How to Make Camping Coffee

If like me, you’d rather boil up some ‘wild raisins’ from next to the tent than suffer a brown liquid that purports to be ‘coffee’ from some sort of stick, then this might be an option. Rather than taking up any extra paraphenalia, all you need to make some almost proper Camping Coffee is a pot and, rather obviously, some ground coffee. I tend to buy the Lavazza Qualita Rosa as a day to day coffee and admit to being too lazy to get the beans. It’s enough for me to drag myself out of my pit in the morning without having to do too much thinking.

This is not the same as cowboy coffee as I understand it, which entails boiling the coffee and the grounds and produces a rather bitter coffee. This method doesn’t boil the grounds and produces something more like you’d get from a cafetiere, though with a few grounds thrown in! I’ve seen this called Camp Coffee and Cowboy Coffee; but I’ve called it Camping Coffee to distinguish it from those methods that require boiling, and that strange coffee substitute that was popular in the 70s (and still is apparently) and from the bitter boiling methods. Having said that, the preferred method of coffee preparation in some countries is by boiling, so in the end it just boils down to personal taste which method you favour.

1 – Boil the water – yep – obvious!

2 – Let it cool slightly, hopefully under the 96°C that you need to be to avoid releasing the bitter oils and at the 93°C that’s apparently optimal for brewing coffee (thanks Wikipedia!). I’d give it a minute or so, and then just stir in the grounds.

3 – Wait. This gives the grounds the time to settle. If you find them floating, give them another stir and they should settle in a few minutes as they cool.

4 – Pour carefully, leaving the grounds at the bottom. However, they do consolidate well and you don’t have much waste with practice. You can see below that there’s barely a teaspoon’s worth of coffee wasted!

5 – Drink – only just not to the bottom of your mug as you’ll find there’s a fair bit of ‘mud’ that find’s it’s way there. Ideally you’ll have some fresh milk to hand, or the next best thing which is drinking it black. Add sugar if you really must.

For some more camping coffee ideas, see this post from last year – Real Coffee Makers or our review of the GSI Mini Espresso Maker.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make Camping Coffee”

  1. Another lightweight and cheap suggestion I’d make is the smart cafe mugs – plastic, insulated mug with a cafetiere-like plunger that you insert after mixing hot water and ground coffee – it keeps all the grounds below the plunger while you add milk and enjoy! Think I got mine for £5 each when you bought three (good presents for other coffee-addicts!). Also very good at filtering out lumps if you’re forced to use instant powdered milk.

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