Camping is not just about being outside, it is about recapturing the joy in simplicity. To that end I present: coffee.
It is warm in your sleeping bag, chilly outside and the day is starting with sharp slants of sunlight through the shadows of trees on the tent. Nothing helps bring the sun up to warming heights like a good cup of coffee.
For us, my stepmother’s old aluminum percolator that I inherited has become a toy for our oldest child. We took our French press along last time and that is ok, it’s portable, easy to use, and produces decent coffee. But it is hard to clean and our glass carafe is just begging to be broken. So when our stove melted and we opted for a biolite replacement, we decided to try something new for coffee as well, an aeropress.
On the first go it took twenty minutes to get a cup of coffee. This involved leisurely setting up the stove on our porch, getting shoes, starting the fire, etc. It also took 5 extra minutes because my husband didn’t grind the coffee and get the aeropress set up until after I had the water heated up. I assume that we will get this time down and you can supposedly get water boiled in under 5 minutes with the biolite. I feel like 10 minutes or so is an acceptable wait for coffee.
A few thoughts on the setup:
1. The coffee is exceptionally smooth. The aeropress really reduces the acidity.
2. There is something very satisfying about using a wood fire to make your coffee. It is not for nothing that Prometheus was punished for eternity for stealing fire from the gods. Also, see above comment on recapturing joy in simplicity.
3. The whole setup is pretty compact. We have the biolite and the biolite kettle that you can store the stove inside. (Thanks again REI for your amazing return policy). The aeropress is tiny, way smaller than a French press or percolator.
4. The only fuel you need is some kindling. I really like the idea of not having to buy and pack fuel for the stove.
5. The biolite has been criticized as being merely a novelty item. But it is a very efficient rocket stove that streamlines a process that man has been using since Prometheus. I like it. I like simple good food and drink and I don’t need to be making soufflé while in the woods. We will see how the food preparation works and I will do an update.
6. The aeropress is quite affordable at $25. The biolite and accessories however is not. Ours was essentially free, but if you want a small stove that can quickly boil water and save on fuel it seems to be a good choice. Taking time to prepare food has its own rewards. The grill attachment seems to be well liked as well. If you just want to be able turn the stove on, throw a kettle on it do other things, look elsewhere.
All in all, I am very satisfied with our new coffee procurement system. I think I’ll even take the aeropress along to use in hotel rooms on an upcoming trip.
Getting a cup of coffee still takes a bit of time, but it is evolving into a family event. We ate breakfast outside this morning. Birds singing, apple tree blooming, fire crackling. My husband declared that he wished it could be a daily event, moments later we realized that it could.
Also, we ran out of cream, but the coffee is so smooth that I’m considering drinking it black for the first time since I was in college drinking black americanos from Seattle coffee shops.