There’s something magical about waking up in your campervan to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. As an avid camper and coffee enthusiast, I’ve spent countless mornings perfecting the art of making coffee while camping.
It’s not just about the caffeine kick, but the whole experience – the ritual of brewing, the anticipation, and finally, the first sip. Whether you’re parked by a serene lake or nestled in a forest, a good cup of coffee can elevate your camping experience.
In this article, we’ll explore various methods of brewing coffee in a campervan, from the classic French Press to the convenient AeroPress. We’ll also delve into choosing the right coffee maker, essential gadgets, and tips to make your campervan feel like a coffee home.
Now that Diana and I take our little Louis with us camping (18 months old at the time of writing), we of course need to make sure our coffee brewing is safe while he’s present. With that said, our routine allows us to continue using our old-time favourite method – the French Press. I’ve nailed my recipe now, and for the brewing period (around 5 mins) it’s super easy to keep out of reach, unlike a Moka (stove top) brewing vessel which stays on the gas.
Different Methods of Making Coffee in a Campervan
French Press – best for the amount of coffee per brew
The French Press is a beloved companion for many campervan adventurers. Its simplicity is its charm – just add your coffee grounds, pour in hot water, let it steep, and then press. The result? A rich, full-bodied cup of coffee that’s sure to kickstart your day. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The glass carafe can be fragile, and cleaning can be a bit of a chore, as you’ll need to dispose of the used coffee grounds.
Stove Top Espresso or Moka Pot – best smelling coffee
Next up, we have the Stove Top Espresso or Moka Pot. This classic coffee maker is a staple in many Italian households and can easily find a home in your campervan. It uses steam pressure to force hot water through finely-ground coffee, producing a strong, espresso-like brew. It’s durable, easy to clean, and perfect for those who like their coffee strong. However, it requires careful monitoring during brewing to prevent over-extraction or burning the coffee.
6-cup Italian Moka Pot The best smell
AeroPress – best balance of quality and speed
The AeroPress is a modern addition to the coffee brewing world and has quickly gained popularity among campervan enthusiasts. It’s lightweight, portable, and easy to use. The AeroPress uses a rapid, total immersion brewing process to make smooth, full-flavored coffee without bitterness. Cleaning is a breeze, but it does require special paper filters, which you’ll need to keep stocked.
Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press Everybody's favourite
Pour Over or V60 for camping
The Pour Over or V60 method is for those who enjoy the ritual of making coffee. It involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter and allowing it to drip into your cup or carafe. This method gives you control over the brewing process and can produce a clean, flavorful cup of coffee. However, it does require a bit more time and attention than other methods.
V60 Coffee Dripper and Pour Over Coffee Maker For the coffee artisans
Coffee Bags and Instant Coffee – easiest cup of “nice” coffee
Finally, for those who prefer convenience over all else, there are coffee bags and instant coffee. Coffee bags work much like tea bags – just place one in your cup, add hot water, and let it steep. Instant coffee is even simpler – just add hot water to the coffee crystals, stir, and enjoy. Both methods are quick and easy, with minimal cleanup. However, they may not offer the depth of flavor that other methods provide.
Choosing the Right Coffee Maker for Your Campervan
Size and Power Source
When it comes to choosing the right coffee maker for your campervan, size and power source are two critical factors to consider. Campervans have limited space, so it’s essential to choose a coffee maker that fits comfortably without taking up too much room. You also need to consider the power source. Some coffee makers require electricity, while others can be used on a gas stove or even a campfire. If you’re often parked in places without an electrical hookup, a non-electric coffee maker might be the best choice.
Ease of Use
Another important factor to consider is the ease of use. When you’re out enjoying nature, the last thing you want is a complicated coffee brewing process. Look for a coffee maker that’s straightforward to use, with clear instructions and minimal steps. This will make your mornings smoother and get you that much-needed cup of coffee faster. Remember, the best coffee maker is the one that you’ll actually use, so don’t be swayed by fancy features that you don’t really need.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Finally, consider the cleaning and maintenance of the coffee maker. Some coffee makers can be a bit tricky to clean, especially if they have many parts or if the coffee grounds get stuck in hard-to-reach places. Look for a coffee maker that’s easy to disassemble and clean, as this will save you time and effort in the long run. Regular maintenance is also essential to keep your coffee maker in good working condition and ensure that it lasts for many camping trips to come.
Gadgets for Coffee Making in a Campervan
Handheld Espresso Maker
A handheld espresso maker is a game-changer for coffee lovers on the road. This compact device allows you to brew a rich and creamy espresso without the need for electricity or large machines. It’s lightweight, portable, and easy to use, making it perfect for campervan life. All you need is hot water and your favorite coffee grounds. With a handheld espresso maker, you can enjoy a barista-quality espresso, whether you’re parked by a stunning beach or deep in the wilderness.
WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker Most gadgety
If you’re serious about your coffee, a coffee grinder is a must-have gadget. Grinding your coffee beans just before brewing ensures maximum freshness and flavor. It allows you to control the coarseness of the grind, which can significantly affect the taste of your coffee.
