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The Beautiful Cup
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
The Beautiful Cup on 09/07/2010 14:05:43 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The Beautiful Cup

And full disclosure: I prefer my coffee khaki. It's so adulterated that Mike probably wouldn't deign to recognize it as coffee any longer. It's hard to live with myself sometimes, but then I make some more. MMMM!

Edited by addiebedford on 09/07/2010 14:42:54 MDT.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/07/2010 14:54:34 MDT Print View

Finally! The kind of beautifully illustrated, informative and humorously written article that I signed up to BPL for.

If I had to read one more article on yet another UL down jacket I was going to scream.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/07/2010 15:25:20 MDT Print View

Hi Addie,

Your khaki beverage is what we professionals call "gateway" coffee. Somewhere out there, in the hazy caffeinated distance, is an Addie savoring double espressos prepared by some half-addled Bozeman barista who's a WBC runnerup. Trust me, it'll happen.

As a coda to Mike's fine piece, a shoutout to Starbucks' Via. It has simplified my camp coffee fiddling considerably. Now, if they'd just come up with some bulk packaging.



Edited by halfturbo on 09/07/2010 17:22:10 MDT.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
coffee pod on 09/07/2010 15:35:05 MDT Print View

When i want some coffee while hiking i use senseo coffee pods

i put one in my cup, poor the boiling water on it, and press it with my spoon 2-3 times in 1-2 min.

but the sad truth is if i hike with more than a few days of food in my backpack , i skip coffee to save weight.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
use a sock on 09/07/2010 15:45:51 MDT Print View

i just use a merino sock in the morning ...

just adds to the taste ... there's a reason why i buy my socks black ...

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
The Beautiful Cup on 09/07/2010 16:43:22 MDT Print View

Not all that interested in exotic coffee in the bush (sad for an Italian...) but if Mike did an article on toe nail fungus (with illustrations) I would read that too.
No I don't have problems with my feet.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: REAL Coffee on 09/07/2010 16:44:56 MDT Print View

What's wrong with NesCafe? :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/07/2010 17:08:58 MDT Print View

I like a little bit of coffee with my cream and sugar. Still taking real grounds in the backcountry.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: coffee on 09/07/2010 17:19:19 MDT Print View

Good article, worth reviving.

Via is pretty awesome stuff, though Forrest McCarthy demonstrated good cowboy coffee the other week. He puts the (super fine) grounds in the pot before it boils, and boils it a wee bit. Helps accelerate sinkage, at the risk of (excessive) scourching. Good mixed with swiss miss for a turbo backcountry mocha on cold mornings.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: re: coffee on 09/07/2010 18:56:07 MDT Print View

Also agree with Via. Both Columbian and Italian are good, easy coffee solutions. One stick worked well in my Trappers Mug.

Last Spring my wife and I tried the Starbucks Double Shots in the can. Those are powerful! Fun for a quick overnighter when you need to hurry back to your transportation in the morning.

Thanks for an informative report. Great drawings!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
another + for Via on 09/07/2010 19:17:11 MDT Print View

instant coffee is easy and light (and usually crappy tasting!), w/ the advent of Via it makes it an easy choice what I'm carrying for my caffeine fix :)

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
The problem with Via on 09/07/2010 19:39:20 MDT Print View

Via is the best instant coffee I've drunk. That's the good news. The bad news? It's still tastes like instant coffee, a far cry from good cowboy coffee or French-press style coffee. There's an easy way to do French press coffee - get a Jetboil with the French press accessory. Maybe not BPL-correct but wonderful high octane coffee. And Jetboil is coming out with a smaller cup, available in titanium, that gets the set's weight down to about ten ounces or so. But the original works so well that it's in my pack even on solo trips.

Jason Knecht
(distortedaxis) - F

Locale: Earth
Nice on 09/07/2010 20:03:17 MDT Print View

Good artcle.

I'm really happy with my MontBells O.D. Compact Dripper. Again, not the most amazing coffee, but it works on the trail and I prefer it to the MSR drip filter.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Nice on 09/07/2010 21:33:03 MDT Print View

Cowboy is the only way to go if you like it strong. extra gear to carry and I always have fresh grounds in the house. And does the trick so much better after a night of whiskey and beer!

I do a handful of unplanned 24 hour trips per month; hunting, drinking with friends, out with my kids, whatever the occasion...I've never cared for backpacking food/drink menus that require buying stuff I normally don't stock in the kitchen or eat regularly. Much easier if I can just raid the pantry and cowboy it is.

