My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

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My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby desertmoose » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:39 pm

Over the years, we have tried several ways of making coffee in camp (without a generator or a 120V supply). Percolated coffee was the standard when I was growing up, so I asked for a percolator for Christmas. Youngest boy and his family got me one of those blue enamalware campfire pots. The one that's real wide at the base. We tried it for quite a while, but never was happy with the taste. I think it's due to the percolator pump plate being so small compared to the bottom of the pot. Most of the boil misses the plate and can't help pump the water up to the grounds. By the time the coffee finally got dark enough, it had a nasty burned taste. Varying the temperature didn't change things other than the time to perk it.

Cowboy coffee left it chewier than we liked, even with the trick of a dash of cold water to settle the grounds.

A french press worked ok, but was slow and took a lot of water to clean up. That's a concern when you're mostly boondocking in the desert or mountains without a handy tap to get water from.

Coffee bags and instant/ freeze dried didn't have the taste we wanted. (putting it politely).

I tried running a small coffee maker off the solar batteries, but the power used was more than I have available. especially with multiple pots.

Next we tried a collapsible drip basket that sat on top of the coffee mug. It got closer, the taste was good, but took a long time to dribble the water in so it didn't overflow, and also got cold pretty quick from being exposed while dinking around with it. Also... we had to clean up more than once when the basket got knocked off the mug.

Remembering when I was a kid, the waitresses at the diner used to prepare a basket of grounds, and then dump a pot of hot water into the top of the coffee maker and walk away while it trickled into the grounds gave me a target.

Here's what I came up with,

First, you have the whole shebang in an insulated carry bag that Kat made for me.

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Here's the parts laid out. A thermos, the collapsible filter holder, a water pot, and a stand to support the whole thing.

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The first step is to screw the legs into the lower ring and set it over the thermos.

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Next the filter holder sets into the hole in the lower plate.

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The uprights plug in to hold the upper ring in position.

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Add the filter and grounds. Clothespins keep the filter from folding over.

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Another shot of this stage.

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Next, heat the water, I put the water pot on to preheat it while the water heats.

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Once the water boils, set the water pot in place.

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Here's a closeup of the drip hole in the water pot. You want it to drip fast enough so the water/ coffee stays hot, but don't want it to overflow the filter basket.

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We add an inverted bowl to the top of the water pot after filling it with boiling water. This keeps the cover out of the water.

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Finally, cover the whole thing with the carry bag. Now it's clear why it is insulated, it keeps everything hot while brewing.

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Now, you can go ahead and make breakfast, or whatever. The coffee brews, then drops into the thermos. It will stay hot and ready to drink for a long time while you are busy otherwise.

A few notes on development. I found the stainless pot at a garage sale. I'm looking for another similar one since I want to make another one of these for our other trailer,

The legs now screw into the lower ring. The first proto I made had then plugging in like the upper ring support posts... stood ok, but when you tried to move it, one leg always fell off. Threading them in solved that problem.

The hole in the water pot started out at 1/16". After a few tries, I opened it up to 5/64". this proved to be perfect. Water runs thru fast, but doesn't overflow the filter basket.

I made the support rings on my 3D printer, but carefully cutting them out of plywood would work just as well.

Bottoms up!!

Sam
(BTW, we call this the alien coffeemaker because it reminded us of the alien machines in "The War of the Worlds")
See our build journal at: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=45718

See the shakedown trip at: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=50112

More photos at: http://photobucket.com/horny_towd_teardrop
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby Sierraguy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:26 pm

Lately I've settled on this hybrid system for camping. An old plastic filter cone atop a thermal insulated press pot. After the coffee drips down I put the press pot top on to keep it hot.

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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby slowcowboy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:29 am

to do cowboy coffee just right you got to run it right that means correct boil no grounds on the sides of the coffee pot and watch the pot. if your eating grounds and your cold water bath is not working its operator error.............you wont hardly get any grounds in your cup if you run it right.........I suggest you get on utube and watch
a red river professional cowboy ranch cook show you how to properly make cowboy coffee he is world famous and his name is kent rollins.............

if done right you will like I enough to drink your coffee this way all the time and I don't even use my perk pots any more........

I think if your coffee is coming out chewy............your not giving the pot a long enough time to sit and let the grounds sette.............that pot after you pour in the
coold water has to sit at least up to 5 mins or better before you even consider pour out the coffee into a cup.............that cold water has to have time to work
and that's here folks mess up on cowboy coffee..........

