What is better on a camping trip than a cup of great coffee?
There are many different ways to make that morning cup of great coffee that keeps you going throughout your day. Whether it’s hiking, biking, kayaking, or just relaxing at your campsite, it’s always nice to be able to find easy ways to make that cup in the morning or anytime during the day.
Types of coffee grounds
There are many types of coffee to choose from nowadays. The kind of coffee is decided upon by what brewing method you will do. Perfect grounds equals excellent coffee.
If the wrong type of coffee is used with the wrong brewing method, you could have a bad, weak, or very strong cup of coffee. For example, the size and consistency of the coffee grounds can change the extraction process and result in a lousy cup.
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Coarse grind – This type of grind has larger particles and a rough texture. It looks like sea salt. A coarse grind is usually used for brewing methods that have a longer extraction time. This would be good for French press or cold brews. When you have a larger surface area, you will get a slower extraction time, giving you a more robust cup.
Medium grind – A medium grind coffee will have a consistency closer to sand or table salt. Most of the brewing methods for this type of grind would be pour-over, automatic drip brewing, or some espresso machines. This is the most common grind on the market.
Fine grind – This type of grounds is more of a finer texture, kind of like granulated sugar or flour. When using this type of ground, you want to have the smaller particles because it will allow for a faster extraction. Find grind is usually used for espresso machines and Moka pots.
Extra-Fine grind – These grounds are extremely fine and almost powdery. It is much finer than a table salt would be. Extra-fine grounds are mainly used to prepare Turkish coffee. The grounds and the boiling water are mixed together until they are thoroughly blended. The grounds are so fine they dissolve in the boiling water, and it is ready to drink in a few minutes.
Coffee brewing methods
The brewing method to make a great cup of coffee is really up to the type of coffee that you like. All of these methods can be done just as easily while camping as when you are at home.
Drip brewing – The most common method of making coffee in the morning. It is the way most homes and coffee shops prepare coffee. Pour the hot water over the grounds that are in a paper or metal filter. Drip coffee brewing is usually made in an automatic drip maker.
French press – Also known as a press pot or plunger pot. The French press method is done by putting the coarse ground coffee in hot water for several minutes. After it has steeped for a couple of minutes, a plunger with a mesh on it presses down the grounds and the water. Leaving the grounds behind, you have a great cup.
Pour-over – This is a one-cup-at-a-time method. It is very popular with people camping because it doesn’t use much equipment. Just fill a coffee filter and place it on top of a cup. Pour the hot water over the grounds, and you get a perfect cup every time. The filter can be metal, silicone, or glass.
Moka pot – This is a stovetop brewing method usually associated with Italy. The Moka Pot has a bottom chamber for water, a middle basket for the coffee grounds, and an upper chamber for the brewed coffee. As it heats up, it pushes the water through the coffee and into the upper chamber.
Cold brew – If you prefer cold coffee, then cold brew is the one for you. Mix the cold water and coffee grounds together to make a cold brew. Let it sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Then the liquid is separated from the cold water. This creates a much smoother and less acidic coffee that is served over ice.
Espresso – Coffee made in an espresso machine is a very concentrated form of coffee. It forces hot water under high pressure through finely ground coffee. This is usually served as a small intense shot of coffee.
Keurig – The Keurig machine is a very convenient coffee maker. It uses either disposable or reusable pods that you drop into the machine. It is a one-cup-at-a-time machine. This is a fun machine because everyone can pick what type of coffee they would like and drop the pod in.
Nespresso – Another pod coffee maker, this one is an alternative to the Keurig machine. The Nepresso machine makes espresso and Americanos. They are becoming very popular with coffee aficionados.
Types of coffee
There are many types of coffee to make yourself or order at a coffee shop.
Each one has there own method of preparation and unique characteristics.
Espresso – This is the most concentrated type of coffee to drink. It is served in a shot. Espresso is the base for various coffee drinks.
Cappuccino – The cappuccino is an espresso-based drink with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Some people sprinkle cocoa or cinnamon on top.
Latte – Again, this is an espresso-based drink that uses a lot more steamed milk and a smaller amount of milk foam. It is usually flavored with vanilla or caramel.
Americano – The americano is a diluted espresso-based drink that is made by adding hot water to espresso. This one is very similar to drip coffee. Homegrounds.co has an easy recipe for you.
Macchiato – This is an espresso drink with a small amount of milk added. Flavors can be added to make it a caramel macchiato. Here’s beanbox.com to show you how to make it.
Mocha – The mocha is a wonderful blend of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate, as shown here from caffesociety.com. It is usually topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s an excellent way to combine chocolate and coffee.