Nice boing marks Mike!
I'm always bummed getting my new Climbing magazines and not seeing your work anymore...

Terrence Randell
(trandell) - F

Locale: Long Island, NY
Coffee concentrate anyone? on 09/07/2010 21:52:31 MDT Print View

I cold brew concentrated coffee for regular daily use using a Toddy Cold Brew System ( About 1oz to 2oz of my concentrate, diluted with hot or cold water does the trick for me. 6oz of concentrate weighs 180g plus the container to hold it, yielding as many as 6 cups of hot or cold coffee. You can use pretty much any ground coffee, but I find French Market brand tastes the best. The chicory does it for me.

If I can't have that, I use NesCafe, but I use the version that's imported from Greece. It's a bit stronger.

Bill (L.Dog) Garlinghouse
(WJGhouse) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Turkish Coffee on 09/08/2010 07:39:48 MDT Print View

Been experimenting with this process, and I am hooked. Cowboy coffee to the next order! The process usually calls for multiple boilings and is outlined well here:

Malcolm Pringle
French Press for Primus 1 l Kettles on 09/08/2010 09:42:30 MDT Print View

Critical article, but missed one of my staple pieces of kit:

Primus makes a French Press insert which fits several of their current generation of 1 liter LiTech Al kettles.

I use it quite successfully with their previous generation 1 liter pot, too. I know, a bit heavier than ultralighter's would consider with their Ti kettles, but the Primus anodized Al seems bullet proof. I've had 2 for *years*, and plan on passing them down to my grandchildren (but not soon!).

Also, one further important use for high quality coffee beans on the trail -- barter! After fully supplying the adult crew with morning Java for the whole of my son's 2 week Philmont trek, I had enough Peet's left our last night at one of the high base camps to trade the staff for 2 dozen doughnuts. Boy was I popular, both with our kids & adults, and the high base camp staff!

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Re: Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/08/2010 12:39:29 MDT Print View

"Finally! The kind of beautifully illustrated, informative and humorously written article that I signed up to BPL for.

If I had to read one more article on yet another UL down jacket I was going to scream."

+1. Well said, Joe. We need more of these kind of articles!

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: "The Beautiful Cup" on 09/08/2010 12:49:53 MDT Print View

Fun article with great illustrations!

I really like Java Juice and Starbucks Via, but they are a bit pricey. I wonder if there's a way to take bean coffee, grind it really really fine and fill those empty tea bags you can find in specialty stores with your own grind.

I didn't realize I was committing a crime by adding sugar and cream to my coffee! LOL Please - I beg you: don't call the Coffee Police on me!!

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Re: "The Beautiful Cup" on 09/08/2010 12:51:28 MDT Print View

And I agree with Joe. I was getting overwhelmed with the down jacket reviews, too. :)

David Dodd
(wdd39) - M
re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/08/2010 13:43:30 MDT Print View

It is not the very lightest method, but I strongly recommend the Aerobie Aeropress as a very portable way to make excellent coffee. It can easily be customised to hold ground coffee in the plunger.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Caffeine free substitute: Barley Coffee!! on 09/08/2010 18:03:19 MDT Print View

Nice, fun article, Mike!

If anyone is sensitive to caffeine, or likes a hot drink before bedtime without the buzz keeping them awake, I just discovered a coffee substitute: Oskri's Barley Coffee. Its an instant drink that, although does not taste exactly like real brewed coffee, can help those who need to do without caffeine.


Considering that it's not even coffee, Oskri does a really good job with the flavor!

Edited by T.L. on 09/09/2010 19:51:53 MDT.

Hoot Filsinger
(filsinger) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Well done article! on 09/08/2010 18:09:22 MDT Print View

I 3rd Joe's comments. Coffee is like sex. We all have different tastes and techniques but it can really perk up ones day (no decaf allowed) .

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Awesome -- even better on line on 09/08/2010 21:01:13 MDT Print View

Mike, if there were a tip jar I'd stuff it with bills.

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: The problem with Via on 09/08/2010 21:38:13 MDT Print View

The Jetboil French Press also works with the new GSI Minimalist :)

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
The beautiful cup on 09/09/2010 02:43:51 MDT Print View

Dang - I could barely read this without getting all excited.

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
Clelland never disappoints... on 09/09/2010 07:01:08 MDT Print View

and this is no exception.

