Sampling campfire coffee options

by Linda Gabris | July 13, 2021
Close-up of a silver coffee pot hanging over a campfire.

There seems to be just about as many methods to brew your favourite cup of java as there are stars in the night sky. It’s no different with off-the-grid options. Here’s a sample of some of the methods and products available for making camp coffee during your next fishing or hunting adventure.

You don’t have to be a barista to serve camp coffee that racks up big raves! No bull, the biggest secret to making a great cup of coffee is using good quality beans so go with a trusted brand.

A lightweight aluminum percolator is ideal for backpacking, and since it perks faster than heavier pots, it’s a good choice for those eager to hit the trail early.

For a party of four, a 16-cup pot brews enough coffee to kickstart everybody’s morning plus left-overs for filling the Thermoses. You can choose a size (they range from two to over 30 cup capacity)that best suits your needs.

Connoisseurs recommend two tablespoons of medium-roast, coarsely ground coffee per eight-ounce cup of water, which allows water to “rain” more freely in the percolator. Finer grounds may plug the basket and darker roasts tend to turn bitter upon perking. You can tweak measures to suit taste. If you need a “fog lifter” add an extra table-spoon, for medium and lighter brews take it down a notch or two.

When going solo, single-serve brew options are the best (standard measure is 2 table spoons fine ground coffee per cup water). When weight and space are issues, opt for single-serve packets.

Coffee upgrades

Flavoured beans: buy flavoured coffee beans or make them by tucking a couple cinnamon sticks, nutmeg pods, star anise or other whole spices, handful of dried blueberries or anything you desire (fun to mix and match) into a container of coffee beans and store for a week before grinding. The beans absorb a hint of flavour and aroma, which transfers to the pot for a gourmet touch.

Mocha mugs: prepare instant hot chocolate according to package directions using fresh perked coffee in place of boiling water. Top with mini marshmallows and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Maple mugs: after a successful day on the trail and the guns are safely stowed away for the evening, it’s time to toast your good fortune. Fill mugs with coffee, add a shot of maple whisky, top with a squirt of whipped cream and pinch of grated chocolate.

Homemade syrup: boil two cups brown or white sugar and 1½ cups water in a sauce-pan for 15 minutes. Cool, stir in a table-spoon extract of choice (maple, almond, rum, chocolate) and bottle. A drop in the mug adds a sweet boost of flavour.

Originally published in the August 2020 issue of Ontario OUT of DOORS magazine.

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