Fresh Ground Coffee for Backpacking

What if you are an outdoors enthusiast and also a lover of healthy organic coffee? The last time you went backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, walked the Pacific Crest Trail or walked around the high country almost anywhere how was your coffee? The odds are that you brought instant coffee and tried to forget how good it would have been to drink freshly ground organic coffee from Colombia. There are several problems with getting good coffee on the trail at high altitude and the first has to do with weight. Backpackers know that every ounce they pack in they either need to consume or pack out. And where can you plug in your coffee grinder on 12,000 foot Bears Ears Pass in the Wind River Range of Wyoming? Here are a couple of solutions starting with a light weight portable electric coffee grinder.

Grinding Beans on the Trail

Digital Trends has an article about how not to camp with bad coffee again.

For campers, it is all about that morning ritual after spending the night in a tent. Upon waking up to the early morning sun, nothing cuts through the brisk air better than a fresh cup of coffee. Rather than using stale grounds or instant coffee, the portable Lume coffee grinder provides the freshest grounds for a better morning. At just 22 ounces, Lume is the lightest auto-grinder available on the market. It’s roughly the size of a water bottle.

This portable coffee grinder comes with LED lights and a battery capable of providing twenty hours of light at night or ground coffee for 50 cups. While there are plenty of manual grinders for the trail this high tech machine is said to provide a more even grind. The early bird price is $59 but be prepared to pay $119 later on. Joyride Coffee provides a review of manual coffee grinders for backpack brew. They have two suggestions for manual grinders.

If you just have to have a hand grinder out on the trail, there are two that fit the bill. The first is the Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder, which actually boasts a ceramic conical burr and yields a surprisingly consistent grind. Another option, marketed specifically as a camping grinder, is the GSI Outdoors JavaGRIND Coffee Grinder. While I have not used it myself, it has a worryingly low Amazon rating, due to poor build quality and consistency.

Both of these grinders weigh 11.2 oz.

That is half the weight of the battery driven device and you will still have power on an extended trip in the high country. A drawback to coffee grinders on the trail is that you don’t want to get them wet.

Iodinated Organic Coffee

If you are hiking into Cirque of the Towers to climb Texas Tower be aware that the entire valley has giardia lamblia in the water so you need to treat the water you are drinking. To save fuel you will probably treat with iodine and put up with the taste. Because you probably don’t want to taste iodine in your freshly ground Colombian Arabica coffee just boil your water for coffee for three minutes and that will kill any giardia even if you are camping at 10,000 feet and the boiling point of water is 193 degrees Fahrenheit. The Spruce has a table of boiling points by altitude.


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