Coffee. What is life without it? Coffee begins it’s life as a green cherry-like seed. These seeds are roasted to perfection using various methodologies to create the bean which makes the drink that millions of humans enjoy on a daily basis. We all have our preferred taste or delivery of coffee, and the same goes with the way we choose to brew it. When you are in the backcountry and far away from an espresso machine or drip machine, how do you make your coffee? Please don’t say you forget about it, because there is no reason to leave out your daily brew while bikepacking.
Maybe the first question is, what are the benefits of bringing coffee on your bikepacking trips? Besides that morning boost, coffee is a fantastic way to simplify your morning routine while out on the trail. The art of making a cup of coffee is far more rewarding in the brush than it is at home. Nothing beats a fresh cup of coffee with a view, and it pairs well with oats and many other common bikepacking breakfasts.
As far as performance benefits are concerned, coffee gives you that boost you need when you hop on the bike. It makes you more aware and focused. While many of us overindulge in coffee, drinking it in moderation won’t dehydrate you, something that many cyclists are worried about.
I personally think that it’s hard to beat an Americano, or just sipping on a fresh poured shot of espresso. In the past, I was always concerned with weight and bulkiness in my rig. Back in the day when I backpacked, I used a small GSI french press and brought pre-ground coffee. The thing never worked all that well for me so I quit bringing it. I would either bring coffee grounds and make cowboy coffee, or I would bring Starbucks Via.
That all recently changed when I purchased an AeroPress, the best darned coffee maker out there. When I first purchased the AeroPress I became slightly obsessive – measuring the perfect amount of beans to water ratio. I quickly grew out of that phase, and more or less eyeballed how much coffee to grind per brew. It seemed to work well, and I translated that to my bike-side brews.
How I brew:
I typically use the AeroPress inverted, or upside down. I found this to be the easiest, especially when you are camping. At times I bring along the Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder, easily one of the nicest hand coffee grinders. While it is heavy, it allows me to grind coffee to my desired specifications, fine or coarse. If I don’t have room for the grinder, I’ll grind it at home and bring a little ounce measuring scoop to measure the proper amount of grounds per brew.
I typically add two+ ounces of coffee grounds per AeroPress brew. Any grounds will typically do, but I prefer an espresso roast. I really enjoy the Sledgehammer from my local roaster of Camp 4 Coffee. After adding the grounds to the AeroPress I prep it for water.
After boiling water on the stove I add a small amount of water to dampen the filter on the AeroPress, which helps it stick to the strainer. I also add a small amount of water in the AeroPress, maybe an ounce, just enough to cover all the grounds. I stir the grounds with a spoon or spork. and from there I top off the water to the top of the AeroPress and install the filter and AeroPress top.
After about 1 minute of steeping I flip the inverted AeroPress and throw it over my Snow Peak mug. I push down and apply about 30 pounds of resistance in the end, creating a delicious smelling and looking brew, perfect for the morning and day ahead.
Once complete, I throw the grounds and the filter in an old Good To Go Foods container or any freeze dried meal container, as they work as a great trash can. If you really want to recycle, you can use the paper filter a number of times. AeroPress also makes a metal filter for the AeroPress which works for extended use. The metal filter is something we have never used, but would make sense for camping.
Be it extended trips, overnighters, or just #coffeeoutside – the AeroPress is a fantastic lightweight option for bikepackers. While it is a little bulky, we found that storing all the coffee and accessories inside the AeroPress itself saves space well. The AeroPress is also a fantastic way to brew your coffee at home, or even on your car camping trip. At $30 it is certainly worth a try, be it in your kitchen or aside the campfire.