Well, a friend sent me a pack of “Bushbaby” coffee filters from Japan with the request to test them and see if they would be suitable for use when one would like to have a decent cup of coffee when exploring the great outdoors. So I took the pack along to my good friend Peter Primich who has written tomes on the subject and is well known on the local coffee scene- he would also have freshly roasted coffee to test. The long and the short of it was we each ended up with a great cup of coffee, decent extraction and a fruity aftertaste. As Peter was relatively particular we followed a few steps;
- We used a hand grinder to get a medium grind, a very fine grind would possibly clog the filter.The filter worked well in the Bush Baby cup as well as a slightly larger cup.
- We used 17 gms of coffee per filter and as we poured we agitated the mix to ensure a smooth clean extraction.
All in all, it was a quick and simple process and to top it the filters are biodegradable as well.
It got us to thinking of different ways of getting a relatively decent coffee with no fuss when outdoors.
Firstly one would resort to a decent pure instant coffee and make a “Railway Style” coffee – this is a relatively strong coffee with plenty of condensed milk, the true version is made with two shots of espresso and condensed milk. I am not a big fan of instant coffee, in fact, would often rather opt for tea. Be that as it may, many folks opt for an instant when travelling as it is easy to pack and prepare.
Secondly, I would opt to use a “French Press” or plunger pot which is simply a round cylinder with a plunger and built-in screen ( filter). Once again the secret is in the grind and a uniform medium grind works well, the coffee ( 1 tablespoon to 200ml of water) is added to the pot and then the water, ideally not boiling, then the lid is placed on top, with the plunger pulled out. Let the pot stand for 3-4 minutes to allow the coffee to steep, then press the plunger down exerting a steady pressure. The coffee will then be ready to pour, enjoy black, with milk and add sugar or even condensed milk to taste. Once again an easy option when outdoors- the plunger pictured is stainless steel which makes it more robust than glass and due to its double wall provides better insulation. Lastly, warm the plunger pot with hot water before making coffee and rinse in lightly soapy water followed by clean water before drying.
Then the third “bush coffee” would be a “Vietnamese style” coffee, I have often enjoyed these at our local Vietnamese restaurant and due to the richness and sweetness have often opted for a coffee over a desert. To make this coffee one would require a suitable mug, once again this coffee is served with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom of the cup (or glass) and a stainless steel Vietnamese filter or “Phin” is placed on top of the cup, once the coffee has dripped through the filter it is then mixed with the condensed milk. To make this coffee one would have to acquire the Phin filter but they are available locally online. Once again according to taste one would use around 1-3 tablespoons of condensed milk and around 3 tablespoons of coffee. Distribute the coffee evenly and do not tamp it down as this will block the filter and the hot water will not be able to drip through. Pour around two tablespoons of hot water into the filter to allow the coffee to “bloom”- CO2 is released and the grounds expand, now press gently on the filter to stop the rapid flow of the water then add the water. In 3-4 minutes the water should have flowed through and you can remove the filter and stir the coffee/condensed milk and enjoy