How to Make Coffee in the Field

Make Coffee in the Field

Coffee in the field makes everything better. One of the best morale boosters in the Army is a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning (or at least after stand-to). The extra weight of coffee brewing gear can seem like a lot. But, if you have access to transportation where you can get it humped for you, you won’t regret packing it. In this post, I am going to show you how I make coffee in the field. This is the best tasting coffee method period. I will include some easier methods at the bottom, for those that are in a rush to get their coffee fix in the mornings. I will also roll-up my coffee gear at the bottom with links.

What Do I Need to Make Coffee in the Field?

1. A way to boil water

I use a canteen cup as my boiling vessel of choice. I was issued one, and it’s usually on the 1SG’s packing list anyways. I always have my stove and cup for shaving, regardless of my coffee cravings. Pack weight is 8.3 oz. Click here for one on Amazon. Note: Don’t buy a cheap aluminum one they will get bent and warped under heat and wear and tear in your ruck.

Rothco Canteen Cup

I use an inexpensive ISO-butane stove by Etekcity I got off Amazon several years ago. The pack weight is 3.3 oz. It has worked great, maybe not the most high tech, but it works. Click here to check it out.

Etekcity Camp Stove

Don’t forget the fuel. I use the JetBoil fuel. I got several from Amazon. One 100 g canister lasts me 30 days boiling a full canteen cup of water. The pack weight is exactly 7 oz. I use half the cup for shaving and the other half for coffee. Click here to get some on Amazon.

Jet Boil Fuel

2. Aeropress

There are several ways to make coffee, but I have found the aeropress to be one of the best. Some Soldiers have the portable french press all-in-one devices from JetBoil. They work well also, but will run you at least $100, I’m too cheap for that. I am going to talk through the aeropress, because that is what I own and use. It’s pack weight is 8.1 oz. Click here to check it out on Amazon. Please chime in the comments below if you have other methods of making good coffee.

Aeropress

A hand crank coffee grinder is a bit of a luxury item. You can use some Folgers or Starbucks pre-ground coffee of your choice. However, for a truly gourmet tasting coffee you have to grind it fresh. I picked up this small hand grinder on Amazon. It is plastic and the pack weight is only 6.9 oz. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

QIYUEXES Manual Coffee Grinder

How to Make Coffee in the Field

Step 1: Boil Water

I use a canteen cup as my boiling vessel of choice. I was issued one, and it’s usually on the 1SG’s packing list anyways. I always have my stove and cup for shaving, regardless of my coffee cravings. Pack weight is 8.3 oz. Click here for one on Amazon. Note: Don’t buy a cheap aluminum one they will get bent and warped under heat and wear and tear in your ruck.

Step 2: Grind the Beans

I fill my QIYUEXES manual coffee grinder completely up and that yield about 3.5 tablespoons of mid-grind coffee (12 grams to be exact). This makes a good strong cup of coffee in the Aeropress. It takes me 2 minutes to grind by hand, continuously turning the grinding handle. If you are using pre-ground coffee, skip this step.

Step 3: Add Coffee and Water

Pull the “pusher out of the Aeropress so that is resembles a big syringe, ready to squirt in the air. Add your coffee (3 tablespoons, or one Aeropress scoop). By now your water should be boiling. Add 1/2 the water, and stir. Let sit for 2 minutes. Then add the rest of the water and stir.

Step 4: Cap it off

Now that the coffee has had a chance to “blossom” you want to place the paper filter into the top. Wet the filter and put it inside the screw top. After that is completed invert the Aeropress over your cup

Step 5: Push

Lastly, with the inverted Aeropress firmly stabilized over your cup press down firmly. You want coffee to come out of the bottom. Do not force it, it will come slowly, should take about 30 seconds to completely push the coffee out.

Step 6: Drink it Up

Now you have the best cup of coffee available in the field.  I prefer it over Keurig style coffee, or drip pot coffee.

Is There a Fast Way to Make Coffee in the Field?

Coffee Bags

One of the simplest ways to make coffee, is coffee bags. Most major coffee producers have them for sale. Simply boil some water, and put your coffee bag in it for a 1-5 minutes depending on how strong you want it to be. Then trash the bag. It’s not as good as Aeropress, but will save some weight and space in your ruck. Check them out on Amazon.

Folgers Coffee Bag

Instant Coffee

Another simple method I use when I can’t spare the room for my Aeropress is instant coffee. The Starbucks Via brand is the best I have had, it is worth the extra cash. Simply heat your water up and add the little single serving packet. Stir and enjoy. The Colombian flavor is my go-to. Check it out here on Amazon.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia Coffee

In Closing…

The Aeropress is a great way to make coffee in the field. You can grab a cheap MOLLE pouch and strap your coffee kit onto your rucksack to help save space. You can also get a battle buddy to help with the gear in exchange for coffee. If the Aeropress is too daunting, coffee bags or instant coffee is a good alternative.

Do you have some more tips I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Chris Mathis
 

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