No day begins without coffee, even if you're in the great outdoors.
The options are endless for brewing in the wild, but these are my tried-and-true methods for camp coffee. There is no one, correct way. I tend to use a variety of methods based on how much time I will have in the morning and how light I want to travel. Here is a comprehensive list to help you make the best decision for your adventure.
- Serving size: Based on a typical 8 ounce serving. If you need more, plan accordingly.
- Price: Total cost for four servings and the device needed (think two people for two mornings)
- Weight: Total weight of the device and four servings of coffee
- Waste: What will you have to carry out
- Time: How long does it take to brew once the water is boiled
- Taste: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being terrible, 10 being delicious
Jet Boil Coffee Press
- Brand: Jet Boil
- Serving: 8 oz per person
- Price: $9.95 for coffee press + cost of 4 tbs of coffee
- Weight: 2.8 oz (79 g) for the press and coffee (not including full Jet Boil system)
- Waste: wet coffee grounds
- Time: 3 minutes
- Taste: 8-10 depending on coffee and brewing method
- Brewing tips: use a coarse grind
- Pros: reusable, brews multiple servings at once, made to disassemble for storage inside your
- Cons: Lack of a tight seal leads to grounds in your coffee and difficult clean up, must already have a Jet Boil or be wanting to invest in the whole system
If you aren't a black coffee drinker, there are also many easily transportable ways to tone down your backcountry brew. You can bring powdered milk, powdered coconut milk, sugar, and other flavorings in a separate bag and add it in as desired.
A word on Leave No Trace ethics. I posed the question about whether or not it was good practice to disperse your coffee grounds to the folks at Leave No Trace (as we know, coffee is a great fertilizer after all) and here is their response: "We advise for grounds to be packed out. Even though they are biodegradable—much like apple cores, orange peels, etc.—they carry a strong smell that will attract wildlife to dig them up and become accustomed to checking backpackers sites for food scraps."
This article was written by Ariana Herrick-Kunitz for Outdoor Project.