There’s about a zillion gadgets out there to make coffee with. Unfortunately, most of these require kitchen cabinet space and have no business in your outdoors gear. The bit of equipment on the market designed for making coffee in the outdoors is limited at best. There’s ‘in cup’ filters, coffee ‘tea bags’, French presses, and even a few 12 volt coffee pots to plug in your car. Of the one’s I’ve tried, I’ve never been satisfied. As such, I’ve resigned myself to either making cowboy coffee with only hot water and grinds, or the coffee ‘tea bags.’ The former is messy and stays in the cracks of your teeth for the remainder of the trip. The latter is weak and tasteless. But a recent brainstorming session between my Dad and I may have solved this problem.
The solution to camp and trail coffee came in the form of this little tea infuser. It’s basically a safety pin design with a mesh ball on the end of it. Squeeze the safety pin, and the ball opens up like Pac-Man. Fill with your coffee, and steep in hot water. The hot water part is the make or break part. Warm water just won’t cut it to make coffee with in this way. Heck, warm water just doesn’t cut it for coffee at all. So make sure you have a good rolling boil when you drop in the infuser. I like to let it steep for a minute or two. In a rolling boil, in only takes a few seconds of steeping to make your water look like coffee. But it takes at least a minute to make a tasty cup of coffee, two minutes or so will get you a strong cup of the good stuff.
Fair warning, expect a little film on the top of your coffee. There’s no paper filter here to remove the fat from the coffee bean, so you’re getting coffee just like nature intended. You can also expect a little grit at the bottom of your cup. This can be reduced by using coarse ground coffee, but it doesn’t bother me a bit.
Coffee is the make it or break it accouterment to any trip in the outdoors. A good cup of joe can turn a good camp out into a great one. The tea infuser is a simple and effective way to make a great cup of the black stuff while you’re out on the trail or climbing out of the tent. It’s stainless, so it cleans up easily. It can be picked up for under $3 at most online shops. I got mine from a World Market for $2.99 and I’ve seen them at grocery stores for comparable prices. So go pick one up, drop a Zip-Lock bag of community coffee in your pack, and hit the trail. It’ll make your next trip better. Guaranteed.
Editor’s Note: We looked on the net and found one site that sells different tea infusers (as they like to call them) at http://www.fantes.com/tea-infusers.html . We also found one like Luke describes on this page.