There are manual grinders available that are compact and don’t require electricity, making them ideal for campervan use. So, if you have the space and don’t mind the extra effort, a coffee grinder can elevate your coffee experience to new heights.
Personally, I’ve not had much luck with manual grinders, but that might be because I didn’t buy a good one. I used to love my De-Longhi coffee grinder when making coffee at home (it was this one)… but since getting a bean-to-cup machine for the kitchen I ended up selling it on Gumtree.
Unfortunately, I’ve never used a portable electric grinder, but there are plenty on Amazon for you to choose from (some with some pretty good reviews).
Other Essential Coffee Accessories
In addition to the coffee maker and grinder, there are a few other accessories that can enhance your coffee brewing experience. Filters are essential for methods like pour-over or AeroPress. Make sure to have a good supply of them.
A coffee storage container is also important to keep your coffee beans or grounds fresh. Look for an airtight container that blocks out light like this lovely looking one. A measuring spoon or scale can help you get the right amount of coffee every time, and a good-quality travel mug will keep your coffee hot for longer. These accessories may seem small, but they can make a big difference in your coffee experience.
Tips for Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee in a Campervan
Using Fresh Beans
The secret to a great cup of coffee starts with the beans. Fresh beans are a must for achieving the best flavor. When coffee beans are freshly roasted, they contain oils that give coffee its unique flavors and aromas. Over time, these oils can evaporate, leading to stale and flavorless coffee. So, always buy fresh beans and grind them just before brewing if possible. Remember, good coffee is worth the extra effort.
Correct Water Temperature
Water temperature plays a crucial role in coffee brewing. Too hot, and your coffee can turn out bitter. Too cold, and you’ll end up with a weak, under-extracted brew. The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, a good rule of thumb is to let the water come to a boil, then let it sit for a minute before pouring it over your coffee. This simple tip can make a big difference in the taste of your coffee.
Proper Cleaning of the Coffee Maker
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of cleaning your coffee maker. Coffee oils can build up over time and impart a bitter taste to your brew. Plus, a dirty coffee maker can harbor bacteria and mold. So, make it a habit to clean your coffee maker after each use. Rinse all parts thoroughly and let them dry completely before reassembling. A clean coffee maker not only ensures a better tasting coffee but also extends the life of your equipment.
Making Your Campervan Feel Like a Coffee Home
Adding Personal Touches
Making your campervan feel like a coffee home is all about adding personal touches. This could be as simple as bringing along your favorite coffee mug, or as elaborate as setting up a dedicated coffee station in your campervan. You could also consider investing in a special coffee maker that you only use in your campervan, or bringing along a selection of your favorite coffee beans. These personal touches will make your coffee ritual feel more special and enjoyable, and will make your campervan feel more like home.
Creating a Cozy Coffee Atmosphere
Creating a cozy coffee atmosphere in your campervan is another way to enhance your coffee experience. Consider how you can make your coffee brewing area more inviting. This could be through the use of warm lighting, comfortable seating, or even the addition of a small rug or throw pillows. You could also consider playing some relaxing music while you brew your coffee, or setting up your coffee station near a window so you can enjoy the view while you sip your brew. These small touches can make a big difference in creating a cozy, inviting coffee atmosphere in your campervan.
Embarking on a campervan adventure doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your coffee experience. With the right tools and techniques, you can brew a perfect cup of coffee right in your campervan. From choosing the right coffee maker that fits your space and power source, to understanding the importance of fresh beans and correct water temperature, every detail matters. Adding personal touches and creating a cozy coffee atmosphere can make your campervan feel like a coffee home. So, whether you’re a fan of the French Press, the AeroPress, or prefer the convenience of coffee bags, there’s a method to suit every coffee lover on the road. Happy brewing and happy travels!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The best type of coffee beans for brewing in a campervan really depends on your personal taste. However, medium to dark roasts are often favored for methods like French Press and AeroPress due to their robust flavor. If you’re using a Moka Pot, a medium roast is typically recommended. Always opt for high-quality, freshly roasted beans for the best flavor.
To keep your coffee fresh in a campervan, store it in an airtight container that blocks out light. Avoid exposing the coffee to heat, moisture, or strong odors, as these can affect the flavor. If possible, buy whole bean coffee and grind it as needed to maintain maximum freshness.
Dealing with coffee waste responsibly is an important part of campervan life. Used coffee grounds can be composted, so consider bringing a small compost bin. If you’re in a natural area, check the local regulations – in some places, it’s okay to scatter coffee grounds in the bushes as they can enrich the soil.
The quality of water can significantly affect the taste of your coffee. It’s best to use filtered or bottled water if possible. Avoid using water from a source that has a strong taste or odor, as this can transfer to your coffee.
If you’re serious about your coffee, a grinder can be a worthwhile investment. Grinding coffee beans just before brewing ensures maximum freshness and flavor. Manual grinders are compact and don’t require electricity, making them ideal for campervan use.