Do you LOVE coffee? We do. We start every single day with at least one cup whether we’re at home in Asheville on somewhere in our van. In this post, we talk about how to make awesome camp coffee. No machine nor electricity is required.
Assemble Your Materials
The first thing required for making good coffee while traveling is to get some basic pieces of gear. If you’re thinking, man, no way can I pack a hand grinder, it only has a single purpose, we hear you. For those of you who want no frills, no mess and easy cleanup, we recommend Kuju Coffee Pocket PourOver’s. The flavor is excellent and there is no extra equipment required other than a mug and a pot to boil your water.
For everyone else who is maybe car camping or has the space for a grinder and a few other supplies, we recommend the following:
Coleman Propane Canisters – these are cheaper and easier to buy in person rather than online.
Start With Quality Beans
Can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh… wait a minute. Wrong analogy. But you get where I was going, right? You can’t make great coffee with inferior beans. Pick quality coffee and you’re halfway there. Some of our favorite coffee is made by our friends over at Rebel Pine. They’re a local to Asheville company who plants a tree for every bag of beans purchased.
Refine Your Method
To make the absolute perfect coffee, it’s recommended that you weigh your beans and your water. We don’t carry a scale with us but we do know how much water to use based on how much coffee we’ve ground. A little bit of experimentation with your grinder should do the trick. For us, when we load the grinder canister to the top, we know we’ll get about 14 ounces from it.
Get your mug and put the GSI on top of it. Be sure to spread the legs out equidistant from one another so that the coffee drips into the center of your mug and not down the side of it.
Pour some water into your pot to boil and light your stove.
Load your Porlex Jp-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder with whole beans and grind them. We recommend grinding your beans so they resemble coarse sea salt or coarse ground pepper. Your grinder will actually allow you to grind your beans into a much finer consistency, but we don’t recommend it. This keeps the sediment out of your coffee (the slushy last sip that’s sometimes at the bottom of your mug.)
Pour the ground beans into the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip.
Once your water boils you are ready to start making your coffee. This is the fun part. Dunk your blue camp cup (the Coleman 12 oz. Enamel Mug) into the boiling water and slowly pour it in a circular fashion around your beans until they are covered in water. We use a cup rather than pouring from the pot because it gives us a bit more control than just pouring from the pot.
Let your coffee sit now for about 30 seconds. If you have really fresh beans, you will get a bloom, which is where the grounds swell up. Rebel Pine’s coffee always produces a really beautiful bloom (and aroma.)
How to Make Awesome Camp Coffee Recap
Remember that you’re camping so you can be forgiven with a little less exactness in the wildness. For those of you that really want to be specific, we recommend about 3 minutes of brew time for dark roasts and about 4 minutes for light roasts.
Practice makes perfect (and also the perfect excuse for going camping) so if you don’t get the coffee right on the first try, keep on practicing. It’s easier to make strong coffee weak (just add water) than it is to make weak coffee better. If it’s too weak, check out your grind and see if it’s too coarse and chunky. If so, try adjusting your grinder until you get a finer product. You could also use less water.
Coffee Wish List
If you’re thinking, what the heck, they’re not using a gooseneck coffee pot, we get it. Really hard core coffee lovers wouldn’t even think of making coffee without one. We’re making the most of the tools we do have though. That said, if you’re interested in getting the real deal, here it is:
What are your steps for making van life coffee? We’d love to hear from you, especially if you have a really great tip or trick!
** Did you know we make Squarespace websites? It’s one of the ways we’re able to travel. If you’re looking for updates to an existing site or interested in creating a new one, please get in touch!
If you have an obsession then maybe you can relate. You read as much as you can about it, stare at pictures on the internet, get excited when you learn something new…etc. And occasionally you find the object of your obsession out in the real world. For us, it’s old vans.
We met Richie and his van this morning in Key West! We spotted him earlier on the run and then again near Smathers Beach. Couldn’t help but stop and chat. Turns out he made the top himself out of foam and has been living in a van for FORTY FIVE YEARS. Talk about inspiration!
He said one day he went out for coffee and veered hard left and bought a van and has been in it ever since. The inside of his rig was sooooo cool. He let us poke our heads in there and we even got a glimpse of his YETI Tundra 35 Cooler (one of the items on our list of Essential Van Life Items.)
He says he gets about 4 or 5 people a day that want to stop and talk about his rig. What do you think about it? Could you see yourself living in a van for 45 years?! Please leave your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!