If there was just one reason to carry an ultralight stove with my on the trail it would not be for cooking or heating meals, it would be for making hot coffee!
I don't drink a lot of coffee, I have a self-imposed limit of one cup a day, but I do enjoy my daily cup of Joe and even more so when I'm out hiking or on the trail - to me it is the perfect way to start my morning outdoors and the best time to chat with friends of just take in the beauty of the surroundings - I love it.
For simplicity and weight I tend to carry just a couple of packets of Starbucks Via instant microgrounds with me to satisfy my coffee cravings, but this has always been a trade-off of weight versus flavor - although the Via coffee is not and at all bad.
Sometimes though I'd be happy to take the extra time or carry just a little bit more weight in order to be able to get a really good cup of hot 'fresh' coffee, but I draw the line at carry any sort of dedicated coffee 'gadget' like the Snow Peak Titanium French Press - c'mon people!
Coffeebrewer 'French Press' Pouches
|View of the internal filter|
So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered the new Coffeebrewer pouches from Grower's Cup. They seem to be the perfect middle ground between carrying dedicated coffee-making gear and bare-coffee grounds and a bandana (cowboy coffee).
The concept is simple: A lightweight (45g), one-time use pouch for brewing the perfect cup of Joe while out on the trail, it's just taken a long time for anyone to figure it out and get it right.
The best way to describe Coffeebrewer pouches is probably as a disposable paper french press. Inside each pouch is a coffee filter, made of the same material used to make those boil in the bag rice packets, containing 26g of freshly ground specialty coffee. The coffee is actually ground inside the filter and immediately sealed to keep it as fresh as possible.
You can choose from some of the finest coffees from Africa and Latin/Central America with each individual batch of coffee produced in extremely limited quantities - Tanzania, Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Nicaragua.
Using the pouches is the easy part. To brew 3 cups of delicious fresh coffee, simply open up a pouch, pour in the hot water, let it stand (in the pouch) for 5-8 mins, and serve! Simplicity itself.
The clever internal brewing system is designed to preserve the natural flavors of the coffee and oils to enhance the delicate taste and aromas that would normally only be achievable using a real French press.
In Action on the Trail
I took a bunch of the CoffeeBrewer packets out with me on a recent weekend hike and used them to brew up some fresh hot coffee using my Backcountry Boiler, I was not disappointed.
The first thing to do is to get yourself some hot water for your coffee. I fired up my Backcountry Boiler and then got ready with a packet of Ethiopian coffee. You start by pulling open the two top edges of the pouch to expose the internal filter and coffee grounds. Next you have to pull on the exposed red string/tape to remove it and open the pouring spout.
The design of the Coffeebrewer pouch is similar to the popular freeze dried food packs that many backpackers like, in particular their ability to stand up by themselves. Before pouring in the very hot water, I puff out the base of the pouch so that it can stand up by itself while I pour the water - nice touch!
If I look inside I can see where the coffee grounds are, sitting in the attached filter material. Once the water is ready, this is where I pour it in. Then I seal it up using the ziplock-like plastic zippers along the inside of the two top edges. This not only keeps in the heat, it traps in the aromas of the coffee while it is brewing.
At this point you have a couple of different options to consider for making the coffee to your specific liking. For example: if you happen to prefer your coffee slightly milder, then you could let it brew for only 4—5 minutes. If, like me, you prefer to have a much stronger and assertive cup of Joe, you can let it brew for a full 8—9 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on the clock, you don't want to go to all this trouble and run a perfectly good batch of gourmet coffee.
Another clever design touch is that the filter is deliberately placed high enough in the pouch to separate the grounds from the hot coffee underneath. This halts the brewing process and stop the coffee from going bitter like it can in a traditional French press.
Pouring is easy to do using the small spout opening on the side of the pouch. And because the brewed coffee is separate from the grounds, which are trapped inside the filter, there's no danger of getting bits of coffee grinds in your nice hot coffee. Nice!
Even though these pouches are a little on the large size and weigh 45g each, I'm finding it hard to justify going back to Starbucks Via (4g) just to save some extra weight. The quality of the beans and resulting taste from these pouches is so superior to Via that I'm a convert. Also, don't forget that each of these pouches make 3 cups of great coffee, which would require at least three packets of Via (12g), or six if you're like Jason Klass who likes it strong (24g), to make an apples to apples comparison. That kinda closes the gap a bit doesn't it.
That's my new way to enjoy coffee on the trail. I highly recommend looking out for Coffeebrewer pouches and trying them if you get the opportunity. What do you think about these pouches and how do they compare to your way of making coffee on the trail?
Related Posts You Might Like:
- Homemade hot granola trail breakfast
- Trail Breakfast - Archer Farms Granola
- Liquid Biscotti aka 'Super Spackle'
Disclosure: Grower's Cup provided Brian's Backpacking Blog with some complementary pouches of Coffeebrewer for the purpose of this exclusive review.