This guest post is written by one of my best friends, Ryan Geisbrect. Not only is he largely responsible for my entry into a love for coffee, he has educated me for years on its depths and mysteries. Ryan currently lives in Nashville, TN and is working with bands as a sound tech and industry business consultant.
I’ve brewed coffee with my Aeropress in hostels, on trails, and on the backs of cars. All situations require different equipment and different sacrifice. When the treacherous Scotland winds are beating at your back and your boots are slightly damp from the day before, there is nothing more satisfying than a cup of Aeropress coffee.
Whether hiking in the Isle of Skye Scotland, or the West Texas canyon trail, Whether hiking in the Isle of Skye Scotland, or the West Texas canyon trail, adventure can always be paired with some coffee.
Aeropress and travel go hand in hand. Many would even argue that the two are inseparable. The small plastic design of the is ergonomic and the device makes for a meager mess and ample durability.
But when is coffee too inconvenient for travel? When will coffee not remedy the soul? For some, coffee is only a treat, but for others, it is a dire necessity. Only you can decide what sacrifices must be made on your journey.
This guide to Aeropress travel brewing will hopefully quell a great fear: not having proper coffee on a trip.
Gather the Goods
Gather up what coffee gear is available and perform an inventory check. This step is simple. It is performed during the packing phase of your travel preparations. Observe your coffee gear. Bask in its glory.
How much are you willing to go through to drink coffee on the road? We must determine the tradeoffs of utility and quality. There are two common situations.
- Packing too light and not having enough coffee equipment. Your pack may be light, but your coffee quality may be compromised.
- Packing too much will make for a miserable time. You will have wonderful coffee, but you’ll be lugging around sheer excess.
Both situations are bad, so a balance must be sought out.
An Aeropress, filters, and hot water are the absolute necessities. Be mindful of the space, quality, cost, and durability of your gear. Bringing porcelain mugs or your favorite pyrex glassware would probably be unwise for an outdoor trip. Broken glass is a sad thing.
Below, the chart represents packing space. This isn’t a universal chart by any means. It is a guestimate depending on backpack/bag size.
As seen above, the whole pie is the backpack and smaller slices of the pie are coffee gear. The “misc” space most likely includes a coffee grinder. Many people pre-grind coffee for adventures or excursions, but I would recommend against it. Freshly ground coffee is vital. Try investing in a smaller grinder for a compact fit!
Some reading this blog may not have very much coffee gear. These are the folk who enjoy the simplicity of Aeropress coffee. You scoop, pour, and drink. For others, coffee is a science and craft. Every parameter is measured so that it can be replicated.
Only you can decide which type of brewer you wish to be while traveling. Less space means more replicable cups of coffee. Less coffee gear means more space for snacks and kittens.
Check yourself always and be realistic. Make sure that you are packing appropriately for the occasion. Also keep time in mind. Do you actually have time to make coffee on that business trip or vacation? Maybe getting coffee at a shop would be a more reasonable alternative.
The everlasting trial: how to efficiently make coffee while backpacking. Outdoor backpacking trips are usually rough on coffee equipment. Electricity doesn’t exist in the wilderness, so preparations must be made. To heat water in this situation, one could make use of a jet boil, a simple pan and stove/fire, or other traditional ways of heating.
If you are going to trek in backwoods-dead-middle-of-nowhere-bumpkin-town where the only water source is a swamp or Bear Grylls juice, don’t bother bringing a thermometer, refractometer, or scale. Just don’t. Coffee while on a backpacking or hiking trail is a luxury.
Pre-weigh your coffee in little tins or find out the approximate weight of a scoop of beans before you leave. Eyeball your water volume, and never look back.
I enjoy my morning coffee like any other person, and I am happy to drink ethically sourced coffee in almost any form. Good farmers and coffee distributors don’t always get enough credit for their craft. It is always an honor to support the coffee community in any way possible. If this means making cowboy coffee on the trail, then so be it.
A Recipe For Your Pleasure
Mass coffee: 15 g
Grind size: 12/40 on Baratza Encore. Think of it as a fine v60 grind.
Water volume: 230 mL
Temperature: 208 F
Ratio: apprx. 15:1
Total time: 3:40
Pour 230 ml by 45 seconds. Put on Aeropress lid upside down for time purposes (to manage temp).
Stir at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 (3 only if not getting enough agitation). Always put on upside down lid after stir. After 3:00 put on the lid the right way, then press downward until coffee is visible on the surface of the lid. Flip Aeropress around so that it is no longer inverted. Press at 3:15 until 3:40. Stop pressing when you hear a sizzle. Also, when pressing, you may have to twirl Aeropress to dislodge grinds from the plunger. Stir velocity: three cycles in 1-2 seconds.