Coffee making supplies
Being out on the road, whether full-time or part-time, we are always looking for ways to make life easier. Less stuff to carry around leaves more living space.
Here are some of the best convenient supplies that we have found to make coffee making an easier task.
Coffee filters – We really like the unbleached disposable filters. They are strong enough to be used for at least four different cups and aren’t chemically bleached.
Sweetener – Because we like to stay away from table sugar, we love having the convenient sugar substitute packets on hand. We find it’s easier than toting around a container of sweetener.
Creamer – There are a lot of creamers on the market. We don’t happen to use dairy for our coffee. We like to use oat or soy creamers. I have found an aseptically packaged creamer to make it easy to store in your RV or camper van. It’s called Sown, and it comes in unsweetened or in a few different flavors. We like the unsweetened.
Kettle – These can be a kettle that goes on the fire or an electric kettle. I have found that the electric kettle heats the water up much faster than the stovetop style. I have tried many different kinds of electric ones, but the compact collapsible style has been the one that works the best in a small van. It collapses and gets stored in a convenient pouch that can be stashed pretty much anywhere. The collapsible type comes in stovetop and electric.
Easy camping methods
When you are out camping, you won’t have access to a lot of fancy coffee machines.
Here are a couple of ways to make a great cup without the need for all the sophisticated machines.
Cowboy coffee – To make this very easy brewing standard, you boil some water on a camping stove or over an open fire. Add some coarse grounds right into the boiling water. Use about 2 Tbsp per 8oz of water. Let it simmer for a few minutes, and then let it sit for a few more minutes. Add about a cup of cold water to help the grounds settle to the bottom and let it sit. Slowly pour the coffee into the cups making sure not to disturb the settled grounds at the bottom.
Pour-over cone – Place a pour-over cone (silicone or metal) on your cup. Put in a paper or reusable filter and add medium grounds. Pour hot water over the grounds allowing the water to pass through the filter until the cup is full.
French press – Add coarse grounds to the French press, about 1 Tbsp per 8oz of water. Stir the water-ground mixture for a minute. Let it steep for about 4 minutes, then slowly press the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee.
Instant coffee – Some people might frown on instant, but they are making tremendous strides with those little strips. The easiest way to make a cup in the morning is to boil water and pour it into a cup with a little instant coffee. Paul has tried many of the brands out there and thinks that the organic fair trade Mount Hagen Single Serve Sticks is best. They come in regular and decaf.
The essential coffee grinder
Grinders are essential to a great cup of freshly brewed coffee. Many different types of grinders break down the beans into the consistency you want to make a specific type of coffee.
Fortunately, they come in different sizes and styles according to what kind of grind you are looking for and the amount of space you have on a camping trip.
When choosing a grinder, you should consider grind consistency, grin size, adjustment options, durability, ease of cleaning, and how much they cost.
If you are a coffee enthusiast, investing in a high-quality grinder can make a difference in the quality of your cup of coffee.
Here are the different types that are on the market.
Blade grinder – These types of grinders use sharp blades to chop the beans into grounds. They are usually more affordable and easy to use. The grind might not be consistent due to the blades creating uneven ground size. The Wirsh grinder is compact and not expensive. These are great for drip and French press machines but not for espresso.
Burr grinder – This one has two revolving burrs to crush the beans. The gap between the burrs can be adjusted to get your desired grind size. These Burr grinders allow you to adjust the settings to provide you with the preferred brewing method.
Manual grinder – A manual grinder is a hand-cranking grinder. They are compact and portable, which is excellent for living in an RV, camper, or van. These are great because you don’t need electricity to operate them. The manual grinder might require more effort, but the consistency they produce can outweigh the work.
Preference in coffee
When Paul and I are out in our camper van or any other type of nomadic vehicle we happen to be in; we always try to find the easiest way to make a good cup of coffee.
We used the pour-over method for years and also dabbled in the French press for a while. Occasionally, we would try some instant coffee, both caffeinated and decaf. He has now realized that pour-over is a very easy way, but Paul has now embraced the convenience of the instant strips. Having the instant strips is nice because Paul drinks caffeine, and I don’t.
Nibbler Tip: Make the kind of coffee that tastes the best to you and is the easiest to make. You want to be out exploring more, not spending much time making a good cup of coffee.
Remember, coffee is an ever-changing thing. New machines and supplies and more varieties of flavors are coming out all the time.
Just make sure you bring all the necessary items to make your coffee or tea.
Enjoy a nice cup outside in nature. That’s what camping is all about.
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