Best Practices When Brewing Coffee Outdoors

Photo by Elizabeth Zernetska:

Most people brew their coffee in the comfort of their homes, but sometimes we go outside for camping and other activities and have to prepare the coffee here too.

When outdoors, you still want to enjoy your well-prepared cup of coffee. Thankfully, it’s possible to do it.

By observing these best practices you will ensure that your coffee is excellent or even better tasting than the one you often prepare at home.

Use metal mesh filters to ensure no grounds enter your brew after brewing.

Filtering your coffee ensures that you enjoy it without pesky grounds floating around. Whilepaper filters are convenient, they tend to break down, spoil everything, or even get torn during transit.

To counter that, you want to opt for metal filters to do the job because they are robust and durable.

These filters are also reusable therefore giving you value for money.

When shopping for a mesh coffee filter, pay attention to the size and shape to ensure that it fits your coffee maker. 

Additionally, consider the material of the filter - some are made from stainless steel, while others are made from gold or other metals.

Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks, so do your research to find the best option for you.

For a great experience and have peace of mind that your filters will last for a long time, get them from or any other reputable store. 

Store coffee in an airtight container away from light and heat

Coffee beans contain caffeine and other ingredients sensitive to heat, light, and oxygen exposure. The more time that passes before your coffee is brewed, the less flavorful it will be due to these factors.

By storing your beans in an airtight container away from light and heat, you can ensure that they stay fresher for longer periods, which means better-tasting coffee.

Brew away from the wind.

When brewing coffee outside, ensure you are sheltered from the wind. A good rule of thumb is to find a place with some windbreak or barrier. This can be a wall, a tree, or even a tiny hill.

Whatever you do, ensure that something is sheltering you to avoid coffee splattering.

Unless you’re looking for a challenge, in which case, go ahead and brew in the middle of a hurricane if you want. But if you are like most people camping, brew away from any strong winds.

Bring a kettle

A kettle is an integral part of brewing coffee outdoors. Water must be boiled before making your first cup of coffee. 

You will also need it to bring the water to the right temperature for brewing. That said, consider getting a kettle with a whistle because it will alert you that your water is ready, even if you are far from it.

While at it, ensure that your kettle is large enough to hold water for all your cups of coffee. 

Having to go back and forth from your camping spot to get more water every time you want to make a cup of coffee is not fun. 

If you don’t get a large kettle, consider coming with two or smaller ones, so you don’t run up and down when brewing your coffee outside.

Find a flat surface and level ground

There is no guarantee that your campsite will be on level ground, and that’s okay. However, if this is the case, your campfire will also likely be on uneven ground. In turn, your brewing pot will be uneven as well.

As you can imagine, this will leave you with half-brewed coffee that is too strong or too weak based on where your pot sat.

Besides, chances are that your pot of coffee will tip and fall when placed on uneven ground. 

For a better experience, find even ground to set up your campfire.

Stir continuously while brewing.

Stirring ensures that all the coffee grounds are evenly saturated with water, which in turn helps extract the best flavor from them. 

By stirring continuously, you will also ensure that your coffee doesn’t get over-extracted or burnt, which can happen if you leave it unattended for too long.

Avoid using water that has been sitting in a hot car all-day

Even if the water has ice, avoid using it if it has been sitting in your car for hours. Why? Because water tends to lose some of its minerals when placed under a lot of heat. 

As you can tell, this could affect your coffee beans negatively because the flavor will not be extracted as expected.

Rinse your equipment with hot water after each use

Bacteria and fungi live on wet surfaces and can affect the quality of your brew by producing weird flavors and aromas

As such, you want to keep everything clean by rinsing all equipment with hot water after each use. Keeping the equipment clean is especially important when sharing equipment between multiple people.

This also helps prevent cross-contamination between brews which can lead to unexpectedflavors.

Bring milk or cream with you if you’re making lattes or cappuccinos.

Even though you may not have room for these specialty items in your pack, it’s worth bringing them along just in case you discover that there are no good cafes nearby when you need caffeine or that your campsite doesn’t sell any milk at the store.

Keep your coffee warm with a thermos or portable burner

This is the most important tip. If you want to enjoy your coffee on a picnic, at the beach, oranywhere else away from home, you need to keep it warm. 

You can use a thermos or portable burner to keep your coffee hot for hours.

Bottom Line

Coffee is a great way to start the day or even end it, and if you’re camping or engaging in any other outdoor activity, it’s one of the few ways to get a hot drink. 

But brewing coffee outdoors can be challenging. You need to watch out for many things, from the equipment you use to where you set up your campfire.

Thankfully, by observing these best practices, you will enjoy your coffee time outdoors with minimal hassle.

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