20th April, 2020
Instead of camping over the Easter long weekend as planned, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown we’re writing about camping instead. Such is life!
If you’re like most people, a daily coffee is not exactly a matter of life or death – its much more than that. In Australia, we are spoilt with a generally high standard of coffee in comparison to most other countries in the world (prove us wrong?). If we are getting out in the great outdoors, its unlikely you’ll have a quality caffeine dealer nearby, so you’ll need to invest in your own portable set up. Now just because it’s not from a proper machine, doesn’t mean it has to lack some sort of cafe quality. From our outdoor adventure experience, we’ve listed four methods of making that essential morning cup when you’re out bush.
The Aeropress Coffee Maker is arguably the most popular choice of modern mobile coffee maker out there. Think of it as a modern French Press, that steps up the game with its user friendly design, faster brewing times and ease of cleaning – all of which are vital features when making camping coffee. They are known for their robust near ‘unbreakable’ structure, meaning you can potentially get thousands of coffees over multiple years of use.
They do however contain a number of components that are required to make the brew, so it is one of the more bulky options out there. They do also require the use of a paper micro filter for each brew, but you are provided with 350 of them when you purchase the kit. You are also somewhat limited in its ‘one cup at a time’ capacity, so keep that in mind if you are responsible for making morning brews for the herd.
Cost: One of these will set you back about $50 from Alternative Brewing.
2. Moka Pot Percolator [OUR PICK]
Whilst the coffee percolation concept isn’t exactly new (with origins potentially back to 1810), we really feel its the best means of portable coffee making currently in the market. It just ticks all the boxes – good quality coffee, fast brewing, ease of use and ease of cleaning. The key to a good tasting cup of percolated coffee is using the right grind of bean. Some trial and error experiments are necessary here to come up with the winning formula to suit your taste preferences.
Its ‘all in one’ feature is also attractive, as its not essential to preheat the water in an external reciprocal (i.e. a billy pot) to heat the water. The percolator can simply sits straight onto your source of heat, and immediately get to work.
Cost: You can pick up a 3-Cup Moka Pot Percolator from Myer for $49.95, which matches the price of the Aeropress above.
It is easy to unintentionally create bitter tasting coffee with a percolator, so heres some steps to avoid it:
1. Preheat the water (to just off the boil) before pouring it into the pot section. This will expedite brewing time and leave the coffee less vulnerable to bitterness. Heating cold water in the percolator will also heat the coffee itself, which is a contributor to bitter espresso.
2. Ensure you have the coarseness of the grind right. If you have your own grinder experiment with different levels of grind until you have one that suits your taste. With the Moka Pot brewing, a reasonably course grind is required – not quite as course as what you’d use in a French press, but certainly no where near as fine as an espresso grind.
3. Keep the device as clean as possible. Old residual grinds from previous brews may lead to bitterness.
3. French Press
Yes the classic French Press is still getting a lease of life today. And for good reason, its been providing a solid cups of home-made coffee since the 1800s.
Like the other two methods above, you will require pre-ground coffee that has the right level of course to suit your taste. Again, trial and error with different grinds at home to work this out.
The downside for these contraptions is that they require pretty comprehensive cleaning afterwards, which isn’t ideal for the outdoor environment if we’re honest.
Cost: You can pick up an Ovela French Press from Kogan for $39.95.
Bonus Tip: Pick a more robust stainless steel unit, as glass will be too fragile for outdoor use.
4. Traditional Instant
We’ve listed three methods of making coffee above that are far better than the good old Blend 43, but if you insist on going down the lazy-man’s path of instant coffee, just make sure you invest in a decent brand. Thats all we ask! If you are an instant coffee snob, some of the packet-latte/cappuccino sticks aren’t actually too bad these days – just don’t expect that much desired caffeine hit. You will still need a water heating reciprocal for this and obviously a source of heat. There are bonus points here as you will have less to wash up, but we think that cleaning a press or percolator is a small price to pay for a quality brew.