With everyone looking for ways to get away this summer while still practicing social distancing, camping has become the number one destination.
Whether you prefer roughing it with a tent, renting a rustic campground cabin, living the van life, roaming in your RV, or glamping with all the amenities, you still have to get your caffeine fix. But how can you get your coffee in such a rustic setting?
We'll get the most rustic of camp coffee out of the way first. For those of you who prefer to really immerse themselves in the camping culture, you'll be cooking everything over the open flames of a beautiful campfire. When searching for tips and tricks to make the best campfire coffee, inevitably Cowboy Coffee comes up. What is Cowboy Coffee?
Cowboy Coffee is simply a relaxed way to go about preparing your coffee. This means your coffee may very well be inconsistent in flavor and strength from pot to pot. There is no measuring of grounds or water, it's all pretty much by eye and feel. Of course, knowing how much your pot holds and using the generally agreed upon golden rule of one to two ounces of grounds per 6 ounces of water will go a long way to ensure your coffee is somewhat the same each time.
There is also no need to worry about filters. Just put your coffee grounds in a pot (preferably a spouted pot) and add the water. Place the pot over the flames and wait for it to boil.
Once the coffee comes to a boil, take it off the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This is where it gets interesting. The coffee grounds will have risen to the top of the water. To clear them by making them sink to the bottom of the pot, sprinkle them with either cold water OR crushed (clean!) eggshells. Yes, you read that correctly--crushed eggshells. This may just be for show, but eggshells DO have a higher alkaline level which might just help to counteract any bitterness the coffee may have.
Now that the grounds have been roughly filtered from the top of the coffee, be sure to pour the coffee slowly to keep from stirring the grounds up from the bottom into the cup. There will be errant grounds, of course, so be prepared.
Just like the use of cold water or eggshells for filtering the coffee, there are those who advocate for bringing the water to a boil before adding the coffee grounds. If you prefer that method, great! There is no wrong way to do this, just find what works for you and makes a coffee you will drink.
For those of you who want to keep their coffee grounds out of their cups, investing in a campfire percolator is the way to go. Just like your percolator at home, the filter basket keeps your coffee grounds separated from the water with a perforated metal basket. Almost a simple as the Cowboy Coffee, making percolated coffee is pretty easy.
Place the water in the bottom of the pot and fill the basket with grounds. Replace the lid on top and put the pot over the flames. The water will boil up into the grounds. While this happens, the liquid will also boil up into the glass piece on top of the lid. Once the color of the coffee looks right to you, take it off the flames.
If you are a "gear-head" and are looking for a more consistent coffee experience cup to cup, investing in a tool like an Aeropress might be your best bet. This small coffee maker takes up little space and produces a uniform cup of coffee each time.
The most important part of your coffee experience, besides the water, is the coffee. Make sure to bring along your favorite coffee when you go off exploring. A specific single-origin like our bright Costa Rica Reserve is ideal for your summer campfire coffee. Or, try a perfectly balanced blend like our Summer Blend.
Share your favorite campfire coffee recipes or even a story or two!