Coffee never takes a vacation

Seven a.m. and I’ve already been on the road for three hours, headed for Gaspé. Somewhere between Pointe-au-Père and Ste-Luce, I’ve simply got to have a coffee. There, on the side of highway 132, a sign says Transit Café. I have no choice. I soon realize there’s more transit than taste in the coffee they serve, but hey ... and the rest is history.

Stepping up as humanity’s great saviour, I say to myself: “Am I the only one who’s totally revolted by the tire-juice they serve in these coffee monopolies (and yes, when it’s the only place within 150 km that sells coffee, that is a monopoly)? Am I the only one choking this stuff down because there are no other options? Surely not!” But no matter: I’ve never again been forced to enter a gas station in search of something resembling almost-drinkable coffee, and I thought I would let you in on my top three brewing systems for taking on the vacation trail. All three are pour-over variants that meet four important criteria for the coffee enthusiast whose thing is RVs, camping, beach balls or fishing trips:

-light carrying weight

-indestructibility to handle bad weather

-ease of preparation

-quality of the brew (or what’s the point)

Hario V-60 ($20), Hario Slim grinder ($40), Hario Buono kettle ($60) 

Hario V-60 ($20), Hario Slim grinder ($40), Hario Buono kettle ($60) 

Melitta 1-cup ($8)

Melitta 1-cup ($8)

Clever Dripper ($20)

Clever Dripper ($20)

In all cases, you’re going to need a source of hot water. A camp stove, a cauldron over a fire, a gas stove, lava ... they’ll all do the trick. You’ll need the right paper filters for your particular system. And, of course, quality coffee beans, a light roast to the extent possible.

Other than that, the method is simple. Use a 1/15 ratio. One gram of medium-grind coffee for 15 ml of water. For instance, to make 300 ml, use 20 g of coffee. Then, follow the steps below:

1. Rinse the filter with hot water.

2. Add the coffee.

3. Wet the coffee copiously without filling the filter and wait 30 seconds (this is the bloom, a crucial step that will be addressed in another post).

4. For the V-60 and the Melitta, pour more water gradually onto the coffee, keeping it flowing fairly slowly, so that the whole operation lasts 3.5 min. For the Clever, just fill to the brim and wait 3 minutes.

And serve!

I also recommend you equip yourself with some gear that will enhance your experience. The Hario Slim grinder ($40), made of durable plastic, is light and compact and allows a precise, reliable setting. Fresh-ground coffee in every cup.

For those who aren’t traveling quite so light, the Hario Buono kettle ($60) is a great plus. Made of tough stainless steel, it can be used on any heat source and gives you total pouring control.

And you’re good to go!

P.S.: Here’s a link to a video tutorial on pour-over technique: HERE

P.P.S.: Have a great vacation!