SEPTEMBER 8TH, 2022

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Learn the ins and outs of brewing your favorite coffees in your favorite camp spots. 

Take a moment to stop everything you’re doing, if you will, and imagine yourself in the following scenario...

You just woke up in a comfy tent on a beautiful breezy Fall morning; you take some time to brew your favorite coffee over the coals from last night’s fire; now, while watching the sunrise, you’re slowly sipping away to the sound of birds chirping… *inhale*

Ahhh… nice and relaxing, isn’t it? If only we could join-in on your coffee camping daydream…

Oh wait—that’s exactly what this blog is all about!


Man enjoying coffee beside fire

We’re willing to wager (since you’re here and still reading this far) that you like camping and coffee just as much as we do, and that’s why we wanted to dedicate this Alma-nac Blog to breaking down the best coffee brewing methods for outdoor camping.

In short, If you’ve only ever packed Instant Coffee during your camping trips, get ready to be more surprised than we were when first researching this topic: regardless of your roast preference, camping destination, or budget, there are more ways than one to easily enjoy your favorite coffees by the fire.

In this week’s Alma-nac Blog, we’ll be covering the pros and cons of camping with coffee, breaking down our picks for the best coffee camping brewing equipment on the market, and sharing three emergency survival methods for brewing coffee when—miles for your car—you suddenly realize you never actually packed any coffee brewing equipment in your camping bag.

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So, why camp with anything other than instant coffee in the first place—what are the pros and cons?

To quote some of our Gen Z team members here at Alma Coffee, enjoying freshly brewed ground coffee at a campsite just “hits different.” 

There truly aren’t many other coffee brewing scenarios where you can relax, take things slow, and enjoy the entire coffee experience from first brew to final sip without being distracted or feeling rushed.

Coffee bag next to fire

If you’re looking for more concrete logic as to why you should switch to manual brewing rather than instant coffee during your next camping trip, we’ve laid out a few of our favorite pro manual arguments below.

THE PROS OF MANUAL BREWING WHILE CAMPING:

  • Freshly brewed coffee made from high-quality, freshly ground beans will always beat instant coffee when it comes to flavor. Always.  
  • Camping is a great setting for using manual brewing techniques you otherwise wouldn’t try at home: things like percolators, AeroPresses, and pour overs (more on that in a few sections). 
  • Spent coffee grounds are a great nitrogen-rich natural fertilizer, and we highly encourage you to toss your used grounds beside a baby tree that needs it after enjoying your morning cup.   

If you’re looking for more concrete logic as to why you should switch to manual brewing rather than instant coffee during your next camping trip, we’ve laid out a few of our favorite pro manual arguments below.

THE CONS OF MANUAL BREWING WHILE CAMPING:

  • Instant coffee (as the name implies) is extremely quick & easy to make, whereas manually brewing might take skill and/or equipment you don’t already have.
  • Instant coffee only requires access to hot water, whereas manual brewing requires access to hot water AND brewing equipment: if you are planning a weeks-long backpacking trip and want to pack as light as possible, it might not be worth it to bring manual brewing equipment.

Regardless of how or why you find yourself wanting to enjoy a manually brewed cup of joe by the fire, we promise it’s a coffee experience unlike anything else you’ve had.

Keep reading to see what equipment we recommend for camping with coffee, or skip ahead to learn how to make coffee at your campsite with no equipment at all.

Coffee Camping Equipment Checklist

Although we dedicated the last section of this blog to brewing coffee without any coffee equipment at all, those who are looking to spend a few dollars and enjoy a stress-free camping experience will need some necessary pieces of brewing equipment before they’re ready to get caffeinated in the woods. Here’s our absolute coffee camping equipment essentials:

  1. An over-the-fire kettle, JetBoil, or method to boil water
  2. Coffee mug(s) 
  3. Ground coffee OR whole beans with a Manual Hand Grinder
  4. Coffee filters 

Coffee camping equipment

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Top 3 Coffee Camping Brewing Devices

Now that you have an idea of the essential equipment you’ll need to manually brew by the fire, let’s talk about a few of our favorite coffee camping manual brewing devices…

#1: The AeroPress

If you're the backpacking type of camper looking for the most delicious and lightweight coffee brewing device on the market, look no further than the AeroPress. 

