the much cleaner hanky coffee. Of course, you’d want to use a clean handkerchief as your coffee filter. In case you don’t have one and dying to have coffee, you can use a clean shirt instead.
After using your sock, hanky, or shirt to brew coffee outdoors, make sure to wash them up so you can use them later.
Those who like to rough it, prefer to brew their coffee outdoors the cowboy way. To make cowboy coffee, all you need is your fire or stove, a pot, and your coffee grounds.
Simply heat up the water and put some of your coffee grounds in the pot. Let it “cook” a bit before pouring it into your mug. If you have a coffee filter, use it to separate the grounds. But since you’re doing your best impersonation of Billy the Kid, might as well drink your coffee, grounds, and all.
A shot of espresso would be nice after a day of hiking or spending the night camping in the wild. This is possible with the help of the Handpresso. This handheld tool uses pressure to extract concentrated coffee.
You just need to place the grounds inside the coffee pod, add water, and pump away. The amount of pressure dictates how much better your brew will be so be prepared to put some muscle into it.
If the Handpresso looks like a chubby ice scream scoop, the AeroPress is like a syringe for giants. Some may have an issue with how clunky the Aeropress is, which is something that’s not really welcome when you’re spending some time in the great outdoors.
However, if you want espresso-style coffee in just one minute, the BPA-free AeroPress is worth every inch of space it occupies. Watch the video below to learn three different ways to brew coffee outdoors (or indoors) using the AeroPress.
With how much people value coffee, there are bound to be more ways to brew coffee outdoors. If you happen to know one or have developed your own technique, coffee lovers and outdoor enthusiasts all around the globe will surely be curious to know what that is. Please share what you know in the comment section.
Check out the Gentleman Pirate Club regularly in case someone does share their take on how to brew coffee outdoors. Otherwise, there are tons of camping hacks and survival tips you can use when you go on an outdoor adventure.
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