Every year, when the weather starts to get warm and the sun starts hanging around later into the evening, I get the urge to go deep into the woods and sleep in a tent. But before I head out to the great outdoors, I have to make sure that I’ll be able to get my daily fix of caffeine.
Just for the record when I talk about camping, it isn’t parking a giant RV in the middle of a campground. Besides, if that’s your definition of camping, you can probably just plug in your coffee maker and hopefully you don’t need any help with that.
There’s many ways to make coffee outdoors, but using a French Press has the best tasting results. All you need is hot water, ground coffee and a French Press. Of course there is a drawback that you’ll need a space for that French Press in your bags or backpack, but they do make ones that are lighter, shatter resistant and designed for rugged outdoor use.
Using a French Press outdoors, is just like using one at home. The exact instructions vary depending on the size of the Press but the basics are the same. First, ground coffee is added to the bottom, then hot water is poured and stirred. The water saturates with the grounds for a few minutes before the plunger is pushed down to separate out the grounds.
If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of days, think about bringing a long a manual coffee grinder and whole beans, so that you can get fresh coffee the entire time you’re away from civilization.
This is how my parents would make coffee when were driving across the country or vacationing in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. We cheated and used a propane stove but you can do it over a fire too.
With a percolator, you’ll need to use 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of coarse grounds per six ounces of water. Make sure not to overfill it where the water would be in the upper chamber with the grounds before the water even starts to heat up. Then you let it perk until reaches the dark brown color. You can let it go longer or shorter, depending on how you like your coffee.
There is a risk that the grounds will make it into your cup, so give them time to settle to the bottom of you percolator.
Time-Honored Campfire Coffee Methods
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional or basic, there’s many methods to choose from. There’s two ways that I’ve tried and can say worked to at least some degree.
Boil two quarts of water then take it off the fire and add two handfuls of grounds. It’s not an exact science so use more or less depending on how strong you like your coffee. Let it steep for four minutes, then add a small amount of cold water to settle the grounds to the bottom. Carefully pour your coffee into your cup, trying to keep as much of the grounds as possible out of it.
Add six teaspoons of grounds into a pot with three pints of cold water on top. Put the pot on the fire and heat it until it starts to boil. Then take it off the fire and let it steep for a few minutes. Add a small amount of cold water, then enjoy your coffee. This method makes about six cups.
Am I missing anything? Do you have any suggestions?