The delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning is one of our favourite smells and whether we are camping or travelling by van, we always make sure to start our day with a good cup of coffee.
There are many things we can go without while camping but a decent cup of coffee isn’t one of them!
From instant coffee, to coffee drippers to percolators, there are many different ways to make camp coffee and in this blog post we will share 8 common methods.
1. Coffee Dripper
Using a coffee dripper is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to make a fresh cup of coffee while camping. Many coffee drippers found in normal shops are made from plastic or ceramic so are not very portable. However, some camping brands have realised this and designed coffee drippers specifically for campers.
Solo campers, couples or groups. Drip coffee also works well for campervans, vanlife and car camping.
Place the coffee dripper over your mug and insert a coffee filter. Add 2-3 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the filter and tap it to even the grounds out.
Boil water and when the water is almost boiled, remove it from the heat and start pouring the water over the coffee grounds in a circular motion. Don’t let the water level go higher than the top of the filter otherwise you will end up with some coffee grains inside your coffee!
You will need to pour water 2-3 times until you have your desired amount of coffee. Remove the coffee dripper and your coffee is ready to drink!
Rivers Silicone Coffee Dripper
We love this silicone coffee dripper from the brand Rivers since it’s high quality and it can be stored compactly in our van since it’s flexible.
We also included this coffee dripper in our top 45 essential goods for vanlife blog post.
Snow Peak Coffee Dripper
A popular coffee dripper with campers in Japan is this Snow Peak coffee dripper.
It’s made from stainless steel and can be folded when not in use so it doesn’t take up much space.
Kalita Wave Coffee Dripper
Kalita is a Japanese brand but this coffee dripper has become very popular all around the world.
It’s not very compact, but if you would like to make barista tasting camp coffee then this coffee dripper might be a good choice for you. It’s available in 2 sizes.
Coffee Filter Papers
If you use any of the coffee drippers mentioned above, you will also need coffee paper filters. A coffee filter paper is required to stop the coffee grains from entering your coffee and spoiling it.
2. Espresso Maker
Stove top espresso makers or ‘moka pots’ as they are sometimes known, produce strong espresso style Italian coffee. The coffee can be enjoyed as it is or it can be turned into an Americano by adding some hot water.
A good thing about using an espresso maker is that it has its own built-in metal filter so there is never any need to purchase extra paper coffee filters.
Espresso makers are usually made of aluminium and can be used over a campfire, however it’s not recommended since the handle is made of plastic and may melt.
People who love strong espresso style coffee. Espresso makers come in different sizes so you can choose a size which fits your needs.
An espresso maker has 3 parts, the bottom reservoir (where the water goes), the middle filter and the top carafe (where the coffee collects once brewed).
The first step is to fill the bottom reservoir with water. Next, add coffee grounds into the middle filter and place it over the water. Screw the top carafe tightly and heat the espresso maker over a low heat.
When the water boils, it bubbles up through the coffee filter and makes delicious coffee in the top carafe. It should take between 6-10 minutes for the coffee to brew.
Bialetti Espresso Maker
Bialetti has a reputation for being the best espresso maker on the market, it doesn’t leak and it lasts for generations.
We purchased a 6-cup espresso maker and if you plan to drink the coffee without adding water, then this is a good size for 1 person.
Espresso Maker Plate
Each stove is designed differently and sometimes the espresso pot is too small to fit on the stove top.
The solution for this problem is to use an espresso maker plate made from cast iron.
3. Instant Coffee
Instant coffee doesn’t always provide the most delicious cup of coffee, but it’s definitely the quickest, most lightweight and easy to pack option when it comes to camp coffee.
If you are feeling lazy, then instant coffee can be a quick way to just get the job done without a lot of work.
Hiking, bicycle travel, people who want to pack light and save space, people who are lazy or in a hurry.
Most instant coffee brands will include instructions but usually all that is required is to add some hot water to the instant coffee powder and the coffee will dissolve and it’s ready to drink.
Starbucks Instant Coffee
We were truly surprised at how good this Starbucks instant coffee tasted when we first drank it.
It’s really compact and great for hiking trips since the package is so small.
Blendy Instant Coffee
A well-loved coffee brand in Japan, Blendy offers affordable instant coffee that is great for camping or vanlife.
4. French Press
A French press coffee maker might not be the first thing you consider when it comes to camp coffee since they are usually made of glass. However, like with coffee drippers, in recent years some camping brands have designed more durable french presses specifically for campers.
Groups of 2+ people, campervans, vanlife and car camping.
Boil water in a kettle and remove the plunger from the French press. Add around 1.5 tablespoons of coffee grounds per cup into the French press.
Fill the French press with boiling water and reinsert the plunger. Wait for around 5 minutes before slowly pushing down the plunger. Once the plunger has been pushed down, the coffee is ready to drink.
Snow Peak French Press
The Snow Peak French press is a popular camping French press since it’s made from titanium and is lightweight.
This French press can make 3 cups of coffee.
