Backpacker Magazine – June 2012
We perked more than 100 caffeinated cups to find the best trail-brew
technique. Here’s how to choose your method, gear, and grounds.
by: Mike Clelland
Peter 8/20 got it right - it's backpacking = cut the weight.
Just use instant coffee. Backpacking nearly 40 years, I'll tell you a baggie of your own instant blends is all you need. A little decaf, a little Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso, maybe a little hot cocoa powder - a yummy morning jolt. Water, mug, spoon - all the gear you need.
We've tried all these methods, but once Starbucks Via came along, my wife and I only use Via. Quick, easy, virtually as good as brewed.
As for diuretic effect, my understanding is that this is pretty minimal for those whose systems are used to regular morning coffee.
With all due respect to the coffee aficionados out there ... I'm no ultra-lighter but at my age (60) I look for every reasonable way to cut weight and volume and minimize clean-up. I love me a good cup of home-brewed coffee but when you're "out there" the instant coffee tubes (Taster's Choice) really are pretty decent (and cheap, too). It's quick, leaves no sediment, and there's essentially no clean-up. I generally don't like Starbucks coffees so I don't buy the Via but you get the idea ...
Not a Starbucks fan but the ease and great flavor it's the choice to go with and I've tried every method from cowboy to press to skoal style (pinch between cheek and gum) for that caff fix.
But ultimately it's your choice. Via is going to set ya back about 90 cents a cup not bad considering you probably pay a buck twenty at the gas station.
Am I missing something? I can not find the grinder on GSI.com.
I use the GSR French Press. Light, easy to use and clean and it makes coffee full of rich flavor from selected grounds. No I do not pack out the gounds as they are excellent mulch for some stressed plant.
"The ideal temperature for extracting coffee’s flavors—without leeching bitterness—is between 195℉ and 205℉."
Then why the need to boil? Unless you have no other way of sterilizing water, there is no need to boil. I personally use a steripen. You should not boil water for coffee. It removes minerals that are key to some flavors. Plus, boiling is a waste of fuel! Heat to almost a boil, but do not let your water boil!
I am a huge fan of Via. Can make it in cold or hot water. Obv. hot tastes better, but on the mornings where you have instant milk and cereal, it saves from using any type of stove.
To save on cleanup - use the packaging (the foil wrapper you just poured the coffee out of) as your stirrer. Then pack it out.
Out west, where I lived for 30 some odd years we avoided drinking coffee on the trail, particularly the Pacfic Crest Trail which is a hot and dusty trail, especially on the Southern end where water is not plentiful as one would hope. Because Coffee is a diuretic and makes you Urinate more fluid and more frequently than one would want to in a dry climate and having to carry all that extra water was the prime reason. Instead we used various types of Herbal Tea's which only required bringing water to an "almost" boil, which saved fuel, didn't require overly expensive additions to your equipment list and gave depending on what type of Tea you drank a slight caffine boost which was a lot better than that big jolt and the the subsequent let down a couple of hours later and probably a quart of Urine or more that you were going to be needed as a replacement..So if you find yourself real thirsty on that hike, think again about that big cup of coffee you had with breakfast. And switch to a more body and earth friendly as well as pocketbook friendly Tea. If you have read up on your Explorer History since Henry Hudson and even old Nessmuk, the true frontiersmen preferred Tea over Coffee except in the books or on Trail Drives with a Chuckwagon to haul the water and extra equipment...Just sayin'
Haul out grounds? Treat like other food waste.
i'm with calimobber. you simply can't top the jet-boil french press. is it a california thing?? convenience: 6 out of 5! except what do you do with all the icky grounds!? ;)
We usually have a group of 8 in the bwca and use a muslin coffee filter that we found at cubanmarket.com. It is only $1.99 and weighs practically nothing. Just hold it over your mug and pour water through the coffee filled filter. Don't use fine ground coffee or it takes too long to filter through.
You can make your own coffee packets to dip and dunk; Amazon sells empty tea bags that you can fill with your brand; just add boiling water and wait until strength desired.
Well, I have experimented with temps (using a meat thermometer) between 185° and 200°. I find 185 to 195 ideal.
Of course, that also depends on local conditions, like air temp and beginning temp of the brewing pot. When it's colder, I will go to 200 and above to start. The finish temp after 4 minutes can be as low as 165° in some cases.
I take a screw together espresso pot away, the small model, and it works great over a small gas stove.
via.....italian roast!! the only way to start the day!!!
I'll be in the woods tomorrow! Wut wut, first kayak expedition! Glen canyon here I come.
Ive tried the one cup espresso, the cowboy method, the coffee extract and instant. But once Via came along I save weight and have great flavor. The Italian is my favorite.
fail, jet-boil french press only adds 2oz since the stove is already coming along to cook food.
Pouring a little cold water into the pot will also settle the grounds. Put coffee and water into the pot the night before and flavor will disperse through water for better cup of coffee.
Why have you not included Percolators? I love mine, on a stove or open fire.
At higher elevation I would think the insoubles and solubles would be more easily extracted w/o the need for higher temps due to lack of air pressure. Genuinely curious, do you have a cite on the water temp/elevation issue? I extract at 185-190 degrees in my house @ 6800ft and get great coffee everyday.
Starbucks ViA wins hands down for me.
20 oz of water and 1 Columbian packet.
Even my wife will drink that black for it does not upset her stomach. I personally do not mind drinking it with the recommended 8 oz of water but I also like expresso.
I use an Aeropress which is similar to a French Press with no sediment issue. Fantastic coffee but a bit on the bulky side - well worth it to me!
The Backpacker staff must all be out in the woods: they've been offering up a bunch of rerun articles lately... Hopefully, most of their readers should be out there, too. I know I wish I was!
How about combining the cowboy method with filtering my pouring through the MSR magmate before serving? I read about this on line and I starting doing this last year and found it made the perfect brew.
Can the MSR Mugmate do dual use? In that can it be used to pre-filter water before adding chlorine dioxide or using UV light/
Back in the day I carried small one-cup espresso maker on the trail. Yes, I'm that crazy about my coffee. But eventually it was just too much trouble and I reverted to tea. However, I am possibly bit embarrassed to admit that with the advent of the Starbucks Via packets, I'm carrying coffee again and happy to not have to deal with the fuss of the other methods. :-)
Alt method: boil water, add coffee, let sit until desired strength, stir let settle, then add about a cup of cold water to it and voila... you've dunk the grounds. Works great for my backcountry crew of 8 guys.
Southwest Conservation Corps
Veterans Fire Corps : Tucson AZ
And what about Leave No Trace? Gonna haul out the wet grinds?
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