If, like us, you’ve tried to spend every possible minute outside since the government let us out of our cages, then you’ll be no stranger to the idea of brewing coffee in the great outdoors.
The haters will say “why don’t you just brew at home and bring a Thermos?”. Let me just put my flannel shirt on, lace up my DM’s, and tell you why they’re wrong.
Brewing outside is fairly straightforward, but there are more things that can go wrong – resulting in a pretty average brew, or first degree burns. Don’t panic though, just follow these tips and you’ll be winning. Oh, and your coffee will taste better.
Firstly, get acquainted with an AeroPress – it’s going to be your adventure buddy. They’re compact and basically clean themselves down as you brew #lifehack. You can see our AeroPress brew guide here. It also means you don’t have to transport anything glass or ceramic (nobody likes cleaning broken glass out of their North Face backpack). We’d also recommend brewing into an enamel mug, for the same reasons as above.
You’ll want to take filtered water – in a nice reusable bottle if possible, preferably one that hasn’t had juice or beer or something in it before (as it’ll taint the taste of the water). We use a Jetboil to boil our water fresh, rather than taking hot water in a thermos. A thermos will still do the trick though, but beware that some of the heat will dissipate resulting in lower brew temperature. Always check any local restrictions on using gas/fire and avoid using it at all in very dry conditions. Make sure you take extra water to preheat whatever you’re brewing into because physics says they’ll lose heat quicker outside. Maybe take a jumper or coat for the same reason. Other survival tips are not included in this blog.
Finding a flat surface to tare your scales on the rugged landscape of Dartmoor, can often be more difficult than finding unicorn tears to drink. There are three options for weighing out your beans accurately:
- Weigh out your beans/ground before you go and put them into a small airtight jar.
- Take a measuring spoon with you (the one that comes with our Hario V60 Craft Coffee Kit has a max 12g capacity). https://www.roastworks.co.uk/product/hario-v60-craft-coffee-kit/
- If you’re adamant you want to weigh your beans out with scales, then take a flat surface with you (if you can fit it in your weaponry).
As always, we recommend grinding your beans fresh. A hand grinder will do the trick unless you have some strange solar-powered electric grinder. If you are taking pre-ground coffee, just make sure it’s stored really, really well (like in a vacuum-sealed time capsule).
If you’re grinding fresh then start grinding as close to brewing as possible, ground coffee is somewhat of a ticking time bomb when it comes to flavour. You want to avoid leaving it kicking around in the open as it’ll start to oxidise and lose the qualities that make it delicious…or even worse, it’ll blow away in the wind.
When it comes to water, it’s going to be super tricky to get your temperature right. The weather alone can cause enough fluctuations to make a difference, so it’s best to realise that you’re not going to get it 100% right. We have a bit of a hack for you though which might help. If you’re boiling water on a gas stove then allow the water to fully boil. Take your kettle off the heat and let it stand for 1 minute in a sheltered spot. If it’s really cold outside then reduce the waiting time to 30 seconds. If it’s the hottest day on record, wait for 2 minutes. This won’t guarantee the perfect brew temperature, but at least it’ll be relatively consistent.
Now it’s time to follow your favourite brew recipe.
Leave no trace
Whether it’s filter papers or coffee grinds, take your waste with you.
If you’re still not convinced by any of the above, then we can recommend getting yourself The Independent Coffee Guide, for the area you’ll be in! https://indycoffee.guide. It’s “the insider’s guide to the best speciality coffee venues and roasteries across the UK and Ireland” and we dig it!
Either way, you’ll be slurping #instagoals coffee in no time.