The whole idea behind hiking, cycle touring or bikepacking is moving through the country side at a slow pace, taking time to absorb your surroundings and acknowledging the beauty of it all.
To help you acknowledge this beauty it’s a well known ‘fact’ you become more observant of your surroundings after a cup of good coffee! Vibrant colours pop, your senses are heightened and the tweeting birds are singing to you alone! So just because you’re not sipping a skinny avolatte served to you by a bored tattooed barista doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good brew outdoors. In fact I’d argue the infusion of earthy outdoor smells improves the taste of coffee and your more likely to remember sitting on a moss covered rock perched on a hill than a hard seat in an air conditioned cafe!
As a cycle tourer I’m constantly assessing the need and weight of what I carry, the same applies while backpacking. Carrying a moka pot or french press just isn’t that practical when travelling minimally. One can argue for the tasteless caffeine pills disguised as instant coffee sachets, but lets not…So with that in mind I have chosen the items/methods below.
I used Carrow Coffee, a roasters based in Sligo, Ireland.
For a foraged wild coffee brew check out here:
Montbell O.D Coffee Dripper
The Montbell dripper is made of an extrafine polyester mesh. It holds it’s shape by using a flexible alloy wire frame and weights less that 10 grams. It’s stored in a durable mesh pocket. Two little twigs are inserted into the side sleeves and placed over the cup. Scoop the amount of coffee grinds you want into the filter and pour a sup of hot water over to steam the grounds and allow to drip into the cup. Wait about 30 seconds and slowly start pouring more hot water into the filter until you reached your desired amount.
Soto Helix Coffee Maker
The Soto Coffee Maker is made from flexible stainless steel and weighs about 45 grams. Using it’s prong base it is placed over a cup with a #2 filter paper placed inside the coiled cone, allowing the coffee to drip. It’s stored by collapsing it’s cone shape and clipping the prongs under the widest coils and placed into in a mesh pouch.
The AeroPress might be a little cumbersome for lightweight hiking/cycle touring and have too many components for my lightweight needs but it makes a pretty good coffee. It comprises of a circular tube, plunger, 350 micro filter papers and filter cap. If you lose any of these however you’re left with a useless tube of plastic.
Insert the filter paper into the main chamber and place over a cup, add your desired amount of coffee, pour hot water over the coffee, stir for a few seconds, insert the plunger and press downwards for 30 – 40 seconds.
Paper & String…desperation!
Not as daft as it sounds or looks! Place the coffee grounds into a paper filter ( or muslin/jam strainer would work -the mesh fibres are wider, so double up), wrap and twist the paper and tie with a string or dental floss. Bring a pot of water to a boil, let it stand for about 20-30 seconds and slowly pour into the cup with the wrapped up coffee. Let it brew for a minute or two. Once you’re happy with the strength of your brew take the wrapped coffee grinds out of your cup and drink!
My personal favourite is the Montbell Dripper. The simplicity, weight and size is ideal for travelling light and the coffee it brews is pretty good. The fact that you don’t need any filter papers and is easily cleaned is a plus.
If you have any suggestions for brewing coffee in the wild I’d love to hear them!