Heading out for a camping trip doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your morning cup of freshly brewed coffee. But it can be tough to get it right when you’re in the middle of the woods or at a campground.
Whether you’re going primitive camping or going on an extended hike, with a few simple techniques and some basic equipment, you can easily brew a fresh cup, and I’m here to teach you everything you need to know about how to make coffee while camping.
In this article, we’ll take a look at four easy ways to make delicious coffee while camping, ensuring you can get your caffeine fix without giving up on taste or quality. Whether you’re a fan of a simple pour-over, or you need something a little stronger, you’ll find the perfect way to make the best campsite coffee as you read on.
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So let’s dive in and discover how to make coffee while camping so your mornings out in nature are even more invigorating.
General Rules for Making Coffee While Camping
When learning how to make coffee while camping, it’s best to start with some general rules of thumb. The two most important things include heating water quickly and easily (with something like a Jetboil) and having the right great-tasting coffee on hand, which we’ll get into more detail about soon.
Speaking of having the right coffee on hand, I strongly suggest grinding your own coffee beans. Grinding fresh coffee before heading out on your camping trip or even at your campsite just before you start brewing always produces the freshest, boldest flavors.
Quick and Easy Ways to Boil Water While Camping
The first step in making great camping coffee is having hot water ready when you need it. A reliable and efficient way to heat water while camping is by using some sort of flash boiling system like a Jetboil. The Jetboil Flash — which I personally use! — can boil 2 cups (16 ounces) of water in just 100 seconds, ensuring that your morning coffee routine doesn’t take up too much precious time during your camping trip.
While using a Jetboil makes this process super easy, you can always also just heat up the water in a pot or kettle over the campfire. That’s certainly possible, don’t get me wrong, but it takes forever. Especially if you’re trying to heat up enough water to make coffee for more than just yourself, you’ll be sitting there all morning just waiting for the water to get hot enough.
Andrew’s Tip: Try to shoot for a water temperature of 195°F to 205°F, which is actually just before it boils at 212°F. This is the optimal temperature for brewing coffee according to the National Coffee Association. If your water is too cold, the coffee will be flat (unless you’re making a cold brew!); too hot and you risk it tasting a little burnt.
Grinding Coffee Beans for Optimal Flavor and Freshness
We’ve got the water part covered, so now all that’s left is the coffee. As we go over the four methods of brewing coffee later on, I’ll touch on the type of coffee that works best. But no matter what, I’ll go to the grave suggesting you grind your own coffee beans for camping coffee.
Here’s why as well as a couple of quick tips:
- Freshly ground: Grinding your own beans right before brewing ensures maximum flavor extraction from the coffee grounds. Pre-ground coffee loses its aroma and taste quickly due to exposure to air, so bringing whole-bean coffee with you on your camping trip will result in better-tasting cups of joe.
- Coffee grinder options: If you prefer freshly ground beans but don’t want the hassle of carrying around a heavy electric grinder, consider investing in a lightweight manual coffee grinder. This allows you to grind fresh beans without taking up too much space or adding unnecessary weight to your gear.
- Grind size: The grind size of your coffee beans will affect the taste and strength of your brew. For example, coarse-ground coffee is best for French press brewing, while finely ground coffee works well with espresso machines or AeroPress methods. Experiment with different grind sizes to find the perfect balance for your preferred camping coffee method.
Alright, alright. While freshly ground coffee is way better, sometimes it’s just much easier to bring a can of grounds with you. I won’t judge you.
In any case, enough about the general rules of heating up water and grinding coffee, let’s get into the good stuff. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make coffee while camping.
The pour-over method is a popular and simple way to make coffee while camping. As the name suggests, the pour-over technique involves pouring hot water over ground coffee in a filter cone placed above your coffee cup or mug, allowing the brewed coffee to drip directly into your container.
The pour-over process produces clean cups of joe without weighing down your pack too much, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.
How the Pour-Over Process Works
- Heat water: Start by heating up water using an efficient device like the Jetboil (or over the campfire). As mentioned above, aim for a temperature between 195°F and 205°F for optimal extraction.
- Grind coffee beans: Grind fresh coffee beans with a portable grinder or use pre-ground coffee if you prefer convenience. A medium-fine grind works best for this method.
- Rinse filter: Place a paper or reusable metal filter inside the pour-over cone and rinse it with hot water to remove any residue and warm up your brewing equipment.
- Add grounds & bloom: Add enough ground coffee to match your desired strength (usually around two tablespoons per six ounces of water). Gently pour just enough hot water over the grounds to saturate them evenly, then wait about thirty seconds for them to “bloom” as they begin to release gases from roasting.
- Pour remaining hot water slowly: Gently pour more hot water across the grinds until reaching your desired level in your cup or mug. Try to keep a consistent flow throughout the entire duration – don’t rush.
