The Side Road

Since Sam is recuperating from knee surgery, we thought we would write about an important topic for any camper – Coffee.  Coffee is an important ritual every morning for Sam and I.  I usually get up a few minutes earlier than Sam so I can start the coffee.  I love the smell, ritual, custom and quietness around our morning coffee routine.  When we first set up house together we had an espresso maker, coffee maker and Keurig.    People would often comment when they came into our kitchen, “wow, you really like coffee”,   It was slightly embarrassing.  A few years ago, we were on our way to the airport for a vacation and we had some time to kill so we stopped in a store that sells all sorts of cooking utensils and pots and pans.  They were offering samples of coffee made from a coffee maker they were selling.  I wasn’t expecting much; but to my great surprise it was delicious.   I had Sam taste it, and he agreed that it was really good coffee.  It is a running joke in the house that if I show any interest in anything he will ask if he can buy it for me.  Almost 99% of the time I say “no, we don’t need that”. This was the one time I said “yes, we absolutely need this coffee maker”.  The look on his face was priceless; I still chuckle when I think of it because I could have made a mortgage payment for what it cost.  Here is the beautiful part, if you want a latte′, I can make it,  want an espresso, I can make it, want a simple cup of coffee, I can make it.  It can do just about anything including your taxes; OK, it does not do that but it makes damn good coffee.  I was able to replace three appliances for one.  On our way home from the our vacation a week later, we stopped at the store and bought it.    It isn’t an exaggeration to say I love my coffee maker.

So enter the truck camper aka Foxy……and of course the topic of coffee was near the top on our list (right after how do I drain the black water tank without getting splashed, and right before can I run my blow dryer off the battery).  The key rule is to not run the generator to power a coffee maker.  We need to save the generator for important appliances, like my blow dryer.   We needed to make our coffee with the gas stove top.   Sam’s son is a bonafide boondocker and can go out with his jeep and a hammock for weeks at at time.  He is also a coffee expert and part owner of a custom roast coffee shop and he suggested we try an aeropress.   His coffee set up involves a pour-over.

coffee-3
Sam’s son coffee setup, pour-over.    Loyal Coffee – our gratuitous plug for a family member.

An Aeropress is much like a small french press with a filter the makes one or two cups at a time.  Seemed a little high falutin and I thought to myself, would John Wayne have used an aeropress sitting next to the campfire?  Contrary to the advice of others,  I thought that we would go back to basics and use a traditional and inexpensive approach.  We bought a hand crank coffee grinder and procured a good old fashioned percolator.    The first camping trip we got up early, and we ground the beans, we put the grounds in the perculator and waited with anticipation the alloted time.  With smiles on our faces we poured the coffee into our mugs ready to relax and savor that first wonderful sip.  To say this didn’t work out as planned would be an understatement as the first percolated batch was a bit like colored water.  We eventually muddled through drinking it by doctoring it up by adding a little milk and maybe some sugar which we never do but decided then and there this wasn’t the method for us.

After we got home, Sam did his usual internet research and after reading numerous articles and talking with several self proclaimed coffee connoisseurs (coffee snobs/hipsters) we broke down and bought an aeropress – we practiced several times at home and took off on our next truck camping weekend.  We heated up the water and followed the directions on the box and it was truly love at first sip.  We really enjoyed this coffee – no bitterness, smooth and delicious.  Its was dark and strong as we typically use a dark roast (Starbucks Italian Roast) because we both prefer the full strong flavor that type of roast produces.   This is much to our son the coffee snob’s dismay as he classifies all dark roast coffee as “Burnt” and should be treated as such.  He was right about the Aeropress but I’m not giving up my strong coffee.   I reminded myself that there’s no rules for camping when it comes to coffee, no campground coffee Cops   We still use the hand grinder – still want to avoid ever turning the generator on first thing in the morning (quiet is key).  But what fits us is right.

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Our traditional percolator; now used to just boil water, hand grinder and the AeroPress.   Perfect for us.

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