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
- Brand: Mount Hagen (one of my favorites)
- Serving: 1 packet = 8 oz coffee
- Price: $0.86
- Weight: 0.2 oz (6 g)
- Waste: Minimal, only packaging, no wet waste to carry out
- Time: <30 seconds
- Taste: 5
- Brewing tips: pour, stir, enjoy
- Pros: Quick and easy, minimal waste
- Cons: Not quite the same flavor as freshly brewed coffee
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.