It took me at least 8 pots of coffee starting at 1 am to 5am to figure this out and trowing 8 pots of coffee out ruined.............you cant let that sucker boil over with foam ether! that's instant grounds on the side of the pot and its ruined.........you got to take your time and get a slow roiling barely boiling roll on it...........and rushing cowboy coffee is disaster............I am thinking if your getting grounds in your cup...............its operator error as its easy if you don't have enough practice to mess a pot of
cowboy coffee up..............its a art till you get it down pat..........and it takes a lot of ruined pots to get where you get the right stuff down to do it right.

you should have no grounds in your cup with a proper pot.

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Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby slowcowboy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:32 am

for slow even at home no filters..........no perk pots just for friends that get sqwimsh so I keep one 2 cup one on a back shelf. or if I am in a hurry than I grab the perk one. I used to up to last summer do a perk pot while camping .......now its just the porclean boiler and yea lots of a heaping measuring spoon of folgers...........I prefer
folgers over Maxwell house............slowcowboy.
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby slowcowboy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:33 am

at walk the winds this summer I will be running a fairly large black 8 to 14 cup boiler. and I am on the hunt for a larger one with a handle.
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby slowcowboy » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:40 am

has any one treid colemans lates coffee maker it runs the fancy 80 buck regular coffee maker the fancy one not the one you set on the coleman stove burner on a coleman green disposable bottle and has a instant light button on it. its a hole coffee maker and they make a cheaper one to set on a coleman camp stove that's about 30 to 40 bucks.............both are regular drip coffee makers like your ones at home but they run ether on there own propane bottle so no need for solar panal or batterrys or a geny and they aslo the cheaper on just you sit it on top a stove buner on your coleman suit case stove............any one tried them........???????

slow
Plans. there was supposed to be plans to be followed when I built this thing. Opps! AH, gee, tum,tee tum. I think I forgot about the plans 2 years ago. ------Tow vehicles, 1995 ford explore, 1994 ford ranger, 1993 ford F-150, 2009 4x9 Off road teardrop, on harbor freight greatly modified frame.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby kudzu » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:33 am

Very creative solution. :thumbsup: It's a set up that could brew some great coffee. It reminds me of a homemade version of what I use at home. This picture is a duplicate of what I inherited from my grandmother. I use the glass globe of this 50+ year old coffee maker, as it's the best brewing drip coffee maker I've ever had. Though it took some searching, I found a thermal carafe that's a good fit for it. That gives me the convenience of the original set up but keeps the coffee at a good drinking temp:
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Not going to take a glass, family heirloom camping though. So I opt for brewing in a moka pot. It is also a 3 layer system & almost a hybrid of a percolator & a drip brewer. It heats the water in the bottom reservoir & forces it up through the coffee in the filter basket one level up & then finally it goes up a central tube, similar to a percolator, into the top reservoir. At that point you take the pot off the heat & I pour it into a big thermal mug.
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It takes about the same time as boiling water & water for cleaning up is relatively comparable to drip coffee. While somewhat less labor intensive to set up than your camp solution, I do have to remember to take it off the flame soon after it is done making coffee or I'll end up with the same effect as a carafe of coffee that sits on a warming plate. Coffee is a funny addiction. I've probably put more time & effort into trying out different coffee making methods for camping than I have on cooking food. :lol:
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby Redneck Teepee » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:41 am

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No need for all this, my recipe for good coffee is simply...... a good Stainless Steel percolator, clean fresh or bottled water and most important is the proper roast, grind and amount to fit your taste buds. Perk for 5 minutes let it stand for 1 minute pour and enjoy!
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiot's.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby JaggedEdges » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:44 pm

Yes, coffee is the sticking point here with going "non-electrical", these days you don't need much battery to give you LED lighting for a week, most gadgets are low power and can be charged or ran off 12V. Cutting the cord greatly increases site availability at a given park, and also greatly increases availability of other places to camp. I don't mean parks have a huge number of non-electric, might only be a third of the whole, but electrical are booked up months in advance, and you've got your pick of the non-electric even just a week ahead.

Anyway, nice coffee kit, looks good for when there's a fresh breeze, had an old stove couldn't even boil water on it's small burner "off season" when there was any kind of breeze, say when it was 60 degrees or less of a morning, so know how that affects keeping things hot.

What we have "tried out" but not yet relied upon is a 60s or 70s vintage drip funnel and pot, made coffee okay. It's a huge funnel, put the largest size cone filter in it and you only have to pour water twice to do the pot. However, the plastic in the funnel seems to be showing signs of age, and the glass carafe is somewhat thin, making us a bit nervous about it's survivability. Also would probably have that cooling problem in certain conditions.

