Millions of people will hit the road each weekend to enjoy the great outdoors this summer and many will want to take coffee with them when camping or hiking.
Starbucks barista Daniel Castro shares a few tips for brewing coffee outside.
Castro likes to brew his coffee on the tailgate of his car at the trailhead, and then take it in his pack on the trail. He demonstrates his technique for the Starbucks coffee blog, 1912 Pike.
Find more coffee stories like this one on 1912 Pike, a Starbucks blog dedicated to connecting with customers and sharing useful information about all things coffee – where and how it's grown, how it's best enjoyed, what it means to our planet and more.
Brewing with a coffee press retains the precious natural oils and extracts the coffee’s full flavor with a thick and rich consistency. To make a pot of coffee in a coffee press, use coarse ground coffee that resembles sea salt. Fill the press with hot water that is just off the boil, making sure to saturate all the grounds. Plunge after four minutes and enjoy within the next 20 minutes. Many stove manufacturers make it easy to enjoy coffee in the outdoors with an optional non-breakable coffee press that can screw directly onto the camp stove.
“Making coffee on a stovetop is really easy,” Castro said. “It’s really quick, it does not take long at all. I pour it in my canister and take it with me.”
The AeroPress® is an easy and lightweight option for brewing coffee on the trail. Made of plastic, the AeroPress weighs only 6.4 ounces, and brews 1 to 4 cups of coffee in a minute. The AeroPress uses a lower water temperature and shorter brew time to produce coffee with lower acidity than conventional brewers. To brew, insert AeroPress plunger into the top of the “4” circle inside the brew chamber. Add a heaping scoop of medium-ground coffee to the chamber. Pour hot water until it reaches top of “3” circle. Wait about 30 seconds for coffee to extract. Give the coffee a gentle three stirs with stirring paddle. Fill the chamber with hot water to the top. Screw on filter cap tightly. Wait 90 seconds. Place cup on top of AeroPress. Holding brew chamber and plunge at the same time, flip the AeroPress, so that it is sitting on top of the cup. Plunge coffee gently until you have pushed all the coffee out of the brew chamber.
“The best thing about an AeroPress is it’s portable, Castro said. “It’s convenient and easy to use.”
Pour-over is a simple way to brew a single cup of coffee with clean, fully developed flavor and body. Look for a lightweight plastic or aluminum camp model for portability, especially one that collapses flat. Next, measure out the coffee (it’s a fine grind that looks like granulated sugar). Start with a process that’s called “blooming,” which sets up the coffee to extract. Pour just enough near-boiling water into the filter to saturate all the grounds, and let it rest for 10-30 seconds. Then pour the rest of the hot water into the cone in a slow, circular motion, allowing for 3-4 minutes of brew time.
“A collapsible pour-over filter is a great single-serve option if you’re trying to pack light,” he said.
The classic stove top coffee maker makes a concentrated cup of percolated coffee. It’s a bit bulkier than other brewing methods, making it a good choice for car camping. To brew, cover the bottom of the base with water, then place the filter filled with medium-fine ground coffee on top. Screw the top chamber onto the base, and place over the camp stove on low heat. Turn off the heat when water boils and the coffee begins to “gurgle.”
“Coffee made in a moka pot is very concentrated, almost like a lungo espresso,” said Castro.
Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee
Made with the 100 percent arabica beans served at Starbucks, Starbucks VIA® Instant offers an easy way to make coffee outdoors without packing brewing equipment. It’s a favorite among ultralight backpackers.
“You can be as creative as you want, there are a lot of different VIA flavors including lattes,” he said. “And you don’t need a camp stove to make VIA iced coffee, it’s so finely ground you can just add to a water bottle and shake it vigorously.”