Remember how once we used to pack up the instant coffee satchels and throw them into our mug with hot water as our morning caffeine fix while out there camping or travelling?
With so many new, light weight and easy to use coffee makers in the market nowadays, we know there are options. But how do we go about choosing the best one, getting the best results and keeping it travel friendly?
Brewing coffee outdoors will never be as easy as at home. Whether you are camping on the beach or sleeping in a caravan, The difference between a flavoursome cup of coffee and a watery, lukewarm mess is good planning, from choosing your equipment to having water and heat source, to bringing the right amount of coffee to knowing what to do with your waste grounds, it all comes down to thinking ahead.
Yet it’s not as tricky as you might think – and there’s no reason to compromise on quality in the cup.
Travelling light is key for outdoors adventures. While caravaning allows you a few relative luxuries – such as room for more cups – you’re still in a relatively small space. And if you’re camping out of a backpack, you’ll want to cut down on the weight and size of your coffee equipment as much as possible.
Luckily, there’s plenty of coffee gear designed for brewing outdoors. And, with some careful organisation, you’ll need a surprisingly small amount of equipment.
Let’s look at the essentials:
A Coffee Maker
Ideally, your coffee maker should be compact, lightweight, and durable. Glassware and ceramic made makers are not a good option. What is? Here are our top choices:
The AeroPress is a very popular maker. There’s even the World's Aeropress Championship conducted yearly that heroes the maker’s versatility and showcases dozens of creative recipes, but you can keep it simple too. The Aeropress is a durable, compact, food-safe polypropylene made and uses air pressure to push ground coffee and hot water through fine mesh paper filter. Best paired up with a hand grinder to guarantee freshness, the Mini Porlex grinder would even fit into the AeroPress cylinder, making the AeroPress bundle the most poplar and compact Coffee Travel kit. Matching accessories: Fellow Prismo, Paper Filters, Able Disk, Puck Puck Cold Brew. Click here for the AeroPress how to guide.
The Delter Coffee Press is an AeroPress look alike with an innovate angle, designed to eliminate bitter and inconsistent extraction caused by agitation, by using a unique jet-seal that keeps water and coffee grounds separated until the brew commences, preventing uncontrolled agitation. This design allows the user to have complete control over the water flow and agitation, resulting in a brew with less bitterness and more clarity. We recommend the Delter travel bundle for the full experience. Matching accessories: Paper Filters, Able Disk. Click here for the Delter Coffee Press how to video.
The NanoPresso is the most popular portable espresso-like maker. Unlike the AeroPress and the Delter, it can brew stronger, espresso-like brew with some viscosity and crema. And it does that by creating pressure via a hand pump. It’s compact, light weight, comes with great colours and easy to operate. It is also compatible with Nespresso capsules so you can enjoy your capsules wherever you go, the office, camping, caravan or in your hotel room. It comes with a built in espresso cup and a single basket, but you can get few accessories to improve your results. The NanoPresso Barista kit includes a double basket, tamper and a larger water reservoir and the Nespresso Adaptor will allow you using your capsules. The NanoPresso bundle will have everything you need included. Watch here how to brew with NanoPresso.
The Cafflano Kompact maker is even smaller and easier to use than the AeroPress and the Delter and similarly only requires coffee and hot water. Unlike the AeroPress it comes with a built-in stainless steel filter that eliminates the need for paper filters. Simply add ground coffee and water and within minutes you have a delicious brew. The collapsible design and carry case mean it is compact enough to take with you anywhere. Perfect for travellers with limited space. Watch here how to brew with Cafflano Kompact.
Espro Travel Press
The Espro Travel Press is a simple yet sophisticated all-in-one french press style maker. It’s designed so you can brew your favourite cup, seal it with the travel lid, throw it in your bag, and go. The Espro Travel Press is for people who love coffee, and want to take it with them anywhere. Whether you're crossing the Amazon, or just trying to commute across an urban jungle. Double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel keeps your coffee hot for 4-6 hours. Combined with the patented filtration that stops extraction as soon as the press is pushed down, this means your beverage will not only be hot when you want it, it will taste perfect when you're ready to enjoy it!
The Espro Travel Press for coffee includes a micro-filter for press-coffee and paper filters to create an ultra-clean, oil-free flavor of a pour-over style cup of coffee. Click here for a detailed review.
Bellman Coffee Maker
The Bellman Coffee maker is the ultimate camping stove top that can also steam milk. You would need a heat source like a stove or a portable induction plate. With that said, it is the only maker that can produce Latte style coffee on the go without being a heavy and bulky espresso machine. Bellman is available in 2 models: the CX 25P that can make coffee and steam milk, and the Steamer only model, the CX 25S, which you'd want as an add on to your coffee gear if you are a Latte lover. With practice, you can make coffee as close as it gets to the real deal, not bad for its price tag and simplicity of use. Don't forget to pack a milk jug! Bellman spares are also available.
Flair Espresso Maker
A remarkably looking portable Espresso maker, comes in a beautiful travel case and provides a real theatre for espresso preparing espresso with it. Not the first choice for camping or outdoor but can be a great addition to your caravan, summer house or the boat.
Its sleek design consists only of elements that are essential for crafting the perfect espresso shot, making the Flair extremely simple to use for beginners and coffee connoisseurs alike. Made from quality stainless steel and premium grade aluminium, the Flair Espresso Maker is made to last and has no parts or electronics to break or fail. Simple to use, easy to clean, and quick to dismantle for, the Flair is a fantastic option for brewing quality espresso at home and when travelling. Click here for the How- to- use video.
If you need to compromise on space, compromise with cups but not with a grinder. Freshly ground coffee is a male or break of the deal and no fancy maker or microlot single origin can ever compete with the intense flavours and aromatic of freshly ground beans. Do yourself a favour and invest in a small hand grinder that goes wherever you go. Our top pick is the Porlex mini but you can view our full hand grinders selection here. Get in touch if you need help in choosing.
It’s best to work out how many grams you’d be using daily and how long will your travel be. You don’t want to get to the last two days of a week-long hike and realise that you’ve run out.
Knowing your ratio of water to ground coffee is fairly important. You view our suggested recipes for some of the makers here as a starting point.
If you are caravanning or driving to the camping site, you might choose to bring a scale with you. But if you’re backpacking to your campsite, this is one area where you can reduce weight. Measure your coffee at home and place each dose in a small snack bag.
Make sure to store your coffee – pre-dosed or not – in an airtight container. This won’t just slow down the rate at which your coffee grows stale, but will also keep it dry in case of heavy rain, a leaking tent, or an accidental slip into a river. Some of our storage solutions are available here.
Choose beans that go well with the type of coffee you'd be making. Filter roast Single origins are great for black coffee from the Aeropress, Delter and Cafflano. NanoPresso, Espro Travel Press, Bellman and Flair can take well espresso roast Single Origins. Blends will taste great if you'd add milk to your coffee. Click here for more on how to choose the right type of coffee.
You should always leave your campsite as pristine as you found it. Store used coffee grounds and filters in the same storage device that you brought them in so that you can carry them away with you. If you have an AeroPress or Delter you can also opt for a metal filter for less paper waste.
Go out there and enjoy your outdoor with a delicious coffee to indulge on!
© 2020 Ofra Ronen