After reading this, I went to our grocer to find the Republic of Tea strainer...instead, I found one from ForLife. Sort of in between the MSR and the RofT...cost $9, and weighs 3oz., and has a lid like the MSR

Jason Castellani
(TwoBackpackers) - F
So Many Ways on 09/09/2010 09:12:39 MDT Print View

Seriously, I never knew there were so many ways to make coffee. I honestly give it up on the trail, only because I usually keep myself so busy I forget. But, these ideas might get me to change my mind. Excellent read and drawings.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re "The Beautiful Cup" on 09/09/2010 09:49:42 MDT Print View

Try this on for size ."Combat espresso, on the other hand, is brutal. The creamer, instant coffee and sugar are poured directly into one’s mouth and then washed down with water. In 2004, I survived on those things for two weeks with a Marine company during the battle for Falluja." From the NYT today .

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: "The Beautiful Cup" on 09/09/2010 10:03:57 MDT Print View

Heh, hilariously hard-core, John. :-) (Understandable, given the circumstances.)

My standard "ultimate dirtbag hiker breakfast" challenge is a ground-up NoDoz tablet sprinkled on a PopTart. Nobody's taken me up on it...yet.



Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Thanks for all the kind words on 09/09/2010 10:44:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the kind words about the article. This thing was written a while back, and my system now includes STARBUCKS VIA packets. Yes, these are instant, but they are actually quite good.

Expensive, but VERY light and simple. These are also good cold.

Presently - I use these solo camping. Two packets per cup. But - If I am with a pal, I would do COWBOY coffee in the titanium pot.

Mike C!

Will Webster
Via or... on 09/09/2010 11:05:17 MDT Print View

Same shelf as the Ti sporks

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Via or... on 09/09/2010 11:20:09 MDT Print View

There goes my sub-10lb base weight.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Just to clarify... on 09/09/2010 12:03:08 MDT Print View comment about the abundance of UL down jacket reviews that seemed to become a weekly feature was in no way a sleight on the quality of reviews here on BPL (because on the whole they are very, very good). I just felt that they could have been tested and reviewed side-by-side in one article, freeing up editorial for more articles like this one by Mike (and his Groovybiotic article) and other highly informative, some may say legendary, technique articles such as the winter footwear trilogy, the one about winter soft-shell systems and the one about surviving persistent cold rain. These are the kinds of specific 'UL' articles you just can't find anywhere else. Just my 2 kroner.

Oh, and as for coffee, I like Ethiopian through a filter at home and use Via on the trail. I may put a sachet of sugar in the first one of the day. Forgive me Mike for I have sinned... ;-)

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Coffee Bean Storage on 09/09/2010 12:16:41 MDT Print View


What about coffee bean storage? How do you keep the ground beans as fresh as possible in the backcountry?

joy robinson
(yojiness) - F
great article! on 09/09/2010 16:46:50 MDT Print View

You are cracking me up!!! I just wish everyone was a coffee drinker so we can all share the deliciousness of it all!!

Not ultralight, but one luxury I afford myself are the single serving creamers (real stuff with no flavors added)that you can now purchase at the grocery store...real cream with my coffee outdoors and it could rain for days, I wouldnt care :)

Benjamin Evans

Locale: Atlanta
sugar option on 09/09/2010 17:58:04 MDT Print View

Not sure if it was mentioned, but sugar cubes are available in most grocery stores. These are great for just plopping a couple in a cup of java or tea. No need to measure out before your trip...just multiply cubes per cup by meals. I always throw a few extra in the ziplock for a late night brew or a particularly rainy day.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"The Beautiful Cup" on 09/09/2010 19:46:40 MDT Print View

x2 packs of VIA bold + Hershey's Cocoa + 1 powdered creamer single = Backcountry satisfaction of the highest degree.

Excellent article Mike, I definitely needed this one and enjoyed it fully.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: coffee on 09/10/2010 06:19:20 MDT Print View

We've taken Via on our last couple of trips. Easy and fast, tastes pretty good.

For extra coffee goodness during the day, I like to eat chocolate covered espresso beans. A very small handful of those puppies gets me climbing hills like nobody's business. Love 'em.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Re: coffee on 09/10/2010 07:00:11 MDT Print View

For the purists -
Kyocera ceramic hand grinder at 8.4 ounces :

In use:

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Via? on 09/10/2010 07:20:35 MDT Print View

I finally tried Via on my last trip and was underwhelmed, especially at the price. I am going back to my Instant Italian Espresso (Ferraro brand), really not too bad.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/10/2010 09:27:40 MDT Print View

Ditto on Via products. It is still instant, but light years ahead of the rest of the instant products.

