Over time our palates have changed and we enjoy the finer moments in life accompanied by good company, good food, a decent wine or even a good whiskey. Good companions for those special moments we enjoy when out in the bush at the end of the day.
However one thing that often eludes us on a trip is a decent cup of coffee, when we move onto the road less travelled were faced with terrible instant coffee and resort to only drinking tea. Years ago when training we always brewed a large pot of coffee which we reheated throughout the day using large ‘moer koffie” bags, the coffee was palatable and even better with cream or ideal milk.
Coffee in the bush seems be something that comes up in conversation more often nowadays, so I approached an old friend Peter Primich author of “Brew Tool –Coffee Culture” .The South African Coffee Lovers Bible. This book had been written reviewing venues around South Africa where you could get a decent coffee as well as explaining everything one needs to know about coffee. So who better to ask about an off-road coffee than Peter? I want to be able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee shop flavour in the middle of the bush with minimal effort- a tall order perhaps but definitely doable, my mind even started designing a small bag for all the necessary goodies without really knowing what they would be, so off to Peter to expand my knowledge- currently limited to the so called French Press found in many restaurants, but lets see what else could serve up a delicious coffee.
We met at Kold Serve Food Services to collect a few samples and look at the various options, then off to Greenside where Peter took me through the equipment and set up a few photographs illustrating some of the options.
A relative newcomer with a growing following, it’s fairly simple the Aero Press uses the pressure of the gas released when you add boiling water to coffee (carbon dioxide) to force the water through the grounds under pressure, this creates a near perfect espresso style coffee at a fraction of the price of an expensive machine-being robust and lightweight makes it the perfect camping and off-road coffee maker. You can use the press in an upright or inverted style and can either choose paper or stainless steel filters-the result is a strong brew, depending on taste you may wish to add hot milk or water.
The Moka pot is a two part metal pot, one puts water into the base (hot or cold) and coffee into the basket in the top section, the two are screwed together and the pot is put onto a small gas stove or over the coals. The water in the base is heated and the steam is forced through the coffee, the brew ends up in the top section, its rich and intense much like an espresso!
French Press or Plunger
The French Press is a great device which can deliver a really nice coffee, off road some care would need to be taken when packing and washing as they are generally made out of a form of glass known as ‘Pyrex”, however they are available in stainless steel which is far more durable, the lid has a movable metal bar in the middle with a base plate and sieve on the end, you put your coffee into the pot after heating the pot and add water to settle the grounds, then add the rest of the water and put the lid on. Once the desired brew has been reached you push the rod down through the lid and the sieve separates the grounds from the coffee. It’s relatively inexpensive, readily available and worth taking on any trip.
Filter or pourover
This is really simple, the device sits on top of the cup, add a filter and coffee and pour the hot water through the coffee and filter, the coffee is extracted and goes through to the cup. You can opt for the simple plastic designs commercially available or opt for the more sophisticated brands such as Melitta, Chemex or Hario, ask around as all have special features and design tweaks aimed at delivering a near perfect coffee.
Briki or ibrik
Possibly the simplest of all coffee making devices other than a Latte on the go, the briki is used to make Turkish, Greek or Middle Eastern style coffee. A traditional pot will be made of brass but one can get enamel or stainless steel pots, the shape is not up for debate, they are flat bottomed with a nipped in waist and a long handle. One would need some ”training” to produce a decent coffee, the coffee is put into the pot with water which is then heated over a small gas stove, the pot is held off the stove and constantly rotated until the you get the desired brew, it is then dispensed into small espresso cups and allowed to settle and cool before drinking, it’s a great coffee but be warned not to drink the last centimeter as the grounds settle into a sediment.
Lastly you would need a grinder, and given that there may not be any electricity available this would be a hand grinder, one should look for a “burr” type, which works much like a pepper mill forcing the beans through a series of interlocking burrs that grind the beans uniformly, this ensures an even extraction when making the coffee.
I have a French Press and coffee pot both of which I have used extensively but like the look and simplicity of the pour over as well as the functionality of the Aero Press. Makes me wonder why the accessory guys have not developed small kits for sale in their outlets? As they say “life is too short to drink bad coffee”.
For info: Koldserve 011 791 1932 www.koldserve.co.za