Cup of coffee
Hiking

The Quest for coffee while hiking

Coffee is something that should not be taken lightly. Not in normal life and not while hiking long distance trails. I have not found the perfect cup of coffee yet, when I do I may have found my purpose in life.

Different ways of making coffee on trail

There are a lot of ways to make a decent cup of coffee while on trail. I have tried a lot of them and have my favorite ways to do it. In this article I will go over a couple of options that I have personally used and like. Feel free to add any success stories that you have had on trail with the quest for coffee.

Freezedried coffee

Freezedried coffee is the one most used while hiking, everybody is familiar with the little bags of coffee from brands such as Starbucks, Nescafe and others. Here in the Netherlands the brand Douwe Egberts makes some good ones and I have used Nescafe Azera a lot in the past.

esbit alcohol stove
Making coffee with a Trangia stove.

All you have to do for freezedried coffee is to dump the bag in your coffee cup. Boil some water and pour it on while stirring. And your ready to enjoy your coffee. If you like your coffee with milk and sugar then a freezedried bag of coffee is usually your best bet. Pure for the convenience of having everything in your bag of freezedried coffee.

With the Nescafe Azera coffee I always take it out of its can and put it in a ziplock and in my food bag. This helps save weight and mostly pack space. I used to have difficulty finding Nescafe Azera in different countries and at home in the Netherlands while hiking. But in the last few years the product has become more available.

Cowboy coffee

Cowboy coffee is probably one of the easier ways of making coffee and does not require any special stuff to make it. All you need is coffee, a cook set and a mug to drink out of. The trick to making cowboy coffee taste good for me is adding a little bit of Cinnamon and letting it sit for a bit. In my case 5 minutes.

Cowboy coffee making
Cowboy coffee

You add a bit of cold water and tap on the sides of the pan. This makes the grounds go down to the bottom of the pot and you will have a mostly grounds free cup of coffee. You can follow along with the steps to make your very own cup of cowboy coffee!

  1. Put on 12 ounces of water or 400 ml to the boil. This makes 2 cups.
  2. When the water is boiling drop in the coffee grounds. For 400 ml I use 4 scoops from a spork
  3. Reduce to a gentle simmer and let boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the stove and drop in a swig of cold water.
  5. Tap on the sides of the coffee pot and wait for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the coffee in your coffee cup and enjoy!
Cowboy coffee cup

Coffee grounds are a very good way of scrubbing your pot clean. Because the coffee grounds have oil in them I always rub the grounds all over the pot before rinsing it out. This helps protect your pot while cooking.

Drip coffee with a filter

Drip coffee is everyone familiar with and how to make it. When camping and hiking you can use a couple of tricks to reduce the weight and trash you get from making drip coffee.

From sea to summit you have an attachment that goes above your folding cup. You can make drip coffee just like at home, the only downside of this setup is that you have to keep pouring water over it to keep it going. This is pretty much the case with every setup that produces drip coffee.

You can always use a bandana or a buff as a coffee filter when your in a pinch.

Coffee as a motivator

Coffee is well known as a morale boost and has helped me through some tough times. In normal life when I still worked in IT and plenty of times while hiking. There is something about a hot cup of caffeine to get you going in the morning. Or in IT at 2 in the morning.

It is high on my list when preparing for a hike, when going along Hadrian’s wall path I headed into a Tesco to get the good stuff. When in America I headed straight for the coffee isle when prepping for the hike. And on the Camino in Portugal I had a lot of stops along the great little cafés along the Camino. During a long day it can change your mood and get you to your next stop.

Your favorite way to make Coffee on trail

Everybody has their on taste and the same goes for coffee, I like deep dark coffee and I like the Café con Leche or koffie verkeerd. What is your favorite way to set a cup of joe on your hikes? Share in the comments below!

I'm Frank, the main guy and owner of this website. Loves hiking, gear and bushcraft. And can get quite nerdy about them. In the woods several times a week preparing for my next hike. Always searching for another hill, which is quite difficult in the Netherlands. That's why I search around several countries. More about me on the about page.

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