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Top methods for making amazing coffee on the road

Making Good Coffee on the Road [5 Brilliant, Easy Options for Travel]

It’s that time of year again. Time to get out on the open road to go camping, hiking, backpacking, or whatever other travel adventures you have on deck this summer.

If you’re anything like us, coffee on the road is non-negotiable. We know how it is. Not only do you need your daily caffeine kick, but you’re not willing to settle for anything subpar – no matter where your journey takes you. Whether you’re in the wilderness with no cell service or traveling in style in a new RV, your coffee is a comfort you can’t do without. 

So we’re weighing in with some of our favorite travel coffee methods. Brew a delicious cup of joe for a jolt of energy first thing in the morning, relaxing under the stars at the end of the day, or anywhere in between.

On Deck (Table of Contents)

Best Methods for Making Coffee on the Road

From simple to sophisticated, here are the top five methods for making good coffee on the road, over the campfire, or in an exciting new vacation destination.

1. Pour Overs

There’s no need to leave your fancy at home. If pour overs are your thing, you’re in luck because they’re easy to transport and use on the road. All you need is hot water and your regular filters to brew the perfect cup. Here are some of our favorite pour-over methods:

Practice your technique before heading into the wilderness to know exactly how much coffee to pack and how to use your pour over correctly. You can also buy a collapsible pour over, like the GSI Coffee Maker, if you need to conserve as much space as possible and worry about breakage.

Tips for Brewing Coffee Using Pour Overs

  • Use a medium or medium-course grind.
  • Heat the water to 200°F before pouring.
  • Use the correct ratio of coffee to water for your chosen pour-over device.

2. French Press

The French press is another suitable option for making great coffee on the road. If you want to make multiple cups of coffee at a time, this may be one of your best options. It only takes about five minutes, and you can find durable options made of stainless steel for traveling, camping, and backpacking. You can also find travel versions of the French press that brew directly into a travel mug.

To brew your coffee using a French press, pour your coffee grounds inside and pour hot water on top to saturate them. Once you fill it with the correct amount of water, set the lid on top to keep the warmth inside and allow it to steep for about four minutes. Then use the plunger to strain the grounds and pour a fresh cup.

Tips for Brewing Coffee with a French Press

  • Use a coarse grind.
  • Heat your water to 194°F.
  • Use about 2-2.5 tablespoons (or 14-17 grams) of ground coffee for every cup of water.

3. AeroPress

Making an Aeropress Coffee while campingThe AeroPress is one of our favorite methods for great coffee on the road. It’s easy, fast, and makes excellent coffee. Using immersion-brewing technology and pressure, the AeroPress brews a consistent cup of rich coffee in under a minute. It uses a filter like a pour over, so you don’t have to worry about grounds floating around at the end of the process.

An AeroPress is kind of like a giant syringe. It’s small enough to pack into your bag and made of plastic, so you don’t have to worry about glass breakage. We explain how to brew the perfect cup – no matter your location – in our “Ways to Make Coffee” article. Check it out if you want to give it a try.

Tips for Brewing AeroPress Coffee

  • Use 20 grams of coffee beans per fluid ounce of water.
  • Use a fine/medium grind.

4. Stovetop Percolator or Moka Pot

A Moka pot and percolator aren’t the same, but we stuck them together since the brewing process is similar. They’re both great options for making coffee or espresso over a campfire or stovetop. With these coffee makers, you’ll get a richer, fuller taste than the previous methods we covered. 

Choose from various sizes, depending on how much wiggle room you have in your bag and how many people you plan to serve on the road. Just keep in mind that these brewers can be pretty heavy, so they’re better for camping or RV trips than hiking and backpacking excursions.

You’ll fill the bottom portion with water for both travel coffee methods. Then stick the coffee grounds into the top part (the built-in filter). Set it on the stove or fire so the water heats and is forced up over the grounds to brew coffee.

Tips for Brewing Coffee Using a Percolator

  • Choose a large percolator or Moka pot to serve up to eight or nine people.
  • Follow the specific instructions for your chosen brewer.

5. Cowboy Coffee

You can always skip the extra travel gear and go John Wayne style. To brew cowboy coffee on the road, all you need is a small pot, water, a campfire or stove, and a drinking device.

Start by boiling your water over the fire. Once it reaches boiling point, remove it from the fire and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Now it’s time to brew your coffee. Add your fresh coffee grounds and stir. Let it sit for about four minutes, stirring once halfway through. After the grounds settle, you can pour yourself a cup of joe – as ground-free as you can get it. This process is called “decoction.”

Tips for Brewing Cowboy Coffee

  • Use about two tablespoons of coffee for every eight ounces of water.
  • Sprinkle a little water on top after brewing to help the grounds settle at the bottom of the pot.
  • Use a filter of some kind (paper filter, cheesecloth, etc.) if you don’t want to risk extra grounds floating around in your cup.
  • Pour your cup immediately after brewing for the best-tasting coffee. 

Coffee Gear for Your Next Adventure

Before you hit the road, try experimenting with a few different coffee methods to find the one that will work best for your trip. Regardless of what kind of adventure you’re planning, you’ll need these essential supplies to brew great quality coffee while traveling.

  • Filters: You may or may not need filters, depending on your brewing method of choice.
  • Beans: Choose quality, fresh coffee beans. Look for a local or small-batch roaster for the best coffee available.
  • Grinder: You can either grind your coffee on the road or before you leave home. A quality grinder like the Timemore Chestnut C2 hand grinder or the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder (which needs electricity) is an excellent option for a consistent grind.
  • Brewer: Experiment at home, and then pack your favorite!
  • Kettle or Pot: Don’t forget to grab something to boil water in. Our favorite is the Fellow Stagg Pour Over Kettle, which works on gas and electric stoves. In the wild, you can simply use a pot.

Buy Small-Batch Specialty Beans at Fathom Coffee

Are you looking for the perfect coffee beans to take on your next adventure? Fathom Coffee can steer you in the right direction. Our vast coffee selection includes something for everyone. Our single-origin coffees and unique blends are top-quality and ready to brew. Order your coffee online, and we’ll ship it to you in vacuum-sealed containers that keep your coffee as fresh as the day we roasted them.

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