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how to cut coffee weight
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Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: Re: Re: If it's just caffeine... on 06/09/2013 13:32:54 MDT Print View

>You gotta watch out for the Crystal lite Energy. We called it crystal crack. I don't know if it was the caffeine or the sugar or some mystery ingredient but it reduced a group of relatively able bodied thru hikers into to a bunch of night-hiking twitchy tweekers.

The stuff I had is 5 Calories, so there is only artificial sugar.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Crystal Light Energy ingredients on 06/09/2013 13:44:02 MDT Print View

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Before Via there was Pods on 06/09/2013 13:48:21 MDT Print View

You might be right about the MSR. I'm not sure if it would seep as well as I would want - possibly I would end up stirring the grounds for 4 minutes.

As for the via, I'm sure it is far above average, but instant is instant.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Coffee on 06/09/2013 14:44:29 MDT Print View

This contraption is called a Tea Spot. It comes with a lid which is unecessary and has been excluded from the weight which is 1.5 oz sans lid. As the name would suggest, it is designed for tea but works fine for coffee imo.

Here's a picture of it collapsed (similar to S2S collapsible cup:

.coffee collapse

Next to my SP 700 for scale:

.side by side

Seen from above. Tea spot has one scoop of coffee in it; enough for a very strong 8oz cup (forest crunchies in SP700 for added flavor):

.side by side

Steeping in 8oz of water:


It works fine in the SP700 with up to 12oz; anything more than that you would have to hold it. The only negative against it is that it is designed for tea so the coffee grounds can clog up the holes. I just hold it for about 15-30 seconds and swirl it to allow for the coffee to drain out.

Final product quality is indistinguishable from coffee made by a French press. I'm sure there is a similar product out there made specifically for coffee that might drain better but this works fine for me so I'm not in the market to replace it.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
+1 caffeine tabs on 06/09/2013 15:36:08 MDT Print View

If you're not interested in the taste / coffee experience, caffeine tabs or powder is the way to go. By far the lightest solution, it's also much quicker. I take one with breakfast and then another a bit after lunch when the food coma sets in. Just make sure to always take it with some food or water because it can mess with your stomach otherwise.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: +1 caffeine tabs on 06/09/2013 16:30:49 MDT Print View

Your post reminds me of an evaluation of white chocolate I once read - "perfect for those who want the texture of chocolate, without all that intrusive flavor".

@Ian - ouch, now I want to try one of those too! Looks very packable.

Edited by millonas on 06/09/2013 16:33:02 MDT.

Andy Anderson
(ianders) - F

Locale: Southeast
Cheap funnel and some coffee filters on 06/09/2013 16:31:30 MDT Print View

Just use a cheap small funnel and put a paper filter in it. Pour hot water over the grounds. When finished, throw the filter in the fire.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Cowboy Coffee. on 06/09/2013 16:50:18 MDT Print View

It may be dirty, it may take a little skill, but it's the lightest way to get a proper cup.

Caffeine tabs? Where is the joy?

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Cheap funnel and some coffee filters on 06/09/2013 16:59:17 MDT Print View

sure, if you like drip coffee you probably have simpler options. I carried some filter around with me years ago.

As for me, if I can't get an espresso with a good head of crema I at least would want if to *seep* for several minutes a la french press, and I definitely don't want to ever filter good coffee with a paper filter which removes a lot of important stuff, and would ruin it from my perspective.

I expect the posters above who are into french press feel the same. Still if I had nothing else I would still drink drip coffee. Not sure about the pills however.

@craig I agree, I think with minor variations all the (non-drip) methods come down to the same thing (seeping, then separating the grounds), with how to separate the grounds being the only substantive difference. Mike Clelland did pretty much cover it in his article.

There is a thing called a Mocha pot that can be used on a stove or fire that does a passable impression of espresso since itis actual pressure that forces the water through the tightiy packed coffee. If I could find an ultralight version of that I'd be ecstatic. But they are heavy, complicated, and take a bit of skill to use. I'll keep it for car camping I guess.


Edited by millonas on 06/09/2013 17:10:09 MDT.

Kevin B
(kedward) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Re: Cheap funnel and some coffee filters on 06/09/2013 17:36:07 MDT Print View

Paper filters aren't so bad. Just give 'em a rinse to knock off the loose fibers. French Press for me is all about convenience; you can make a big batch of solid coffee easily. A good pour-over tastes better though, in my opinion. In any event, ground coffee goes bad so fast that unless I'm carrying a grinder, I'll just drink Via. No sense in grinding up good coffee days in advance.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Hah!... The sound of a snob... on 06/09/2013 17:45:02 MDT Print View

All you Via haters: Maybe you're just not doing it the right way

Trust me... I'm a coffee snob in the civilization ;-)

Ken: Decaf?... Why would you even mention that hideous word! Sugar?...
Dave: You're using pregrounded, preroasted coffee...why bother with the coffee ceremony then, it's like worshipping a plastic god...

The most important thing when stuck with Via is to make a small cup. One package is for LESS than 2 dl.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Hah!... The sound of a snob... on 06/09/2013 17:50:05 MDT Print View

"when stuck with Via "

Life is full of choices. I choose to not Via

I forgot to mention creamer. A little bit of coffee with cream and sugar.