Real coffee? A #2 Melita cone and filter that sits on top of my insulated mug and the resulting brew is the same as what I drink at home. This is fine for overnights and shorter multi-days. Cleanup is simply hauling the grounds and filters out with the rest of your garbage.

Cleaning screen type filters is a pain. Do you haul the wet grounds out or dispose of them in the backcountry?

Scott Ireland
(WinterWarlock) - MLife

Locale: Western NY
OutdoorDaily on 09/10/2010 09:30:02 MDT Print View

Just noticed at Outdoor Daily that today (9/10/10) the special is two french press mugs for $29,99. If you roll that way, not a bad deal.


j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/10/2010 09:31:54 MDT Print View

This last trip we dried out the grounds over the fire after using them before disposing, really cut down on weight and yuck factor.

(odarcy) - F - M

Locale: SW
What About Light on 09/10/2010 23:06:38 MDT Print View

One , I do not see any consideration of the relative weight of your various methods , so you might as well take fresh eggs for breakfast , they are good for at least 5 days ( do not keep too warm or to long or you might have to have fresh chicklet for dinner ). Point is that eggshells will sink grounds in cowboy coffee almost instantly . Also i think that if you double up on the VIA you will find that it is the very best hit for the gram . Lastly , comparing brewing methods to cafes in europe or any where else is totally bogus because here we do not have access to the same coffee .

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Starbucks VIA packets, etc. on 09/11/2010 13:03:33 MDT Print View

I now use Starbucks VIA packets and other brands like Taster's Choice have begun to make their coffee in the small packets.

I have also used the tea bag style coffee in years past. One AT thru hiker was so impressed (and coffee starved) that after sampling one of my Folger's tea bag coffees he made a detour to a nearby town to buy them. He caught up with us a day later - natch - and the next morning was happily brewing his Java.

At home I grind my coffee every morning. Now I fine grind my coffee before a backpack trip & put it in tea bags I get at a Whole Paycheck store. (Whole Foods) :)

Edited by Danepacker on 09/11/2010 13:04:32 MDT.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
via on 09/11/2010 13:10:52 MDT Print View

The wife and I have 14 oz mugs and split 3 via packets. It is good enough for us. The taste is fine enough to drink black (usually we don't)

The weight is tiny, we don't have to worry about creamer, and it is very, very easy.

I think via is the best answer. YMMV

Richard Colfack
(richfax) - MLife

Starbucks Via on 09/11/2010 15:20:42 MDT Print View

Ditto Starbucks Via Instant coffee packs. No extra equipment required, no messy coffee grounds to deal with, and a pretty darn good cup of joe.

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
"The Beautiful Cup" on 09/12/2010 14:07:47 MDT Print View

Cowboy coffee is so "in tune" with the UL approach. No gadgets, no special pots, no mess. I recently saw it finished with a shot of cold water to help settle the grounds (i.e. cold water increases the density of the grounds causing them to sink). While it seemed to work well in a large 12-cup pot, I have haven't seen it done in a cup. I'm on board with scattering grounds to the soil when appropriate.

Gustav Bostrom
(gusbo) - MLife

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/12/2010 14:54:09 MDT Print View


Great article! I really appreciate the thoroughness. Must go out and try the "Turkish Cowboy". My Bosnian coffee grinder needs exercise.

Jim Cowdery
(james.cowdery) - MLife

Locale: Central Florida
Nirvana on 09/13/2010 14:37:22 MDT Print View

Is a good cup of coffee in one hand and a microbrew in the other.

I just had that experience over the weekend....

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Fresh roasted on 09/13/2010 15:44:58 MDT Print View

One thing that affects coffee quality tremendously is the time since roasting and the time since grinding. Try to find a microroaster in your area and try to get it the day before you leave, whole bean coffee keeps its intense aroma and flavor up to a week, maybe two, after roasting. Grind it in the field if you can, but keep in mind that once you grind it, the quality is dropping by the minute, especially if it's ground finely...


Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Fresh roasted on 09/13/2010 16:22:28 MDT Print View

I roast my own. Can't get any fresher than that!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Fresh roasted, then Fresh Grind on 09/13/2010 16:49:34 MDT Print View

Kyocera CM45 Coffee Grinder

Kyocera CM45
Adjustable ceramic burrs. Holds about 35 grams of beans.
About 2.25"x6", with a removable handle. 8.25 ounces

Miriam Riner
(mariner) - F
chocolate covered espresso beans on 09/13/2010 16:54:03 MDT Print View

When I hike without a stove, I add chocolate covered espresso beans to my trail mix in the morning.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Kyocera on 09/13/2010 17:05:32 MDT Print View

That Kyocera is on my wedding registry. I hear it's one of the better hand grinders you can get. At home I've used what I thought at the time were nice electric burr grinders (~$65) but they're always messy, loud, and produce an uneven grind. I've always been disappointed. Do you have the Kyocera? Comments on it?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Kyocera on 09/13/2010 17:26:38 MDT Print View

I have had one for about 9 months. I grind for 2 or maybe 3 AeroPress cups a day. It is consistent when grinding the same roast. Change the roast and you will have to change the grind setting. (No real surprise there.)

I grind frequently so I don't clean it very often, but when I do, it is an easy task. Just don't drop the ceramic parts.

It is pretty quiet, but certainly not silent. I can carry on a quiet conversation.

The handle has a pentagonal hole that fits over a post. It is opening up. I just have to pay a little more attention while I grind to keep it in place.

It is a PITA when you have 6 people over for dinner and they all want coffee.

It is a satisfying morning ritual for one or two.

Edited by greg23 on 09/13/2010 17:29:02 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Kyocera on 09/13/2010 17:57:58 MDT Print View

Thanks Greg--yes, the (quieter) morning ritual is what I'm more interested in.

Not to bug you, but I've also looked at that AeroPress before. Care to comment on that as well? :)

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Kyocera & AeroPress on 09/13/2010 19:05:31 MDT Print View

I sent a PM to avoid even more drift here.

Benjamin Evans

Locale: Atlanta
excellent cup and oh so simple ! on 09/14/2010 14:04:06 MDT Print View

Aeropress rules !!

now if they would just come out with a lightweight trail version............

John Murtiashaw
(murda) - F

Locale: Ashvegas and beyond
My method on 09/14/2010 19:00:45 MDT Print View

I monkeyed up a method with a %100 cotton bandana stuffed 1/2 way into a nalgene, then wrap a hair tie (or rubber band) around the lip to hold it on. The nasty bandana needs its own ziploc, but I've had it out 8 days and no mildew. Fill to desired amount of coffee and pour the water on through. After using this method on a few trips the white bandana turned a really pretty caramel color. Another note, starbucks must be pushing Via really hard right now, because I was talking with a buddy about it nearby a starbucks counter the other day and the barista gave me a bunch of free samples. So go up to your local starbucks and start singing the praises of Via in a very loud manner...

John Murtiashaw
(murda) - F

Locale: Ashvegas and beyond
omission on 09/14/2010 19:08:38 MDT Print View

i left out the part about machine washing the bandana. Otherwise that'd be pretty gross

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
+1 on the Starbucks' Via on 09/15/2010 11:25:09 MDT Print View

I was using the Jetboil press in my Snowpeak 700, perfect fit and the lid fits too! but once I discovered Starbucks Via, there is no going back. It tastes great and the clean-up is non-existent versus the press.

Ross Ulibarri
(ulibarri) - F

Locale: Southern Rockies
cream suggestion on 09/15/2010 20:05:04 MDT Print View

I currently like Via for solo and Turkish cowboy for groups. I don't like drip methods because on high altitude, cold mornings, the slow dripping makes for luke warm coffee.

What I have to add to this thorough discussion is to suggest Nido for creamer. Nido is powdered whole milk rather than skim milk which makes it much more like the half and half I use at home. Nido is a Mexican product. I used to bring it home from Mexico trips, but now I can buy it in all the local grocery stores where I live.


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
nido on 09/15/2010 21:01:20 MDT Print View

good suggestion-I use a mixture of nido and hot chocolate to give make my via a mocha, I also use nido in my cereal as well- more calories and MUCH better tasting than normal dried milk

my Walmart carries it- a big tin will last me quite some time

Darrin Montgomery
( - F
Re: The Beautiful Cup on 09/16/2010 01:03:34 MDT Print View

I like steel cut oatmeal in the morning and usually just put the grounds in the oatmeal, both are chewy and a tablespoon seems to work longer than just a cup of brewed, although it takes longer to kick.

