Coffee. To say I’m passionate about it would be like stating I like beer. But maybe I like coffee more than I like beer, and I’m pretty picky. That hot brown liquid in most “coffee shops” isn’t something I enjoy.
When I was working for Apple many, many years ago, a representative from Aldus Corporation (that may take some of you back, who knows?) told me about a little coffee shop she found near their headquarters called Starbucks and I started mail ordering their coffee then. Who knew the company would grow to where they are now?
I wish I had kept my money in Apple and bought a bit of Starbucks, but that’s another story for another day.
Anyhow, knowing how much I like coffee, a representative from a company called Amor Perfecto reached out and asked if I’d like to try their coffee. That got me interested in writing a whole story about coffee on the road, specifically while boondocking, which you’re reading now.
Coffee while boondocking gadget
There are a lot of ways to make coffee, including the recent fad of K-cups. But the best way that I’ve found, which happens to be great for boondocking, is either a French Press or an Aeropress.
I really like the Aeropress because it makes one cup at a time and cleanup is a breeze. You grind the coffee (I have an electric grinder at home, a manual one for on the road) and then put it in the Aeropress.
Heat the water to 190° F and then pour and wait two minutes. Then you press down over your cup of choice and enjoy. Yum-o.
This makes a great cup of very strong coffee, but my wife will add water to hers as she’s not an espresso drinker.
The best thing about the Aeropress, to me, is that the cleanup does make it ideal for coffee while boondocking. You just pop out the grounds and you’re almost done. A quick rinse finishes the job and you’ve used very, very little water.
And, boy, do you get a great cup of coffee. The Aeropress is made of plastic so it travels well. While I’m usually not a fan of plastic and hot liquids, this seems to work really well and not impart any weird taste to the final product.
Using the Aeropress while boondocking also means that you can heat water in the method that works best for boondocking. We have a propane stove (with a 22” oven—none of this worthless tiny oven nonsense!), so we heat the water that way and use a candy thermometer to make sure the water’s at the right temperature. Yes, I’m that picky.
The coffee itself, for boondocking or home
I mentioned that I used to get coffee from Starbucks many years ago, but I’ve since stopped. It seems that their beans are just over-roasted and the coffee tastes more burned than anything.
Lots of folks buy blended drinks from them, but I should also mention that I like my coffee like I like my night sky—pitch black.
I got my bag of coffee from Amor Perfecto, who sent their Nariño coffee. Amor Perfecto is actually a family farm that not only grows its coffee in Colombia, but also roasts and ships it. The company states that, while typical coffee in your hands was picked 24-144 weeks ago, theirs averages six weeks.
The coffee I have been buying is from a small, Fair Trade roaster, so their story intrigued me.
The Nariño coffee they sent is a much lighter roast than I usually go for. I did what I always do and ground up a cup’s worth and went through the whole water temperature and brewing ritual that might annoy some folks.
This is a really good cup of coffee. I was surprised by how flavorful and delightful it was. This lighter roast did not lack flavor, and I thought it was rather complex with some notes of fruit and a nice earthy tone.
My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t very impressed. Coffee—like beer, relationships, colors of the rainbow and so many other things—is a rather subjective thing. While so many folks just drink what they’ve always drunk, I do encourage you to go be adventurous once in a while. I was surprised, though.
What I normally have been buying nowadays is from Thanksgiving Coffee, which is also a relatively small company in Fort Bragg, California. It brews coffees they get primarily from small family farms and purchase in fair trade arrangements.
My typical choice from them is called Songbird and it has a flavor that gives me a hint of blueberry. But Songbird is a fairly dark roast, as well.
However, they were out of Songbird, so this time I got a bag of Noyo Harbor French. It was a very, very dark roast that was a bit strong for my liking. I’m going to go back to Songbird when I run out.
A few years ago when we bought a bed and breakfast, we went and visited Thanksgiving Coffee and saw how they roasted the coffees and where they came from and all of that. I learned better how to make a good cup of coffee, which I’ve shared here.
Thanksgiving Coffee still delivers to the bed and breakfast my wife and I owned, even though we sold it seven odd years ago.
The bottom line
Coffee is like love. We each have what strikes passion in our souls, although a lot of coffee I’ve tasted really could be a simple substitute for licking the gutter. Or something like that.
I love the origin story of the Amor Perfecto and also like that they’re working to make the coffee process better for all involved. However, this comes at a price and a bag of their coffee isn’t cheap.
Thanksgiving Coffee, too, supports farmers, though I suspect the farmers are happier under Amor Perfecto.
Neither of these are the cheapest coffees you can buy, but I like the idea of helping support the farmers who grow this, so I vote with my hardly-earned money. However, I also know a lot of people who think I’m nuts, and, for the most part, I can’t argue that.
But the main takeaway from this might be that you don’t need electricity nor a lot of water to brew a great cup of coffee while boondocking, no matter what your preference. For us Boondockers, that can make a big difference.
I look forward to your replies!