They all bought Decaf by mistake after Starbucks redesigned the package. Nobody noticed it said decaf. Hilarious.

I want more than a tiny cup of coffee. It's not Europe. This is the land of the never ending cup. Via gets way too expensive at 2-3 pkgs. per honking big cup.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Hah!... The sound of a snob... on 06/09/2013 18:02:06 MDT Print View


I was waiting for someone to say that. Everyone's spending a lot of effort preparing old ground coffee if they're not packing a grinder.

Also I was wondering if there are issues with seeping ground coffee at altitude. I know you need a fairly high water temp to extract properly - though that temp may be well below what's achievable up high. Can't remember.

I'm happy enough with my Via Italian roast in the backcountry for the convenience. I'll keep the French press at home.

Cole Crawford
(CDC43339) - F

Locale: Omaha
Re: Re: +1 caffeine tabs on 06/09/2013 18:02:28 MDT Print View

@Mark: Just wanted to throw it out there. It all comes down to your ultimate purpose in making coffee. I personally like coffee, but there are some people who don't like it but still want the benefits of caffeine while on the trail. It's not feasible to bring soft drinks, etc so caffeine tabs are the best bet. If your purpose is to get caffeine intake, those are the lightest, easiest solution.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: +1 caffeine tabs on 06/09/2013 18:14:03 MDT Print View

You could put a teaspoon or two of instant coffee in a granola bar or such. Maybe something with chocolate in it. You might not notice any bad taste of being instant coffee.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Italian instant espresso on 06/09/2013 18:29:22 MDT Print View

Been all around the block, filters, presses, MSR filter, Via. If I am not going to go all the way to fresh ground then the Italian Instant Espresso is the best, way better to me than Via. Ferraro is what I can get here but Medalia d' Oro is also really good.

Edited by abhitt on 06/10/2013 05:18:57 MDT.

Lachlan Fysh
(lachlanfysh) - M
Vietnamese coffee filter on 06/09/2013 18:30:03 MDT Print View

The Vietnamese use a style of drip filter / press called a phin, which will replace my aeropress for lightness. The coffee produced is short and strong and designed to be had with sweetened condensed milk (which I always have a tube of anyway :))

Requires a smallish cup, and preferably one you can see through (to see when dripping is complete). I need to find a little plastic translucent one before I take this camping. Branded coffee is available in 2x250g bag boxes, and you use about 25 grams a hit I'd say (tablespoon or so), similar to most approaches involving grounds. Obviously you don't need to use the vietnamese coffee, anything with a medium course grind should work.

Now the important part - the whole thing is very thin aluminium, and a solo one like this weighs in at only 50g with a 100ml or so max capacity. They also do bigger ones for group use into a pot for pouring that would probably make 250ml or so (of strong espresso). You could easily cut this coffee with more water if you prefer a longer coffee...

Even looking in a very vietnamese part of town I had to shop a bit to find the solo aluminium ones - group aluminium and stainless steel solo were much more common. The stainless is marketed as being 'better' for some reason (more weight on the grounds I guess, less flavour from the metal too perhaps..), but obviously I had different priorities. Anyway, I found them in the end for $3 each :D

If anyone is interested I could probably source more, but shipping to the US would make it less cheap ;)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Italian instant espresso on 06/09/2013 18:30:42 MDT Print View

i wondered when that stuff would be brought up. Never tried it. Should give it a go.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Hah!... The sound of a snob... on 06/09/2013 18:30:51 MDT Print View

Yaa Via is light, easy, tasty, potent enough to blow the doors offa any other system when also considering weight. Only bother is creamer. We usually buy the little single creamer sauces,but longer than a night or two its too much volume, weight, worry about popping, so we take the Trader Joes instant coffee which is much cheaper than Via and has creamer mixed in, but its less potent so we supplement it with a via packet.

We may just take Via and some flavored powder creamer.

In any case I believe that a french press+ beans, while better in quality, is not worth the weight when compared to the reasonably lower quality, but significantly lighter instant mixes. YMMV

FWIW I live in a coffeecentric area and am therefore, by default, a quasi-coffee snob, and Via gets the job done for me.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Hah!... The sound of a snob... on 06/09/2013 19:16:07 MDT Print View

"Also I was wondering if there are issues with seeping ground coffee at altitude. I know you need a fairly high water temp to extract properly - though that temp may be well below what's achievable up high. Can't remember. "

Good point. Espresso, which I think needs the hottest temp of all is best with around 185-190 F. On top of Mt Whitney water boils at 185. Yes I just checked, and yes I'm worried about the fact I just checked. So fortunately we are covered in the lower 48! Hooray!

My hardcore coffee books says you *must* make your espresso within 2 minutes of grinding the beans. LOL

Also the fresh roasted beans start to loose their flavors, and oils go rancid, after 2 weeks or so. Plus you should rest the coffee a day or two after roasting or it will be a little "fizzy" - it has to outgass a bunch of CO2.

However I think grinding just before you leave on a trip, and storing properly should come up to non-snob wilderness standards.

On the other hand I have a really nice miniature Japanese-made manual grinder with a ceramic bore (6 oz) on my wish list! I expect at some point there will be an article on how to achieve the ideal grind in the field by somehow using tent stakes, a UL swiss army knife and a rock. Maybe Mike is ready for a follow up article.