First time campers have many things to consider before embarking on their inaugural outdoor adventure. Things like tents, water supply, and food are obvious ones. But beyond these essentials, another important question comes to mind. “How can I still enjoy a quality cup of coffee?” So what's a coffee lover to do if they are out camping and don't have access to the modern coffee-making equipment typically found in a kitchen?
Today we’ll talk about several ways to brew the perfect coffee on your first camping trip, so let’s start from the top:
Bring a portable generator and coffee brewing appliances
The most obvious way to get the exact same coffee experience from home would be to actually bring along your home brewing equipment.
However, given that electricity isn’t exactly widely available outdoors, you should consider bringing a portable power generator with you (especially if your definition of camping is more like glamping). You shouldn’t worry too much about its wattage given that most coffee makers need roughly a single watt for one brewing cycle. Given that you’ll use the brewer that you normally use at home, the process and the taste will be exactly the same.
This may feel like the easiest approach to some people, but for others, bringing a generator may not be feasible. Portable generators usually occupy quite a bit of storage space, just like coffee brewers. RV campers are in better suited to house a generator than car campers.
This method sacrifices taste for the sake of simplicity. Essentially, what’s been called Cowboy Coffee for more than a few centuries is one of the simplest recipes for brewing coffee outdoors. The traditional recipe revolves around heating coffee grounds with hot water, after which the beverage is poured into a coffee cup when the grounds settle.
Some grounds may float a bit when the water starts cooling down, so it’s important to have cups prepared to serve the beverage to friends who may want a sip as well.
The main drawback of Cowboy Coffee is that it doesn’t taste as great as French press or home-brewed coffee. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. You can invest a bit of extra time to refine the grounds as best as you can, which will ultimately improve its taste, aroma, and texture.
First-time campers are recommended to try this approach; managing storage space in the trunk and backpack usually leaves little space for coffee brewers, let alone power generators, so all you’ll need is a kettle and the open flame from the campfire.
Bagged Coffee is perfect for beginner campers
Bagged coffee is generally synonymous with instant coffee packs, but over the years, ‘regular’ ground coffee became available in this delivery form as well.
Obviously, coffee connoisseurs may shudder at the idea, but it’s an excellent option for campers who don’t want to experiment with Cowboy Coffee, and who don’t have the space for appliances and a generator in their trunk.
Essentially, bagged coffee is the easiest to make, but that’s where its benefits and drawbacks come to play. Its fixed preparation process leaves little room for customization in terms of taste and aroma; you can only add or reduce the amount of water if you want a stronger (or a weaker) cup.
Given that numerous brands offer different bagged coffee flavors, you may want to try a few beforehand.
Single-serve Pour-over coffee
One of the most recent inventions tailored for campers was the revolutionary single-serve pour-over filter. The coffee grounds are, in this case, separate from water, which means that you won’t have as arduous of a job cleaning it afterward.
The basic skills with preparing pour-over coffee are required, though, but fortunately, that’s the only drawback of this coffee brewing method. Its taste and aroma are far superior to Cowboy Coffee and, in most cases, bagged coffee packs.
Related Article: Check out our list for the best instant specialty coffees
AeroPress while camping
The golden middle between pour-over, pneumatic, and French press is essentially where AeroPress finds itself on the ranking list. This convenient, fairly straightforward compressor allows beginner campers to brew remarkably rich-tasting coffee without requiring them to use up extra space in their RVs and car trunks.
Finely-ground espresso coffee is recommended with this approach, although you can use whichever tastes you prefer.
AeroPress is just slightly harder to use than most tools we’ve mentioned so far. You’ll need to insert the provided filter, place the base over the coffee cup, place the grounds into it, and gently pour bits of boiling water inside, which will degas the coffee grounds. Fill the AeroPress, and you will notice that the water will begin dripping into the cup.
After roughly 15 seconds, depress the AeroPress’s plunger. This last step is the only part that makes using AeroPress different from regular pour-over approaches. Sure, there are extra steps required with this method of brewing your coffee. However, for those who don't compromise on their morning brew, it's well worth it.
Learn how to use a Percolator
Widely regarded as the ultimate coffee brewing device, the Percolator has helped thousands of campers prepare the best-tasting coffee with minimal effort.
The device features a thin metal tube, which is connected to a basket with coffee grounds. When the water starts boiling, it will also begin percolating towards the tube, and finally, into the metal basket.
Fill the kettle with clean water, and place a filter inside its basket. Fill it with coffee grounds, and wait for the water to boil. The majority of percolator models are supplied with a see-through viewing hole near the lid, which can be used to observe the boiling process.
The only problem with percolators is that the see-through hole is rarely large enough to actually be of any use. You may need a couple of practice runs to get the feel of how much time your percolator needs to boil the water, but eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.
Percolators generally don’t have any disadvantages other than the fact that you’ll need to invest a few dollars to buy a quality one if you don’t have it yet. They’re fairly easy to use, very reliable, sturdy, and they can be used to prepare enough coffee for at least four people at a time.
We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on how to brew the perfect coffee on your first camping trip. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!