We’ve been in search of the perfect camping coffee since, well, since forever, and while we get closer we never quite get there. We got excited about the camping espresso maker by GSI, but were woefully disappointed at the meagre serving it produced. A full stove top can be taken when you’re not overly concerned about weight, not weighing an awful lot more than the GSI, but is still extra kit. Camping coffee, is the least bother but also the least appealing.
Finally, there’s an alternative. Proper camping coffee that’s designed for the camper or expedition. The Grower’s Cup coffee comes in various varieties including Bolivian, Honduras and Guatemalan. We tested the robust Ethiopian and milder Nicaraguan varieties. An added bonus is that it’s organic and fair trade too!
Making the coffee is simplicity itself. You just follow the instructions on the packet by opening the top and the spout before adding 500ml of hot water to produce a generous amount of coffee for two people or a decent mugful for a sleep weary wild camper. It’s basically a pouch to which you add water, allow to brew, before pouring out the black gold. The coffee grounds are supported on a filter inside the pouch, with the pouch then collecting the brew.
That’s the theory anyway, the real test would come with preparing on the mountain and what they taste like. On awakening, it was blowing a bit of a hooley and as these pouches weigh next to nothing, I realised that I might have a bit of a battle on my hands. Preparing the pouch ready for the hot water was easy enough, whilst my boots stood in as an impromptu coffee stand preventing the pouch from blowing away and then keeping it upright. On opening the pouch, you get that fresh coffee pack smell – making them worth it for that alone. I let this brew while I cooked breakfast and while I did lose a bit of coffee from the low spout, once I’d realised the mechanics of the thing there was no problem.
The taste? I had the Nicaraguan, black as we weren’t able to pick up milk at the end of the day (we didn’t leave the mountain!) and what a way to start the day! Proper coffee, served black with the sun rising behind Tryfan, it doesn’t get any better. While there are camping filters available, the sheer simplicity of the Grower’s Cup, along with the convenience wins me over. You do, however have the now-heavier pouch to carry out with you, but that’s got to beat trying to carry your grounds out in a polybag (as dumping them under a rock isn’t really a suitable option).
There is, believe it or not, a downside. £2.50 for a couple of cups of coffee on the mountain can seem rather steep, and for that reason it’s probably somewhat of a luxury item. I’ve already ordered four for my upcoming Knoydart trip as they’ll be less bother than loose coffee to both brew and clean up afterwards. It’ll cost me £10 for four, but I’m convinced that I’ll spend more than that on the trip up on a smaller volume of inferior coffee. (At the time of writing, Pro Adventure are selling a load at half price with short dates).
Now all they need to do is release the equivalent with milk and I’m a happy man.