I too am curious to see what ideas others have for brewing their favourite cuppa Joe while Escaping.
I have tried many different ways of brewing, and can enjoy most of them, as most any method can produce a decent to excellent end product if used the right way.
I roast my own coffee beans, and truly enjoy trying different beans from all over the world, but do have some favourites. I also enjoy roasting to different levels to bring out the different characteristics at these levels, a more fruity and earthy taste towards the lighter roasts and the chocolaty nut tastes at darker roasts. Not really a fan of the super dark roasts like Charbucks uses.
I almost always grind my beans right before brewing, it makes a HUGE difference in the flavour and how smooth the cup tastes.
Though many, many people do use them, I have not used an electric drip maker in many years now. They just can’t produce as good of a cup due to their design. For starters most don’t heat the water high enough, and don’t get a full extraction of the different flavours because of this. There is a couple high end drip machines that are around $300 or more that do control the brew better, but I spent less than this buying all the brewers I own together.
Anyhoo, here are a few of the methods that I use that work well camping and need no electrical hook-ups. These are all very affordable methods.
1. Aeropress - My favourite and most commonly used method of extraction, which we have been using for four years now. It is very easy to use, and produces a great extract that can be used as an espresso, making coffee, iced coffee, cappuccino (with a mild frother) or latte. I usually make a full four shots, and we add hot water to make three 10-12 ounce cups of coffee.
Aeropress Site – LINK
How to use video –
2. Moka Pot – This has been a traditional Italian method of making coffee for many years now. The moka pot is often described as a stovetop espresso maker, due to the high heat and pressure created to extract much more flavour than normal methods of extraction) It is a real simple way of brewing an espresso, and the tastes are great. It is best to use a coffee that is meant for an espresso. The shots can be drank straight up, made into an Americano (named for the Americans in WWII who added hot water to their espressos to closer resemble the coffee they are used to), a great iced coffee, or a delicious cappuccino. One thing with the moka pot is that you must make a full pot due to its design, but many sizes are available, and many people will have about 3 sizes on hand. Bialetti is the most common maker, but there are other brands too.
How it works –
3. French Press - Another great way to extract coffee. It basically works by mixing coarse grounds with hot water, stir, let brew a while, and then press the grounds to the bottom of the pot. Bodum is one of the biggest and best manufacturers, but there are lots of other good brands to be found.
Video on using –
4. Cowboy Coffee – You really can’t make coffee more simply. If done properly this is a great way to make coffee. Many, many times it is made in ways that results in a brew that is not so good. I have made hundreds of pots of cowboy coffee over the years. This is the method I have developed. First bring a pot of water to near boiling, but not to a full boil. Too hot of water will extract the bitterness out of the coffee. Then add coarse grounds to taste (don’t be too wimpy now). Stir them in and let it sit for at least 3-4 minutes after removing from heat. Most of the grounds will settle to the bottom. Some people sprinkle a bit of cold water on the surface with the intent of settling the grounds better, but I just prefer to let them settle naturally, and will sometimes pour through a screened filter. Either way you may want to pass on the last sip in your cup.
5. Percolator – Properly done, a percolator can extract a decent coffee. One of the biggest problems is that people let it perk to long, and too hard. Once the grounds and water are in the pot you can use a high heat to bring it to the point it starts to perk. Immediately reduce the heat so that a moderate perk is attained. Too hot burns the coffee in the bottom. I allow it to slowly perk for about 3 minutes tops, and then shut the heat off.
6. Pour through – Melitta style extraction. You can get cones for single cups, and on up to big pots. There are a few methods used, and this is my preference. First, don’t forget to rinse the paper filter good first to get rid of the manufacturing paper taste by rinsing real good under cold water. Add the appropriate amount of fine grind (between espresso and coarse), then pour your near boiling water on to the grounds, with just enough to soak them thoroughly. Let sit for 30 seconds while the grounds blossom (expand). Then slowly pour water in a circular fashion on the grounds, circling in and out to the edges but never pouring on the filter. Continue doing this until you have use up the appropriate amount of water. This can take from 30 seconds for a single cup, up to 3 minutes for a full pot. Many people will just fill the filter basket up with water a couple times, and some manufactures even suggest doing so, but I can guarantee that you will get a fuller extraction using the slow pour method.
There are a few other methods that I have not covered as I am not real familiar with them.
As well, others will have their own favourite methods to extract the coffee using the methods I described. There is no one right way that works for everyone, I have just described my favourites. The one thing I learned is to try new ideas, and experiment with various factors, from grind size, water temp, brewing rates and times, amount of grounds used, level of roast, coffees of different origins, and so on.
I would also recommend trying a few different coffees from a local roaster, if you have one near you. You would be surprized at the different tastes available, and how the roast level affects the taste.
I loves my coffee.