5. French Press Cup
A French press cup works in a similar way to the French press mentioned above. However, the cup cleverly has a French press inside of it. Some French press cups are also insulated so keep coffee warm for many hours.
Solo campers, couples, campervans and vanlife.
Boil water in a kettle and remove the plunger from the cup. Add around 1.5 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the bottom of the cup. Fill the cup with boiling water and reinsert the plunger. Wait around 5 minutes before slowly pushing down the plunger.
This method is the most annoying for cleaning since there are many coffee grounds stuck in the bottom of the cup. We only recommend using this method if you have access to a tap for washing out the cup after using it.
Bodum French Press Cup
We like the Bodum French Press Cup because it’s made from metal and retains heat.
The cup is portable but not leakproof (so make sure you keep it standing upright). The cup is available in 3 different colours.
6. Single Serving Pour Over
In Japan, it’s quite common to find single serving pour over coffees in the supermarkets and it’s a popular way that people make coffee at home each morning. This coffee making method can also work well for camp coffee since single serving pour overs are lightweight and compact for packing.
Single serving pour overs are the next level up from instant coffee and can provide more of an authentic cup of coffee than instant coffee can.
Solo campers, couples, campervans, vanlife and car camping.
Open the single serving pour over and place it over the cup. Boil water and pour the water over the coffee until the cup is full. Be careful not to overfill or coffee grounds may end up in your coffee cup. Remove the pour over and your coffee is ready to drink.
Starbucks Single Serve Pour Over
Starbucks offer a variety of flavours in their single serve pour over range.
Starbucks is not the cheapest coffee available but we like the taste. Each coffee ends up costing around ¥100.
UCC Single Serve Pour Over
UCC is a popular brand of coffee on Amazon Japan and has many positive reviews.
These single serve pour overs are affordable and each coffee ends up costing around ¥22.
Percolators are known as the traditional way to make camp coffee and have been used for generations. Many people remember going camping with their parents or grandparents and them brewing coffee each morning in a percolator.
A pecolator has a long metal tube inside which runs to a basket where the coffee grains are. When the water boils, it goes up the tube and makes delicious camp coffee.
Small or Large Groups.
Remove the percolator apparatus and fill the kettle with water. Add coffee grains to the basket, (approximately 1 tablespoon per cup of water). Close the lid and boil on a low heat until ready.
The coffee will make a gurgling sound when ready and some percolators have a small glass window where you can see if the coffee is ready.
Snow Peak Percolator
This percolator is made of stainless steel and can make 6 cups of coffee.
It has foldable handles so is very portable. It can also be used over a bonfire.
This percolator is really popular in the USA and can make 8 cups of coffee.
The percolator is made of stainless steel, can go in a dishwasher and has over 12,000 reviews on amazon!
Aeropress has become a really popular coffee brewing method over the past few years since it’s innovative and delivers rich and smooth coffee.
It’s also quite compact and compresses the coffee grounds making it easy to clean. Many campers and travellers refuse to travel without their Aeropress!
1-2 people, Campervans, Vanlife and Car Camping
There are a few different ways to use an Aeropress coffee maker but a common method is shown in the video below.
Using an Aeropress is one way to make incredible camp coffee with minimal clean up.
We follow a lot of camping blogs and it seems that the Aeropress has become one of the most popular ways to make camp coffee in recent years.
Aeropress uses coffee filters designed specifically to fit inside the Aeropress. The Aeropress should come with some paper filters, but you can always purchase more if you run out.
Camp Coffee Cup
There are many camp coffee cups available but here are a few recommended coffee cups listed below.
Snow Peak Mug
This mug is one of the Snow Peak’s best selling products. It’s made from lightweight titanium and has a folding handle. It’s also available in 3 different sizes.
Thermos Insulated Mug
This mug can hold 350ml and is available in 3 colours. It can keep drinks hot or cold for around 1 hour.
Thermos Insulated Flask
We love using this Thermos flask since it keeps liquid warm for up to 8 hours and it and doesn’t leak.
This flask featured in our top 45 essential goods for vanlife blog post.
For some of the camp coffee brewing methods mentioned above, a kettle is require for heating water. Here are some recommended kettles below.
This small kettle is lightweight, compact and can hold 600ml of water. It’s made from aluminium and takes around 3 minutes for water to boil.
Snow Peak Kettle
This Snow Peak kettle can hold 1.8L of water so is a good option for groups or people wo want to boil a large amount of water. It can also be used over a bonfire.
Packing pre-ground beans is definitely more convenient but if you are using speciality coffee beans or want to experience the taste and aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, then consider using a coffee bean grinder for your camp coffee.
Snow Peak Grinder
The Snow Peak coffee grinder has great reviews but is on the expensive side.
What people like about this grinder is how it can be folded compactly when not in use.
Captain Stag Grinder
The Captain Stag grinder is one of the most popular grinders on Amazon Japan with over 1000 reviews.
We have made many videos about van life in Japan, check some of them out below.
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