The Ultimate Wild Camping Coffee – A Proper Roasting

At Mud and Routes we camp in style and luxury, but still with a lighter pack weight than most. We’ve always been a bit partial to our coffee on the mountain, but we’ve never thought of roasting our own coffee on the mountain and freshly grinding it in the morning!

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We bought some green coffee beans from Rave Coffee and plumped for the Sumatra Mandheling for no particular reason at the time. However the tasting notes stated:

Sumatra is famously smooth and rich with an earthy chocolate flavour.

We’ll take the coffee expert’s word on that one, but earthy and chocolately seems an apt description of our wild camping trips.

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So we needed some way of self roasting, and we decided to go as low tech as possible and use a frypan. We would have liked something with a bit more heft, but nobody wanted to be the one to lug that up into Cwm Bochlwyd!

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The basic principle is that you dry roast the beans, rather than burn them, so we started by swilling the beans around, and sure enough we did get them to start popping and crackling.

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But not particularly evenly! I think that this is what’s diplomatically known as a melange roast!

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Apparently, it’s best to keep the coffee overnight before grinding for ‘de-gassing’, which sounds like the last thing you want any camping companion to be doing overnight. This helps to develop the aroma and flavour, and as we didn’t want a coffee in the evening anyway, we’d wait till the morning before grinding the coffee. We used the Hario Mini Slim Coffee Grinder, which is an excellent little hand grinder and the only one we could find that was suitable for wild camping.

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So Tryfan got grinding the coffee in the shadow of the larger Tryfan, and soon enough we were sorted with enough ground coffee to get us started.

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The only thing we weren’t happy with was using the camping coffee method of making the coffee! We’d planned on using our coffee press, but we’d managed to burn the pot beyond what we could clean in the field! So we had to improvise another method.

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With a spectacular view like this, a mugful of black self-roasted coffee by the camping coffee method still tasted good!

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For those looking for more information on roasting their own coffee – this link on Breworganic.com – Organic Home Coffee Roasting – has more information and made us realise that it was actually possible while camping!

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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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