As long as you have your favorite ground coffee and boiling hot water nearby, the AeroPress Go kit includes everything you need to easily brew a delicious cup of coffee by a campfire in just a few minutes. Learn more about this amazing brewing device and how it works by visiting the product page here.

AeroPress Go in car cupholder

#2: Fire-proof Percolator OR Mokka Pot

If you like the idea of taking things slow around the campsite in the morning next to an open fire, then investing in a fire-proof camping percolator or classic Mokka Pot are great options. 

Not only do most retail stores offer Fire-proof Percolators or Moka Pots in their camping sections, but these brewing devices can also be used over a standard stove top when you leave the trail and usually don’t require any paper filters to brew delicious coffee. 

Mokka pot up closer

#3: French Press

The classic French Press has remained a staple in the coffee world for one simple reason: it’s easy to use and yields a delicious cup 99.9% of the time. French Presses are convenient for camping because they don’t require filters, are relatively quick to make, and (depending on the size) can make enough coffee for the whole campsite in one brew. 

Although we have many great French Press sizing options available now on the Alma Coffee store, we recommend shopping around for non-glass French Press options if you plan on doing any extended hiking or backpacking. 

French Press pouring coffee

Although we probably missed a few great brewing devices for camping in this list (i.e. the plastic Hario V60 the Flair Espresso machine being one of them), those seeking a quick, affordable, and relatively easy coffee camping experience can’t go wrong with any of the items listed above.

But what happens when the worse-case coffee camping scenario becomes a reality? You know what we’re talking about, a…

Emergency Coffee Camping Scenario

Oh no!!! You forgot to pack your handy-dandy brewing device and only have coffee grounds—How can you outsmart mother nature and brew your favorite beans with *almost* nothing to brew it with?!?!?

Coffee Camping thumbnail

We won’t pretend we are the Bear Grylls of coffee camping, but we do have a few ingenious brewing methods we found scouring camping discussion threads on the internet that don’t require any type of manual coffee brewer. Learn more below and watch our marketing team try out each of these three methods by clicking the button above!

Here’s our top three ways to make coffee by a fire without a manual brewer:

#1: Cowboy Coffee

Likely taken from the *actual* cowboys of America’s past before instant coffee was ever an option, “Cowboy Coffee” simply requires access to boiling water and 2 tablespoons of coffee ground as fine as possible. 

If you have access to tin camping cups and/or an acoustic guitar, it really takes this no-brewer technique to the next level: Simply boil water, add 2 tbsp of coffee per 8 oz. of water, and enjoy the “True Grit” you’ll feel in-between your teeth while you’re roughing it like the good ole’ days. 

Cowboy Coffee Infographic

#2: Sock-Teabag Coffee

We truly hope you never find yourself in a dire coffee scenario, but if you do there are times where you have to do what you have to do in order to stay caffeinated: simply put, the “Sock Teabag Method” is exactly what it sounds like. 

With access to boiling water, add 2 tbsp of coffee ground medium to medium-fine into a (preferably clean) sock, tie a knot at the end to prevent any grounds from escaping, and let that coffee sock steep for 4-6 minutes in 12oz. of hot water before removing. We don’t think even the hardiest of bug-eating survivalists would stoop to this option, but it’s always good to keep in the back of your mind just in case…

Sock Coffee

#3: Overnight Cold Brew Coffee

As the least extreme option on this list, “Overnight Cold Brew” is also a brewing that requires a little bit of forward planning (8 hours, to be exact): If you realize before going to sleep you forgot a manual brewing device, simply find a mug or water-holding vessel and add 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee for every 1 cup of room-temperature water until you reach a desired mount. 

With a stirring device, spend a few minutes making sure all added coffee is saturated in the water and there aren’t any dry pockets, then cover and wait a minimum of 8 hours (the longer the better). Wahla! You just made overnight cold brew concentrate, and all you need to do is filter out the coffee grounds the best you can before enjoying (TIP: if the coffee seems too strong at first, dilute it with water until it tastes the way you like).  

Now, it's time to go camping (with coffee)!

We hope this coffee camping guide got you in the outdoor spirits: Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to get notified when coffee content like this blog first publishes, and go watch our marketing team test each of the three no-brewer coffee brewing methods from the last section of this blog (sock coffee is NOT what we thought it would be)...

Written by: Kelley Bostian