Thursday, December 16, 2010

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You Stay in the Filter

Though the Idiosyncratic Guidebooks boast the "clarity" of going without caffeine, sorry--not in the cards. Coffee is the world's most delicious addiction, and it just doesn't make sense to wean one's self off a warm, tasty, comforting stimulant just when you plan on doing a lot of trekking far from home. But coffee in the woods requires a strategy.

I refuse to do instant. It is not and does not taste like the real thing. Most regular coffee brewing systems are bulky or heavy or fragile or require electricity, and so are impossible outdoors. Lots of backpackers go for "cowboy coffee," hot water boiled right with the grounds, and then strained through some sort of improvisation, like a bandanna, or simply chewed. It's strong, but gritty and bitter, and almost demands that you carry sugar to take the edge off. (I don't normally put sugar in my coffee.)

The store-bought backpacking coffee kits promise amazing coffee through technical wizardry. Unfortunately, weight/bulk-wise, they don't give you much of an advantage over hauling your French press over the hills. They look like this:

Ignition... and lift-off!
p.s., Is that an antenna??
And they cost like 40 bucks. Doesn't that seem like way too big a deal for pouring water over grounds? Isn't there anything lighter, simpler, lower-tech?

I tested my coffee solution this morning. This entire blog post is to let you know what a resourceful genius I am. Here's the secret formula:


Or, to put it another way:

$4.99                           +                   $6.99

Just add water. Well, water and coffee grounds and a mug. As a bonus, this is the only way the coffee ultrasnobs at the snooty place up the street make their drip cups: one at a time, with freshly boiled water drizzled slowly over the grounds. If done right, it makes an excellent, full-bodied cup--one of which I'm enjoying right now. 

Coffee problem, PWNED.

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