Ahhhh, the great outdoors. Where we humans can get back to our roots, reset our circadian rhythms, renew, refresh, and enjoy the simpler things. There is a peace in the wilderness unlike any other, and after a glorious night sans man-made lights and sounds you emerge from your tent bright eyed and ready to take on a day full of…stop…wait…need.caffeine.stat!
A steaming cup of joe is the perfect complement for the brisk early morning air and the ritual of preparing it is an integral part of waking up for me.
I love coffee. There really isn’t any other way to say it. I may also happen to be chemically dependent on the caffeine contained within, but no matter. A steaming cup of joe is the perfect complement for the brisk early morning air and the ritual of preparing it is an integral part of waking up for me.
I like to mix up my preparation methods when at home; moving between a ceramic drip cup to french press to aeropress to espresso maker. In this series I will share with you some products I have used and loved and are very camping friendly.
Series Part 1 – FRENCH PRESS
One of my absolute favorite ways of preparing coffee at home is with a french press. The french press was invented in the 1920s by, of course, an Italian. However, popularity for the french press skyrocketed in the mid-90s and this simple way of preparing coffee was key in the strengthening of small batch coffee enthusiasm that exists today. French press coffee has a certain, hmm, how can I describe this, texture, that machine brewed drip coffee simply does not have. It requires a courser grind and tiny bits of the bean will actually end up in your cup. This is not a bad thing. It creates a more robust brew and, while not scientifically proven (that I know of) packs a punch.
The one downside of trying to bring your french press along with you into the wilderness is that most carafes are glass, heavy or both. Our friends at Snow Peak luckily have our backs and have created a titanium 3-cup press, woot! This press (http://snowpeak.com/products/titanium-french-press-cs-111) is small, lightweight and of course, easy to use. It’s also pretty darned attractive. It comes with a nifty mesh carrying bag and while a little spendy (around $55) it is worth the expense as it will last you for many years to come.
Here is my basic recipe for awesome french press camp coffee:
Boil water, let sit for 2-3 minutes to cool down just a smidgen.
While your water is boiling, prepare the grounds. You can grind on the spot with a manual grinder (like this url “http://www.hario.jp/pdf/MSS-1.pdf”http://www.hario.jp/pdf/MSS-1.pdf) or do what I have done and grind at home and store in a small paper bag to bring along with you.
Place desired amount of coffee into the carafe. I like strong coffee and normally I almost double the recommended amount. However, with french press I find that doubling the amount of grounds makes it difficult to plunge. Play with the amounts and find what works for you. (I use about 3 tablespoons in the 3-cup carafe) Pour a small amount (let’s say ¼ cup or less) of very hot but not boiling water over your grounds to bloom the grounds. The grounds will literally puff up. Without getting too science-y, blooming essentially improves the flavor of the coffee by allowing the trapped CO2, which is produced by the roasting process, to escape thus making the final product tastier. At this point, I like to give my blooming grounds a little stir with a small wooden spoon or chopstick.
After blooming for a minute or so, fill with the very hot water to the top fill line. If your beans are very fresh the grounds will likely be very puffy. Give it a gentle stir to help de-puff and top the water off to the fill line. Place the plunger contraption just on top of the grounds. Don’t plunge yet!
Let the coffee steep for 5 minutes or so. I like to start my mise en place for breakfast (more on that in a future article!) to distract me from having to wait for my coffee.
Gently press the plunger down. Do not force or you will have hot coffee in places you don’t want it.
Pour into your mug and chill by the campfire. Enjoy the lovely lovely morning with a well made beverage in your paws.