I’ve been a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember. I hated milk when I was a kid and to get me to drink it my mom would sometimes flavor it with a dollop of her coffee. I started drinking coffee more regularly in high school and what began as a way to get through 5 a.m. swim practices (and the long days of school that followed) slowly turned into a daily habit. And then an obsession.
Truth be told, I’m kind of a coffee snob. I love coffee but I only love good coffee. My morning cup is partly about the caffeine (which I admittedly need) but also about the enjoyment I get out of drinking it.
This presents a bit of a problem when camping or traveling.
Visiting coffee shops is one of my favorite things to do when I travel and I have a long list of favorites in Colorado and elsewhere. But sometimes going to a coffee shop isn’t an option – like when you’re staying in a crappy motel in a tiny Mormon town and the only coffee shop doesn’t open until 10 a.m. Or when you’re camping pretty much anywhere.
For a long time we didn’t have a great solution to this problem. Sometimes we’d take a french press on our camping trips. That worked well as far as making coffee goes, but without running water the cleanup was difficult and messy. We tried sucking it up and using the little cans of Starbucks drinks to at least get in the requisite caffeine but that was expensive and not at all enjoyable. We dabbled in instant coffee but, yeah, that wasn’t going to cut it.
And then we discovered the Aeropress.
It’s not an overstatement to say that the Aeropress changed our camping coffee lives. Long gone are the days of trying to wash out the French press or force sub-par, sugary Starbucks drinks down our gullets. These days we enjoy really good coffee right at our campsite, in our hotel room, or pretty much anywhere else.
Why is the Aeropress so great for camping? Let me tell you!
First of all, it makes really good coffee. The coffee that comes out of it is smooth, flavorful, and completely customizeable. It’s also lightweight, simple to use, and easy to clean. Like, stupid easy. Combined with a device that quickly boils water (a la Jetboil), you can brew and clean up a killer cup of coffee in just a couple minutes. If you like coffee and you like camping, this thing should be in your kit.
Our Aeropress now goes everywhere with us. It’s been on countless camping trips and brewed us perfect cups of joe for early mornings at Kalalau. I’ve used it at home, in hotels, and even in the sheepwagon. I took it on a hut trip last winter and spent my morning playing barista for the fifteen women that were with me. Want to be popular among your outdoor friends? Have a great way to make really good coffee on a snowy mountain morning.
If you’re wondering just how easy this thing is, allow me to enlighten you!
Here’s what you need:
- Aeropress filters
- Hot water
- Finely ground coffee (ground for espresso – this is important!)
And that’s it!
Here’s what you do:
1. Heat your water. If you have a Jetboil, this will happen really quickly. We usually just heat the water until it boils but there is probably an exact temperature it’s supposed to be at (we’re not THAT picky!).
2. While your water is boiling, put a filter (it helps to get it a little damp first) in the bottom of the Aeropress and then scoop in your coffee grounds. It takes some trial and error to figure out the ratio of coffee to water that is best for you. I usually do two big, heaping scoops for a full Aeropress. Place the Aeropress on top of your mug.
3. Gently and carefully pour the hot water into the Aeropress. Let it sit for a few seconds. Maybe stir the grounds around for a bit. Place the plunger part on top of the main tube.
4. This is where the magic happens! Slowly and smoothly press down on the plunger and watch as you turn into a human espresso machine. This may take some elbow grease but we promise it will be worth it.
I’m pretty sure that making this stuff takes less time than you just spent reading this article. And did I mention that the coffee is so good?
To clean up after each cup of coffee you simply unscrew the cap from the bottom of the Aeropress and push the plunger in the rest of the way, popping out a neat little puck of coffee grounds. And you’re done. This could seriously not be any easier.
Getting the ratios of coffee to water right takes some trial and error and depends largely on personal preference. I usually make mine nice and strong because I figure I can always add more water if need be. When you’re done brewing you can customize your coffee in any way that you like. Add sugar or cream or booze (mmm … booze!) or whatever. I don’t add anything to mine because I like my coffee like I like my dogs – strong, smooth, and black.
The Aeropress is equally useful and even easier to use while traveling. Long gone are the days of horrible hotel coffee. Heat up a cup of water in the microwave and you’re good to go!
How do you make your coffee when you camp? Have you tried the Aeropress? WILL you try the Aeropress?! If you do, you have to come back and tell me how it went.
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