If you’ve ever been camping, backpacking or spent an extended amount of time in nature, you probably already know that nearly everything tastes better when you’re in the outdoors. When your body is exhausted from a day of hiking in the sun or when you’re ravenously hungry, the level of enjoyment for food and drink go way up, coffee included.
Why is this the case? Some say that it’s because our senses are amplified as a product of our environment. Others suggest that it’s because our bodies need more nutrients on average when we’re exerting ourselves. Whatever the reason, we know from years of experience that coffee tastes better outdoors, but bad coffee is still bad coffee so we wanted to share with you the best way to make coffee while camping.
Our Choice: Single-Serve Pour Over
Our choice? You guessed it: single-serve pour over.
Are we biased? Well, as a company who makes single-serve pour over, of course we are. But we didn’t spend years perfecting this product because we didn’t believe in it. We did it because we believe that single-serve pour over is the absolute best solution for camping coffee (and hotels, Airbnbs or really anytime you travel). By the way, you can shop our single-serve pour overs here.
So yes, we are biased. But hear us out because we have reason to believe that our coffee is the best for camping, and if you have other thoughts, we’d love to know in the comments below.
Camping coffee can be much more complex than having coffee at home or in a cafe. While the main factors of brewing – ratio, temperature, grind size, time and pressure – still apply to camping coffee, there are other factors to consider when choosing the best way to brew your cup of caffeine while camping because we don’t have the luxuries of home such as a sink, trash can, or a safe place to store your beans. So evaluating the best coffee for camping goes far beyond taste.
The considerations we included in this are quality of flavor, weight, convenience, bulkiness and clean up, and while single-serve pour over doesn’t take the cake across all categories, we believe it is the best camping coffee all around.
Quality of Flavor
We absolutely do not compromise on flavor, and this is the most important factor for us. The coffee we fill our single-serve pour overs with are specialty-grade, 100% arabica. Even better is that they’re ethically sourced, fair trade and organic. When we started Kuju, we were tired of instant because of the lack of flavor that didn’t match up to the quality of experiences we were having in the outdoors, so flavor is one of the main reasons we created our single-serve pour overs.
Not only do we use high quality beans, but after sourcing, we roast our beans to the ideal profile to taste great in all weather conditions. We know that camping coffee cools down much faster when outside, so it was important to ensure that no matter the temperature, it still tasted good. No bitter aftertaste while still maintaining a full-bodied flavor experience. This is not true for all coffees. Our favorites for camping are our Basecamp Blend (Medium Roast) and Bold Awakening (Dark Roast).
Weight is one of the most critical factors for backpackers and thru-hikers. For camping it’s also important because no one wants to be hauling an excessive amount of gear from their car to the campsite. That’s why we love that our single-serve pour overs only weigh just around 15 g or 0.53 oz without the time-stopping pouch. 15 g is almost guaranteed to be lighter than any other coffee brewing solution that uses real coffee, and our pour overs are able to be so light because the majority of the weight is in the coffee itself.
Each filter includes 14.2 g of coffee and the filter itself weighs less than 1 g, so it’s a super lightweight solution for camping coffee. After brewing, the total weight increases slightly because of the water saturated in the coffee grounds. However, the water can be squeezed out or even dried if you’re really looking to cut down on weight.
Our pour overs are convenient because it takes out all the guesswork from making coffee and removes the steps where many people can make mistakes. With other methods you need to grind the coffee, weigh the coffee, use a separate filter and clean out your brewing device, but for single-serve pour over, you just put it on your cup and it’s ready to brew!
But don’t take our word for it. Below is how some of our customers have described Kuju Coffee in a recent customer survey:
"Convenient portable pour over for a great tasting cup of coffee"
"Convenient and better than most travel coffee setups"
"Great coffee that’s super convenient for camping/traveling"
"Easier than it seems to use, very convenient, and delicious"
"Convenient replacement for cumbersome bag of gadgets"
In terms of bulkiness, there’s quite a range when it comes to camping coffee. Larger french presses can take up just as much space as a small sleeping bag while smaller portable devices can fold up to pack flat. Some of the more portable devices can be clunky to use and we’ve found that they’re prone to breaking sometimes.
Single-serve pour overs are small enough to fit into your pocket without sacrificing the quality of flavor. So they’re great because they can fit into any duffel, backpack, pants, or fanny pack you have with you.
Lastly, we have clean up. This criteria asks how easy is it to clean up your set up once you’re done brewing? Since our pour overs are all-in-one, coffee and filter, clean up is simply taking the used filter off of your mug.
Other pour over methods require you to dispose of your coffee and rinse with water. The most challenging is the french press because it is difficult to clean out all the grounds into your trash. We also don’t recommend spreading your coffee grounds out in the wilderness because it doesn’t follow leave no trace guidelines.
So there you have it. Our favorite camping coffee is, of course, single-serve pour over. Next time you go camping, make sure to grab a few for yourself and friends knowing that you’ll have the best camping coffee option out there.