Thomas Trebisky

Locale: Southern Arizona
Well, I'll give cowboy a try! on 09/17/2010 17:51:56 MDT Print View

Just when I thought BPL was just one gear review after another (yawn), along comes something like this!! Even if it is recycled from the print magazine, and even if it clearly predates the advent of Charbucks VIA. Wow, what artwork!

I love my jetboil french press, but haven't carried it in some time in my quest for ultralight. I am going to try making cowboy style on the bush-buddy after reading this. Heck, I may try making cowboy style at home to master the technique (but patience is not in my vocabulary first thing in the AM).

So ... what is the word on VIA versus Java Juice?? At least I know where to get VIA, but may have to search for the Juice, but I won't bother unless there is a promise of superior coffee.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Cold Brew Coffee on 09/19/2010 09:16:15 MDT Print View

Ill second using cold brew coffee. Its biggest limit is keeping it fresh in warm weather, but it makes a delicious cup really easily, hot or cold. I use about 1 ounce per normal sized cup. Less bitter than normal brew, and has a sweet taste so sugar isnt necessary. I think the speed and cleanliness of it would lend itself well to backpacking, even if weight is a tad more. I suppose making it in the woods wouldnt be too hard either. I make a liter at a time at home in a nalgene, then french press it, transfer it to another bottle for the fridge. Any filter method would be just as easy. You can buy it pretty cheap from if inclined.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: Well, I'll give cowboy a try! on 09/19/2010 09:53:20 MDT Print View

"So ... what is the word on VIA versus Java Juice?? At least I know where to get VIA, but may have to search for the Juice, but I won't bother unless there is a promise of superior coffee."

VIA trumps Java Juice imo

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: Well, I'll give cowboy a try! on 09/19/2010 10:20:33 MDT Print View

"So ... what is the word on VIA versus Java Juice?? At least I know where to get VIA, but may have to search for the Juice, but I won't bother unless there is a promise of superior coffee."

VIA trumps Java Juice imo

agreed- so lightweight and and soooooo easy, but still tastes good- it's not going to match your neighborhood bistro, but for backcountry use it's almost perfect

jimbo jones
(hawaiicruz) - F
My thoughts on 09/20/2010 00:01:25 MDT Print View

Ok My $0.02...
Cowboy is the only way to go for serious coffee drinking ULers.
A few tips I've learned. Grind EXTRA fine and ADD THE COFFEE TO THE BOILING WATER, boil for one minute and remove from heat, at that point, add the powdered milk, or whatever to the pot (it will help settle the grounds). let it sit calmly for a minute and then pour. The first cup will have a few grounds but they will quickly sink to the bottom, after that, all the grounds will stay in the pot.

The whole trick to not spitting grounds is the fineness of the grind.

Starbucks via LOL

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: My thoughts on 09/20/2010 07:47:01 MDT Print View

"...for serious coffee drinking..."
"...add the powdered milk..."

I didn't know serious coffee drinkers adulterated ;-)

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
coffee on 09/22/2010 11:31:41 MDT Print View

Yes - I agree with what others have noted. VIA is superior to JAVA JUICE (and Javette, a similar product).

This has changed how I camp with coffee.

And I still drink it black.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: coffee on 09/22/2010 12:33:10 MDT Print View

^ coming from the author, that says a lot :)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: My thoughts on 09/22/2010 15:54:25 MDT Print View

"...for serious coffee drinking..."
"...add the powdered milk..."

Milk is for killing the harsh taste of Instant Coffee when that is all you are offered as a guest.

Real coffee is black.


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: My thoughts on 09/22/2010 15:55:31 MDT Print View

"Real coffee is black."


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Toilet paper on 09/22/2010 16:09:32 MDT Print View

1.Scatter used toilet paper in an appropriate area - bushes or brushy areas work wonderfully.

2. Do NOT scatter used toilet paper on rocks or rocky areas. If you are above tree line, pack used toilet paper with you until you get to a zone with living flora.

3. If you are in an impacted campsite, walk a long way from the site before scattering.

4. Never dispose of used toilet paper in a river or pond!

5. Don’t be lazy. Do the very best you can when you scatter your used toilet paper

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
SENSO bags on 09/22/2010 16:28:20 MDT Print View

I have to agree with a previous poster, I've tried VIA instant and it's the best instant (Taster's Chice a close 2nd).