The pour-over approach is an effortless and effective way to make coffee while camping, but for a bigger party of campers, the French press technique may be more advantageous.
French Press Method
The French press method requires immersion brewing where coarse coffee grounds are soaked in hot water before being separated through a plunger & filter system. A popular option for this classic technique is Jetboil’s Flash Java Kit, which combines the Jetboil Flash we talked about above with a French press attachment that works seamlessly together to make fresh coffee.
Immersion Brewing Process Explained
To brew coffee while camping using the French press method, follow these simple steps:
- Heat or boil water to about 200°F (93°C) using your JetBoil or another camp stove.
- Add coarsely ground coffee to the French press – aim for a ratio of approximately 1:12 to 1:15, meaning one part coffee to twelve or fifteen parts water. Coarse grinds are essential for the best French press coffee.
- Pour hot water over the grounds, insert the plunger into the top of the container, and let them steep for around four minutes. You can adjust this time depending on how strong you prefer your coffee.
- Gently push down the plunger, separating the liquid from the grounds by pressing them against the bottom of the container.
- Pour yourself a cup and enjoy.
This process of brewing French press camp coffee allows all the flavors from your favorite beans to be extracted evenly while preventing any bitterness often associated with over-extraction techniques.
Instant Coffee Options
Gone are the days when instant coffee was seen as having a substandard taste and lack of quality. Nowadays, instant coffee options have significantly improved in terms of flavor and convenience, making them an ideal choice for campers looking to minimize weight during their trips while still satisfying their caffeine cravings.
Advantages of Modern Instant Coffee Choices
- Lightweight: Instant coffee packets weigh next to nothing, which is perfect for those who need to keep their camping gear or backpack as light as possible.
- User-friendly: Simply add boiling water to your instant coffee, stir, and enjoy; no additional equipment or cleanup is required.
- Variety: There’s a wide range of flavors available from different brands so you can find one that suits your taste buds best.
- Affordable: In general, instant coffees tend to be more budget-friendly compared to other brewing methods such as pour-over or French press.
Tips on Selecting High-Quality Instant Coffees
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your camping coffee experience with instant coffee options, follow these tips when selecting a brand or product:
- Avoid generic brands: If possible, choose well-known specialty brands like Swift Cup Coffee, Waka Coffee, or Alpine Start. These companies focus on delivering high-quality instant coffee that rivals traditional brewing methods.
- Look for single-origin options: Single-origin instant coffees are made from beans sourced from a specific region, offering unique flavor profiles and characteristics. This is an excellent way to explore different tastes while you’re camping.
- Consider eco-friendly packaging: Some brands offer compostable or recyclable packaging materials, which can help reduce waste during your camping trips.
Instant coffee options offer a convenient way to enjoy a hot cup of joe while camping. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger, the next section on espresso-style coffee is perfect for you.
Espresso Pot and AeroPress Method
For those who prefer a stronger, espresso-style coffee, options like the Moka Pot or AeroPress deliver incredibly rich smooth & coffees due to their pressure extraction processes. These methods allow you to have more control over variables than other traditional approaches might provide.
Differences between Moka Pot and AeroPress Camping Coffee
The main difference between these two brewing methods lies in how they extract flavor from coffee grounds. The Moka pot uses steam pressure to force hot water through finely-ground coffee beans, producing a strong espresso-like beverage with a thick crema on top.
On the other hand, the AeroPress coffee maker utilizes air pressure created by manually plunging hot water through coarser grounds held within its chamber — resulting in an equally robust yet smoother cup of coffee without any bitterness.
Tips on achieving optimal results with these methods
To get the most out of your Moka pot or AeroPress experience while camping, follow these tips:
- Precise measurements: Use a digital scale to measure both your coffee grounds and water accurately for consistent results every time.
- Grind size: Adjust your grind size according to the brewing method – fine for Moka pot and medium-coarse for AeroPress. Pre-grinding your beans before leaving home can save time and effort at the campsite, but if you prefer grinding on-site, invest in a portable manual coffee grinder.
- Water temperature: Aim for water heated between 195°F (91°C) and 205°F (96°C) to ensure optimal extraction without scalding or under-extracting the grounds. A Jetboil makes this easy by providing precise temperature control outdoors.
Incorporating these tips into your routine will help you achieve barista-quality espresso-style coffee even when you’re in the middle of nature.
Brewing up some amazing camping coffee can be an excellent way to kick off the day, as long as you’re able to get it right. With the right gear and coffee brewing methods, you can make sure your camping coffee is top-notch. Whether it’s pour-over, French press, instant coffee, or espresso-style, with these tips you’ll have no trouble making delicious cups of coffee on your next outdoor adventure.
There you have it coffee lovers and coffee connoisseurs, here’s everything you need to know about how to make coffee while camping. So pack your bags, grab your Jetboil, and enjoy a fresh cup of joe.