If necessary, there are a couple of things we could go one day without: a shower, our phones, some makeup. Don’t get us wrong! We love these things, but for one day? We’d make do! Now, on the flip side, here’s an extensive list of things we absolutely cannot go without — even for a day: coffee. That’s it. That’s the list.
We’re nature enthusiasts, and we’ll never turn down the opportunity to head outside. But that doesn’t mean we’re willing to sacrifice our cherished morning cup of joe. There's something even more magical about brewing coffee over a campfire in the great outdoors. The crisp morning air, the crackling sound of wood, and the anticipation of that first sip make it all the more special. If you, like us, don’t wish to surrender your coffee while camping, join us in exploring five ways to elevate your campfire coffee game.
1. Micro-Ground Quality Beans
Our first coffee method is by far the most simple and requires the fewest gadgets. If you’re planning a longer camping trip or will be on the move from night to night, fewer items to carry is ideal. While this is not necessarily our preferred method, don’t knock until you’ve tried it! If you’re open to the idea, try instant coffee. While we often conflate instant coffee with weak or gritty coffee, there are plenty of newer brands that have created a better product. As with most things, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. If you purchase the cheapest instant coffee from your local supermarket, don’t be too surprised if end up with a gritty and bitter cup of coffee. There are several companies that have upped the instant coffee game and use a micro-ground process on fresh, high-quality beans. We think this is a great option that requires little time, easy effort, and few tools!
2. Cowboy Coffee Classic:
Just as a campfire requires good wood, sublime campfire coffee starts with quality beans. Opt for freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans that suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a light roast with bright acidity or a dark roast with robust flavors, make sure the beans are freshly ground just before brewing. This ensures maximum flavor extraction and a richer aroma in every cup.
The cowboy method is the epitome of simplicity when it comes to campfire coffee. All you need is a kettle (or pot) of water and coarsely ground coffee. Start by heating water over the campfire until it's almost boiling. Add the coffee grounds directly into the water, stirring briefly. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes before removing it from the heat. Wait for the grounds to settle at the bottom, or you can even sprinkle a bit of cold water to speed up the settling process. Pour slowly and enjoy the raw and robust flavors of this classic brew. If you want to go one step further, you may even strain your coffee mixture through a sieve or strainer to separate the coarser coffee grounds before enjoying it.
3. French Press on the Trail:
Believe it or not, you can enjoy French press-quality coffee right in the heart of the wilderness. A portable French press is a convenient way to brew a smooth and full-bodied cup. Bring pre-ground coffee or grind your beans beforehand. Boil water over your campfire separately and let it cool slightly before pouring it over the coffee grounds in your French press. Make sure to allow the coffee to steep for a few minutes (about four to six minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee), then press the plunger slowly. The result is a rich and sediment-free coffee that's reminiscent of your favorite cafe.
4. Percolate with Perfection:
Percolators might seem old-fashioned, but they're fantastic for making campfire coffee. The percolation process infuses the water with coffee goodness, producing a strong and aromatic brew. Fill the percolator's basket with coarsely ground coffee and assemble the pot. Place it on the campfire grate and let the magic happen. Keep an eye on the water temperature, aiming for a gentle percolating action. Once the brew is strong enough for your liking, remove the percolator from the fire and let it cool slightly before serving. This is one of our favorite coffee preparation methods, both at home and while camping!
5. AeroPress Adventure:
For the modern-day adventurer, the AeroPress offers a lightweight and compact solution for campfire coffee. We admit that carrying a French Press or a Percolator may be a bit cumbersome, and while this method also involves a particular gadget that’s only used for your coffee, it’s quite compact and easy to pack! This innovative device uses air pressure to extract rich flavors and is highly customizable to your taste preferences. Bring your AeroPress, coffee beans, and a portable grinder (or pre-ground coffee). Boil the water separately over the campfire and let it cool slightly. Invert your AeroPress, add the coffee grounds, pour in the water, and stir. Attach the filter cap and let the coffee steep for a short time. Then, press the plunger to create a smooth, intense cup of coffee that's ready to fuel your outdoor explorations.
Joe for the Journey
Making the best campfire coffee involves more than just the final cup—it's about embracing the entire process. From selecting high-quality beans and choosing the right brewing method to savoring the aromas and flavors that only the great outdoors can enhance, each step contributes to a unique and rewarding coffee experience. Whether you're a traditionalist who enjoys cowboy coffee or a modernist who loves the AeroPress, there's a method for everyone to enjoy a perfect cup of campfire coffee. So, the next time you're out in the wild, don't settle; take the time to brew your coffee with care and enjoy the true taste of adventure. Happy sipping, friends!