But I still prefer SENSO bags for better tasting camp coffee without too much fuss. Remember, mornings are when groups like to polish of breakfast quickly, pack up and hit the trail. Time is of the essence.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Via vs. JJ on 09/22/2010 16:48:10 MDT Print View

Via suits my tastes compared to Java Juice, although JJ makes more per packet. You might prefer JJ to Via if you like a winey, tangy backbone to your coffee. That's not how I generally roll, but JJ remains leagues better than everything on the market that's not Via.

I somewhat prefer the Via Italian roast to the Columbian, but Costco can't seem to convince themselves to carry it. Lowest price wins anyway, since they're not that different.



Travis Naibert
(outwest) - F
homemade via/turkish on 09/23/2010 10:00:05 MDT Print View

For those who like Starbucks Via but don't like how much it costs or the small packaging I have created a homemade hybrid that is only a little messier, cheaper, and tastes about as good (maybe better).

Combine 3 tbsp turkish or extremely fine ground coffee and 2 tbsp of cheap instant coffee in a small tupperware. Shake to combine. Add 1 tbsp to 12 oz of boiling water. Stir or shake, depending on container. Let sit for a minute. Drink good turkish-like coffee with only half the sludge.

Feel free to adjust the proportions of real to instant coffee to suit your tastes, but you really don't need much real coffee to get decent taste. My method makes 5 cups, which is three days for me (first afternoon, two cups a day following).

tom duffy
(tomduffy) - MLife
another coffee toy from the japanese on 10/27/2010 07:11:14 MDT Print View

It is a disposal coffee drip filter. A piece of waxed cardboard holds the teabag paper pouch over your cup. At 10cents a paper and 2g you can show off on a weekend trip.... but not really a long term option.

Scott Chandler
(blueklister) - M

Locale: Northern California
VIA on 12/18/2010 21:40:51 MST Print View

I think Starbucks VIA French Roast is the best compromise out there. It's as darn close to the real thing as you're going to get, it's lightweight, it's easy to brew, and there are no leftover grounds to deal with.
On a side note, I like my coffee to stay hot enough I can drink it at my leisure, but I hate the weight of a thermal mug. GSI sells a thermal mug that weighs in at 3.2 oz. I had a slightly lighter one, but it leaked all the time and the GSI is solid. VIA and GSI have elevated my backcountry coffee experience to something I look forward to every morning.

Rob Lewis
(roblewis) - F

Locale: Northeast
Paint Strainer coffee or tea filter on 01/13/2011 16:07:09 MST Print View

I used a 1 gallon paint strainer, the kind that you stretch over a paint can. Cut a large enough circle to fit over the top of your drinking vessel with an inch or two hanging over. Make your coffee or tea Cowboy style then, place the circle of strainer over your vessel and secure with rubber band. Pour your beverage in the cup and the strainer is fine enough to stop everything but the liquid. It weighs almost nothing. Just wash it off, shake it dry and throw it in your food bag.

PS... It also make for a good strainer for your Platy water bottle. It keeps the larger crudlets out to speed the purification process.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
The Beautiful Cup on 01/13/2011 16:26:39 MST Print View

I put either coffee grounds or loose tea into a Tuffy Steeper from The Tea Spot. It is made of silicon and packs flat. You need to wash it clean after use or the coffee smell may not come out.tuffysteeper-lid-violet-new.jpg

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Peet's & Trader Joes on 01/13/2011 16:26:42 MST Print View

Your local Peet's Coffee & Tea has "#3 tea sacks" to put your loose tea in. their like large tea bags. Come in 100 count per box. Better than buying pre-bagged tea, as the looser the tea, better the leaf expansion.

Also, the two Trader Joe branded 100% Columbian instant coffee is VERY good also. One is organic.

Gary L. Thompson
(covah) - MLife
Cold Brewed Coffee and Starbucks Double Shots on 01/13/2011 17:49:29 MST Print View

I take cold brewed concentrated coffee or Starbucks Double Shots.
The cold brew Toddy system works; I have one but don't use it as it's simpler to just mix the fresh ground coffee with cool water in a container the night before and then pour it thru a filter the next day. I use a large Melita cone filter but you can use a regular coffee maker. Just pour the mix directly into the filter basket and let it filter into the pot.

Cold brewing takes a about 50% more coffee. for hot brewing I use 2 tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water. With cold brew I use 3 tablespoons per six ounces. This makes good strong coffee. It is delicious cold or heated. To make concentrated coffee I go to 12 tablespoons per six ounces of water and then add add three parts water to one part concentrate. The concentrate will last for at least three days as long as it doesn't get over 65 degrees F. Many people claim it will last longer but I think it degrades. Bear in mind I like my coffee strong; most people could dilute the concentrate five to one and be satisfied.

