Drinking coffee when you’re out hiking is a quandary. Do you put up with bad coffee just because you’re away from your fancy machine, or do you give it up until you are back home because you are unwilling to sacrifice quality? Well maybe you don’t have too. This article discusses options for making coffee on the trail from the ‘just Ok’ to the ‘this is pretty dam good’. We also discuss some coffee alternatives if you want your caffeine fix without the hassle of making coffee.
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Anecdotally there are a large number of coffee drinkers out there. In fact when we polled hikers in an online survey in relation to their coffee drinking habits we found out the following:
Of those coffee drinkers :
Before we discuss coffee types both Gill and I must admit to a degree of coffee snobbery, Tim in particular. So please don’t be offended by our opinions.
While I don’t mind some of the freeze dried coffees I really have to be desperate to drink instant coffee and I would prefer to give up coffee altogether than drink this.
Coffee Sachets from hotel rooms
Nescafe Gold Coffee. As much as I dislike instant and/or freeze dried coffee I found this passable
2. Coffee bags
Next level compared to the instant coffees and usually coming in individual sealed bags, so you don’t need to worry about a special container to keep the moisture out. I must admit I actually prefer a good Freeze dried coffee over the coffee bags
MSR Coffee and Tea Filter out of pack
GSI Ultralight Java Drip with dry coffee with water poring through drip mesh
4. Plunger Coffee (French Press)
Now we’re talking. This is what I normally drink at home and it’s taken me years to find a particular brand of coffee that I really like. This coffe tastes just the same on the trail as it does at home. Both Jetboil and MSR produce plunger units for their stoves and if you are already carrying the stove on a hike an extra 30 grams for the plunger is a small price to pay to get good coffee. The drawback here is that you have extra cleaning up to do at the end of your meal. You can also buy standalone plastic or metal plunger units and take these with you if you aren’t a Jetboil/MSR user.
This is getting really serious. If you are using one of the coffee machines on a hike you love your coffee more than you do reducing your pack weight. We tested two brands of coffee machines based on our survey results and what friends use. These were the AeroPress Go and the Wacaco Nanopresso.
Both of these units produced reasonable quality coffee with the Wacaco Nanopresso being some of the best quality coffee that I have ever had either on trail or at home.
The drawback here is the weight with the Wacaco unit weighting in at 419grams.
Wacaco Nanopresso produces some amazing quality coffee
6. Cowboy coffee
7. Day trips
Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug red colour with open lid
I like my coffee with milk but we don’t have the luxury of refrigerated milk when we go hiking so need to come up with other options.
Powered milk is pretty good thee days, in particular the full cream varieties. If you use powdered milk then use cold water in small quants to mix up the milk rather than adding a powder to hot coffee. you just end up with better results.
Another option is to use the small milk capsules however these end up being heavy at 17grams a piece.
You can easily buy sugar sachets/ sugar replacements in most supermarkets and these are usually the equivalent of a teaspoon each so are easy to measure.
Long life Milk Capsules
Sugar substitute in sachets
If you want to skip coffee on a hike then there are plenty of options. These include coffee/caffeine substitutes or just giving up coffee all togeather.
Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
GU energy Chews Lemonade
Hot Chocolate. I usually save this until the end of the day
Coffee grounds aren’t part of the Australian landscape so while its tempting to bury your coffee grounds or just throw them into the bush they should come out with the rest of your rubbish.
Whether you decide to take coffee on a hiking trip is going to be a personal choice. There is no right or wrong in what and how you choose to do it however life is to short to drink bad coffee so do a bit of testing and find something that you like