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Backpacker Magazine – May 2008

Better to the Last Drop

A hiker cannot live on water alone. Next time out, try these coffee, tea, and wine updgrades.

by: Kristine Hansen

Coffee | Tea | Wine

Status quo
Instant coffee: high on convenience, low on taste

Upgrade Fresh beans and trail-friendly grinders and presses

Fresh Purists pack whole beans and a portable hand grinder like the 11-ounce GSI JavaGRIND (above, $20, The rest of us will be satisfied with a bag of our favorite fresh-ground beans. To brew, pack a dedicated Lexan French press like the JavaPress (below, $25,, or convert a 32-ounce wide-mouth Lexan water bottle by inserting the flexible Press-Bot ($20,

Quick Add boiling water to preground filter packets like MUD Gourmet Coffee ($1.50, or Java Juice liquid extract ($1, The latter also works with cold water for iced coffee. These are fast and light, but don't match the flavor of fresh-ground.

Coffee | Tea | Wine

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star


Star Star Star Star Star
Sep 26, 2013

I have used the Press-Bot coffee press on all my trips for many years. The Press-Bot is super reliable and, I believe, it brews the absolute best trail coffee.

Kevin Conard
Dec 31, 2009

I love the Java Press that GSI makes. It has come in handy on several canoe trips to the boundary waters.

I've been wanting to try the mugmate also. Looks like a wonderful option when you want to go ultra light.

Try some of our fresh roasted coffees at Order Blue Jazz Java or CuppaJane brand. We also carry soup packets, cider and hot cocoa that pack very well.

Sorry for the shameless promotion.

Philip E. Ankrom
Dec 31, 2009

I too was impressed with the French Press until I tried the AeroPress. It is lighter, more compact and by far the best tasting coffee at home or on the trail. It makes espresso and you just add enough water for your taste all in 30 seconds after the water is hot. Easy clean up as well and the filters can be cleaned, dried and reused, if needed. And I don't work for them.

Kindle McGuinness
Dec 31, 2009

No gadgets for me.
I used one of these for a year and then found Starbucks Via!

Only need hot water now.
Strong coffee - 1 packet and 8 oz water
Great coffee - 1 packet and 20 oz of water

Too easy and too light in the pack.
Just replacing this gadget with Starbucks Via, I can now make over 20 pots of coffee for the weight saved and that does not even consider the weight savings for the grounds.

Jay Burkhardt
Jan 14, 2009

MSR Mugmate! Been using it for years.

Aug 11, 2008

I use a Merlitta One Cup cone. Not as compact as an H2Joe, but still lightweight (~1oz) and makes great coffee. And alot more lightweight than a dedicated french press.

Jul 30, 2008

This is a better site:
You can definitely skip the condensed milk.

Jul 30, 2008

The BEST (that I use): Vietnamese coffee makers. The very lightweight slow-drip systems are the best. They make very strong coffee and are easy to carry. Plus they only cost $2 - $5

Ron in Iowa
Jul 18, 2008

I agree with the cone filter method and have used it for years. I have a java press but it takes a fair amount of cleaning each time and water. I use unbleached paper filters, small ground coffee sealed packs and I save and dry the old filter and coffee and burn them to keep away insects at night. A small oatmeal lid fits on the filter that allows me to pack the filters and coffee inside the cone. It is one of those treats that goes along way in making a sunrise/sunset perfect.

Matt in Tempe
Jun 20, 2008

I find the best overall solution is to use a cup-at=a=time cone with small cone-shaped filters. The cone is made out of plastic, so it's ultra-lightweight and won't break like a glass press might. Pour water that's just below the boiling point onto grounds that you put in the filter, and the coffee filters through the cone right into your cup.


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