When you’re camping, wild or in a campsite; you can’t beat real coffee in the morning. Nothing surprises wild camping companions than the smell of a real cup of coffee wafting from your tent. You can choose to share, but it depends how generous they were with the single malt last night.
Lets get this out of the way first. You can get instant sachets, and they’re excellent for convenience if not taste. I’ve used these in the past, with the sweeter ones such as the Mocha having a bit more flavour. These aren’t real coffee and we’ll hear no more about them on here.
If you don’t take the all in one coffees then milk is a problem, and I absolutely loathe coffee whitener or those pots of white emulsion paint that are handed out in second rate cafes (you know who you are!) We tried a few powdered milk powders which make a passable milk once made up with water. They tend to be skimmed milk, which is pretty disgusting stuff if you’re used to skim milk or above, but Nido Powdered milk is full fat and makes a very creamy milk. Why stop there? On shorter overnight trips, Alpro do 150ml cartons of long life dairy-free cream which can be used for a really creamy coffee as well as for making your evening meal a little richer. They last for months unopened, but really need to be used overnight once opened.
Of course, if you’re using decent coffee there’s a school of thought that suggests you drink it black anyway! It’s down that road that I’ve decided lies the best camping coffee.
What coffee? That’s not a question we’ll answer here! Not yet. However, you’ll have an easier life if you ensure that any coffee you take with you camping is of suitable grind to the coffee making method used. You’ll make an awful espresso with a coarse grind, and have a hard time with fine grind in a cafetiere. We suggest you try them out at home first!
Of course, you could both roast your coffee while camping and then grind your own camping coffee. This is a great experience on a trip, but not one we’d recommend for every trip. I probably wouldn’t take a grinder either, preferring to freshly grind any coffee just before the trip. That’s fresh enough for me, though grinding it on the hill might be an essential for others!
There’s plenty of choice of coffee bags if you search your shop shelves, but the ones I’ve tried are simply not strong enough! I’ll admit that I’m probably not patient enough with them, but that I also like my coffee strong so this stuff is just too mild for me! If you find stronger ones, feel free to comment below! Unless you brew this under other’s noses, they probably won’t even notice! It does however get a thumbs up for convenience as it’s easy to carry in and doesn’t make a mess after cleaning.
In Cup Cafetiere
This is ideal if you’ve already got one of the cups that take one. If not, then it works out as an expensive option. Primus do a coffee press for their ETA Lite stove. Can be a messy option if you’re not careful, and you’ll also need something to pour the coffee into which makes it a bit of a faff.
There’s nothing simpler than making cowboy or camping/camp coffee. Just add hot, not boiling, water to the ground coffee and stir. You can give it a quick boil, though this may make the coffee more bitter but it does help the grounds sink to the bottom of the mug. We would recommend making this in a pot and decanting into a mug, which makes it much more pleasant to drink and avoids the mouthful of grounds experience.
Coffee Filter (Bodum Belgique):
This filter simply sits on top of a tin/titanium mug and is just a standard cup top filter with the handle cut off. You can fit enough coffee into the device to last a couple of days, so it takes up little extra space. The quality of coffee produced is good, but it does take a few minutes to filter through. Mine is so good that it was commandeered for work until I got an Aeropress. You can get this for around £10, including the glass mug!
There’s an even lighter filter available, GSI Java Drip, which weighs in at a not even there 14g and around ten quid on EBay, has to be a no brainer. The main concern would be that it’s fabric and could be difficult to clean, but the weight and price make it an ideal option.
You can also buy disposable filters that do a single coffee, but I find there’s not enough coffee in them for my liking as they’re literally designed to do one ‘cup’ as opposed to mug. Neither am I a fan of something being disposable when there’s a perfectly good alternative.
Finally, you can make your own Camping Filter Holder for next to nothing.
As we stated, we don’t really like disposable items at Mud and Routes. These are essentially a disposable one use coffee filter that for us hit the best balance between convenience and quality coffee.
You can take your normal, stove top espresso maker if you wanted, and it still wouldn’t be much more than 500g. Heavy, but worth it for a group! Alternatively, you can get hold of a camping version by Esbit (around £40) which weighs in at 300g, including a solid fuel stove. They do crank the envy factor up to 11, as they make all the right noises and that alone makes them a good option!
I tried out the GSI Espresso set, which we found didn’t make enough coffee at the time – GSI Espresso maker review. It’s really designed for espresso drinkers, and these days I’ll drink the espresso shot in the morning and be grateful for it.
Cheaper models are available these days, with a generic espresso maker for £7 available that costs £15 with delivery (though we’ve not tested this out!). Or a Bialetti espresso maker for just over £20.
The Aeropress is reasonably inexpensive at around £23 and also reasonably lightweight at 235g, It does need a paper filter on each use, but you get 350 of these with it. Alternatively, metal filters are available that last for ages and produce a better flavoured coffee than the paper filters. We don’t like the fact that it needs to be forced down against a mug, which needs a flat and solid surface to do safely. That’s not easy while camping. It’s still an excellent option, and one that’s now in use around the office for a quick coffee. It also has the advantage of making a good mugful of coffee. Here’s our Aerobie aeropress Review for more info.
The Handpresso –This is an impressive gadget that you pump up manually in order to get the pressure to make an espresso. The RRP is over a £100, but can be found for much less (£56 at time of writing on Amazon). We got our hands on a cheaper espresso maker for around £35 that uses ground coffee, which has impressed so far. It makes a shot of espresso with little fuss or mess, with excellent crema. You can get a version of the official Handpresso that takes grounds, or one that takes the convenient Nespresso pods for minimal mess (but maximum waste).
There’s a load of choice for the coffee lover while camping. You don’t need to put up with rubbish instant coffee any more. Our choice of the above would be between the Aeropress and the Handpresso (we used this one –LESHP Portable Espresso Maker Machine), depending if we want a mugful of coffee or a shot of espresso. If we we were in a campsite, then we’d simply bring a large stove top espresso maker, something like 6-8 cups, no competition. Just remember not to skimp on the quality of the coffee you use and make sure that the grind suits the maker.