Just aquired is a Mirro brand percolator, that looks like a decent piece. I can use it on the coleman stove, or a propane stove. Need to do some test runs before we camp though. What I'm hoping to do though is make a coffee kit based around it, that has a wind screen made out of coffee can, and a burner from a fondue kit, so I have a coffee setup that is portable, self contained-ish, can be brought on picnics, used on the tailgate as it were, that can be used with precautions indoors, well not in typical height small TD maybe, but under your awning. The idea being, roll out of bed, spark up the coffee, no fumble.

Somewhere though, I have an insulated pot, no hotplate, B&D 4 cupper, that I have been meaning to find out the wattage of. I have got this wonderful little power box that can run 400W for 2 hours, well, it's not so so little, but portable. Been wondering if that machine or a single cupper to travel mug type, could be run off that power box. I know 12V single cuppers are quite useless having maybe a 75 watt max.

I've seen those coleman pots, I stalk the shelves where they live at various stores hoping for a drastic markdown, LOL.

It does seem to me some kind of DIY candle, burner or even direct solar drip maker should be possible. I've got a dud machine in the basement I should tear apart to learn it's secrets. I think it's just making the small, free moving valves that enable operation as a thermo-siphon is the trickiest bit.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby rmclarke » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:11 pm

Nice McGyver there, Desertmoose!

I've been using a Melitta pour over gizmo when we camp, but recently I found this little goodie and I couldn't resist.


It was $12 bucks @ Amz. It does Kcups and comes with a 'fill-your-own' filter if you want. At home, water is heated in the micro; but camping, just use hot water from the camp fire pot, propane stove, whatever. I takes about three or four presses on the plunger and does require a bit of muscle, but all in all, I like it. Also does Kcup tea, hot chocolate, etc.

I don't use Kcups at home, but for camping, it's a nice splurge.

My $1 worth (I know...inflation)

R.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby JaggedEdges » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:55 pm

Now that is a pretty neat piece of kit. I was thinking as I came back into thread, whether one could jam a keurig refillable in the end of some pex hot water pipe and whether it would run through.

Only quibble with that though is that as with many single cup methods you tend to use 50-100% more coffee per cup.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby wagondude » Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:48 pm

Another option is the cold brew technique. Put ground coffee in a jar, fill with water, put on the lid and stick it in the fridge for a week or so. What you get is a strong concentrated coffee base that you can then put a little in your cup and top off with hot water to make a full cup. It takes a little trial and error to get it the way you like, but if you camp with folks that don't like coffee, your pot of hot water can be used for coffee, tea or hot chocolate as well as your oatmeal.

A lot of hotels are using frozen coffee concentrate cubes to make their big pots of coffee that are out with the continental breakfast.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby bamajoe » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:51 pm

Could do this to..
Makita DCM500Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Coffee Maker https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010FZDG82/re ... gxb6HRXPBFImage


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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby JaggedEdges » Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:12 pm

Two possibles turned up right under my nose this morning, went in the local branch of the place linked and found..

http://www.factorydirect.ca/Canada-Onta ... 04002381/0

French press always tastes too muddy to me though. Maybe I should get a coarser grind and try some again. Think I have a pot somewhere.

Then there was also this...
http://www.factorydirect.ca/Canada-Onta ... 55991021/0

Which claimed to only draw 300W, I think, the only place wattage was stated was on the Spanish side of the box. Anyway, 300W-ish inverters and power boxes are pretty common and among the cheapest.

Though I noticed another thing last night, while stranded at a relative's place, oddly, instant coffee and coffee whitener taste way better than instant coffee and milk/cream or real coffee and coffee whitener. Though not as good as real and real of course. I could quite easily put up with that combination myself, her indoors is a fresh black coffee freak though.

edit: seems best buy carries those better chef ones too http://www.bestbuy.com/site/better-chef ... Id=1613554

edit II: You know what, I had to try that again to check it wasn't a fluke, "emergency" instant coffee and whitener dug out, sipping it now and yah, for some reason it's as good as "indifferent" restaurant coffee, you know where they don't really care that much and buy a cheap grind, but at least make a fresh pot fairly frequently.
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Re: My take on making coffee in camp and the end solution.

Postby greygoos » Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:21 pm

Liquid coffee concentrate is taking the food service industry by storm. I have seen it on Amazon for home use. It is easy and there is no waste. I have done many tastings through the years and it is right up there with all kinds of brewing equipment.
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