Tim got me started on this… I don't normally drink coffee on the trail, and to be honest, I have never really missed it. I do drink it daily at work, and Tim wants coffee on the West Coast Trail trip. I'm always up for a new "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" mission to squeeze into a spare hour here and there.
So what, are the options?
Attempt 1: Freeze-dried stuff. Easy, right? In England, we used to drink this stuff all the time – Nescafe. I remember coming to America and being disgusted at the taste of Folgers. So all I needed to do was source out some Nescafe and we're golden. I found, some, tasted it and bleugh.
Attempt 2: Coffee in tea bags. There is a great thread on this issue on backpacking light forums. Archer Farms (target brand) french roast pods are apparently the bees knees. One trip to target and a few taste tests later and…. less bleugh, but still pretty bleugh.
Attempt 3: Java Juice coffee extract. Available from BackpackingLight store at $1.27 a cup. Actually tasted pretty decent, but still not as good as the real thing.
Attempt 4: Cowboy coffee. Following this guide turns out pretty decent coffee. The grounds really do settle for the most part, and the coffee (using Cafe Ladro beans) is spectacular relative to the other options. OK… now I'm interested, I could get into this.
Attempt 5: ok… time for perfection. All i need it a coffee filter and bobs your uncle.
1: Buy a water bottle coffee filter from REI.
2. Whip out a hacksaw and hack of the plastic bits, clean it with soap and water and you should have something looking like this.
3. Load up the filter with 3-4 tbsp of coffee, bringing 2 cu of water to a boil.
4. Dunk the filter in the hot water pan. Note how the filter sticks out of the water.
5. Swish the grounds around a bit with a spoon so they are soaked.
6. Put the lid back on and wait 5 minutes.
7. Remove the filter and enjoy a spectacular brew.
The price of this perfect brew? 0.6 oz, plus ground coffee. I'm not sure if this will be a regular in my pack – but it might be a good experiment for the WCT.