When it comes to coffee while backpacking, especially with an ultralight setup, there are many ways to go, but usually, it comes down to mediocre, bland instant coffee (mainly Starbucks Via), but does it have to?
Might be a splash of luxury, but for the perfect coffee brewed in the great outdoors, nothing beats a fresh pour over, especially in a light set up (almost ultralight)!
Basics of a pour over coffee
Pour over coffee is one of the most basic ways to make coffee: water pouring over ground coffee beans, letting gravity "pull" the coffee into a cup. No machines, just simple mechanics.
To get a really good pour over, at home or outdoors, there some steps:
- Boil water: the volume of your cup plus 10% for evaporation
- Grind 30 grams (3 spoons) of medium-fine coffee beans for every 350ml (12 oz) of water
- Place a filter (stainless steel or paper) in a pourover device
- Place the coffee grounds in the filter and level it
- Start pouring water on the ground in 4 pours:
- Just enough water to "wet" the grounds and then let them sit a few seconds and "bloom." This activates the coffee.
- Pour in a spiral, starting from the center out, about a 1/5 of the remaining water. Let rest for 60 seconds or so.
- Pour in a spiral, starting from the outside in, about a 1/3 of the remaining water. Let rest for 60 seconds or so.
- Pour in a spiral, starting from the center out, about a 1/3 of the remaining water. Let rest for 60 seconds or so
- Remove the pouring device and pour in the rest of the water to fill the cup
Tools for a really good pour over outdoors (including weights)
Making a practical ultralight kit for luxury coffee is not hard, but it does require some specialty tools, but more than anything, it requires a cup! The gear:
- Lightweight pot like the Toaks 650ml (80g) or 750ml (103g)
- A cup, preferably titanium, like the Toaks 375ml (62g) or 450ml (76g), if you need a lot of coffee
- Spoon (Toaks long spoon: 19g)
- Ultralight pour devices like the GSI Java Drip (31g) or the Vargo Travel Filter (36g).
- Coffee in a ziplock bag, pre-ground (32-100g per day)
Total weight: 224-334g (7.9-11.7oz) depending on volumes and amount of coffee
Even if you are a one-pot does it all kind of backpacker, carrying a cup and a UL pour over device will really upgrade your morning. Personally, I like to brew my coffee while still in my sleeping bag, especially when cowboy camping!