Starbucks Double Shots also rock as a quick, tasty and easy way to get your caffeine fix.

Cowboy coffee only in an emergency.

Hope this helps you get your buzz! Gary

Urs Stotz
(stotz) - MLife

Locale: South at the foot of the Jura
More UL: Prepare the coffee direct in a cup likewiese a turkish coffee on 02/05/2011 17:57:42 MST Print View

A nice article but there is one simple missing and UL way in this article.
Prepare the coffee direct in a cup likewiese a turkish coffee.
I use my Snow Peak Titanium Single 300 Cup (single wall) for this.

1. fill two spoon coffee into the cup
2. fill the cup 3/4 with water
3. mix the coffee in the water
4. put the cup on the cooker
5. heat up on a small flame the coffee (small as possible)

The coffee in the water bubbled up to the top.
There the coffee is swimming on the water as a closed film.
This is the most importest thing, the coffee should never cooking under.
Otherwise the coffee get boiled over, from this kind of coffee you get nervous.
After 4-5 minutes you will see the coffee film will get lifted some,
sometime it get lifted like a bubble.
Now take the cup from your cooker.
Mix all under in the cup with you spoon.
Now there will be some foam of coffee on the coffee' surface.
Siphon this foam with your spoon off.
This foam holds the coffe powder back that it cant sink to ground.

The coffee is ready.


Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: More UL: Prepare the coffee direct in a cup likewiese a turkish coffee on 02/05/2011 18:20:38 MST Print View

If VIA was made by any other maker it would be taking over the coffee world.

Urs Stotz
(stotz) - MLife

Locale: South at the foot of the Jura
Re: More UL: Prepare the coffee direct in a cup likewiese a turkish coffee on 02/27/2011 01:51:40 MST Print View

I have documented: "boil coffee direct in a cup" on following link:
This artikel is written in German but with all this pictures I hope it is self-explaining.

Some of the pictures:

The packed cooking set:
The packed cooking set:

The Snow Peak Ti-Single 300 Cup FH find place in the BushBuddy:
The Snow Peak Ti-Single 300 Cup FH find place in the BushBuddy:

The hole cooking set:
The hole cooking set:

3 spoon of coffee:
3 spoon of coffee

Fill up 3/4 with water:
Fill up 3/4 with water:

Mix the coffee under the water
Mix the coffee under the water:

Boil the coffee slowly on the cooker:
Boil the coffee slowly on the cooker:

Now you see the coffee is ready:
Now you see the coffee is ready:
Importent: Don't boil the coffee under the cooking water, or you get a coffee from them you get nervous.

Mix all under:
Mix all under:

Take a way the foam of coffee on the coffee' surface:
Take a way the foam of coffee on the coffee' surface:

Now you can trink the coffee:
Now you can trink the coffee:

Wash up your cup:
Wash up your cup:



Edited by stotz on 02/27/2011 02:50:57 MST.

george baumgardner
(baumgardner) - F
coffee on 03/09/2011 19:06:06 MST Print View

Areopress makes the coolest packable espresso device imaginable. Worth carrying for two or more, one if you are a serious coffee buff. It's like a big syringe, just make sure your cup is strong and wide enough for the roughly two and a half inch device to sit upon. No steamed milk but hey, that's for sissies.

Chris Schmidt
(christo60) - M

Locale: Midwest (Ozarks)
For those who like their coffee light: powdered whole milk on 04/04/2011 12:49:56 MDT Print View

Nestle makes a full-fat powdered milk called "Nido". It is sold as baby food and is much tastier than all the non-fat stuff sold in the supermarket. I use it in my coffee and also in a lot of meals. It is great to put a spoonful in with granola, shake it up and have a real bowl of cold cereal in the morning (with the coffee).

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: For those who like their coffee light: powdered whole milk on 04/04/2011 20:05:53 MDT Print View

Yeah, I like a little bit of coffee with my cream and sugar.

With a Montbell OD dripper and Nido=bliss

Edited by kthompson on 04/04/2011 20:09:27 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
coffee bump on 01/03/2012 13:21:13 MST Print View

As an antidote to Via fatigue (too expensive, just not good enough) I've been using the turkish mini-nalgene method lately, with excellent results. Highly recommended, and in winter (when I'd have the nalgene anyway) it adds almost no net weight.