Backcountry (or Mex surf trip) coffee paradigm shift

OK, paradigm shift may be a bit overstating it, but depending on your current BC coffee configuration maybe not.  Like most that grew up in the Northwest I’ve got love for a few things – the outdoors, good beer and good coffee.  Hell, I’ll settle for marginal coffee as long as I’m getting some.  For me it’s not even the caffeine (though anymore I get headaches if I haven’t had a cup or two by 10AM),, it’s more the smell and the warmth in the morning, and there’s certainly nothing better than climbing out of your bag in the AM and whipping up a cuppa joe.

I’ve tried a few ways to make coffee in the backcountry and in surf trips to Mexico (coffee choices in mainland Mex consist of Nescafe and Nescafe, which is odd given there are coffee beans to buy everywhere) , all with their plusses and minuses.  A few that I’ve used are:

The Jetboil coffee press

This is basically a french press screen that fits into your Jetboil PCS turning it into a backcountry french press (or is that freedom press?).  Quick and easy, lightweight, and stores inside your Jetboil so doesn’t add extra clutter to your pack.  The biggest downside with the Jetboil press is that as your Jetboil than doubles as your coffee mug you’re SOL on cooking any breakfast to go with your coffee.

Jetboil coffee press
Jetboil coffee press

The Preva portable espresso maker

No, I’m not kidding on this one, and will probably lose all street cred once you see this best.  I’ve brought this $2 REI used gear sale find with me many times.   Yes, it’s bulky and has absolutely no other use once you’re in camp, but it honestly makes a damn fine shot of espresso.  Two shots of espresso and some warm water = the best backcountry americano you’ll ever have.  Downsides are that it’s bulky and has no additional use, so you’re basically lugging this beast in for 10 minutes of use in the morning.  However, when you’re an addict and you need your fix….

Preva espress press
Preva espress press

Aeropress

I’ve yet to actually try this yet, but did actually pick one up on the cheap just to try out recently.  Made by the same guys that brought you the 80s wonder frisbee the Aerobie, oddly enough.  Basically just another method of forcing water through ground beans under pressure, and Backcountry magazine gave it rave reviews awhile back.  Downsides are again bulk and lack of additional use for the contraption (hell, it’s made by the Aerobie cats, you’d think they could make it double as some sort of superflying object), but also you need to bring the paper filters with you for use.  They aren’t that large, but again it’s one more piece of garbage to pack in and pack out.

Aeropress
Aeropress

So anyways, onto the latest and greatest, the Starbucks Via instant coffee.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t give instant coffee a chance given my experiences in the past, but as this was recommended to me by Ben over at Tabascogeek.com (btw Ben, please get your site finished, I’m tired of looking at that template), and as Starbucks was giving away free samples I figured I had nothing to lose.  Comes in little single serving packets (not sure if they are recyclable, but I’m guessing not…), to make just add 8 oz. hot water.  I guesstimated my water, and after a first sip had to add a bit more as the coffee was a bit thick.  Overall not a bad cup of coffee, a bit sludgy on the bottom, but nothing worse than the last cup out of a french press.

Starbucks Via
Starbucks Via

Flavor wise it doesn’t compare to the Preva, but as the Preva is pumping out a shot of espresso v. a cup of drip they aren’t really comparable.  There’s always that tradeoff you make between flavor, weight and space, but for fast and light trips it will definitely be my new cup of choice

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