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Inspired by this article from Outside Magazine, we decided to have our own camp coffee smackdown to compare and rate the different methods of making coffee outside.
We planned to arrive just before sunrise at the Beaver Marsh boardwalk on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I drove to the parking lot on Bolanz Road and bundled up for the brisk (about 40 degrees) morning ride of about 1.5 miles down to Beaver Marsh.
I was the first to arrive, but Brent showed up soon after. We were both on our way to getting our water boiling when Chris arrived.
Brent had boiling water first with his MSR WhisperLite Internationale stove (but a comparison of camp stoves is a topic for a completely separate discussion).
My coffee contribution came from a GSI JavaPress and a GSI Camp Espresso Maker. Brent uses an AeroPress, and Chris brought a Moka Pot and some Starbucks Via instant coffee.
So, the verdict? My preference was my own GSI JavaPress, but mainly because I put my own effort into it, which always makes something more enjoyable, and it’s what I’m used to. A shot of espresso added made it even better. Brent preferred the AeroPress for mostly the same reason — he drinks AeroPress coffee every day. Chris preferred the AeroPress as well. He said his Moka Pot coffee tasted kind of bitter, but I actually like that, and made it my second choice. Personally, when you’re standing in the cold, any hot coffee tastes good, and I don’t have the most discerning taste buds to begin with. And, this wasn’t a blind taste test by any means.
Conclusion; if you’re looking for another definitive answer as to what makes the best camp coffee, you’re not going to find it here. I suggest you plan your own camp coffee smackdown to find out! Get out and enjoy the outdoors with some friends, which is what this is all about!
I followed up our coffee with a solo ride further south on the Towpath Trail to Clinton and back, for a total of about 52 miles, a nice casual day ride.
P.S. Is camp cooking legal in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Probably not…
It ended up being a solo outing for me. The weather felt more pleasant than the mid-40’s temperature and the gray sky would suggest. At least coffee outside alone is better than coffee inside, accompanied by the soothing hum of traffic on State Route 8.
Inspired by #LARiverCampCoffee (http://bit.ly/1NUfQlY), let’s start a movement for mini-adventures in Cleveland for when we don’t have time for real adventures!
#CLECampCoffee is a casual gathering for lovers of bicycles, camping, and coffee.
Arrive by bike, and use your camp-cooking gear to make coffee for yourself and to share, and enjoy conversation with your fellow campers.
The rules aren’t strictly enforced, so you can come by foot or car if you like, and you can stop for coffee at a (preferably local) shop on the way. Tea drinkers are welcome, too!
When: Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 7:00-8:00am
Where: The Scranton Spoon
The Scranton Spoon is the nickname given to the observation deck/dock that extends over the Cuyahoga River from the new section of the Towpath Trail in the Scranton Flats. If you’re coming from the south, follow the Towpath through Steelyard Commons, then go up W. 14th Street almost to the end, turn left onto Fairfield Avenue, then turn right onto Scranton.
Check for updates on the Event page on Facebook.
Stanley has been making tools, beverage containers, and other food storage products since 1913. Traditionally targeted to the lunch-pail-carrying crowd, they’ve introduced a new line to seemingly appeal to the younger, hip set with recycled and recyclable materials, and bike bottle-cage friendliness.
I’ve used a “coffee ring” type of cage on my commuter bike for a couple of years now. Many of these are cheaply made, with a plastic handlebar clamp that slips when under the load of a full coffee mug. I found the Origin8 Joe-2-Go coffee cup holder works well, but you’ve still got to select your travel mug carefully–not too wide, not too narrow, to fit in the holder securely, and either no handle or a handle that is open on the bottom end. Even then, a good bump in the road can send the mug flying out of the holder.
The advantage of a bike bottle-cage friendly coffee mug such as the Stanley Nineteen13 eCycle Mug is that it’s held securely in the cage just like a standard water bottle. It doesn’t require a special type of cage, so it can be easily moved from one bike to another. Like any thermal-type mug, it keeps the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold better than a typical plastic bottle.
I received one of these mugs as a Christmas gift, and took advantage of the free hour I had between errands today to test it out. I filled it up with some fresh hot java and rode with it on the Salsa Fargo up to Solon to visit for a bit with Brent while he was at work.
As advertised, the eCycle mug stayed put in my bottle cage, even after a couple of curb-hops. The lid stayed securely closed with no leakage. I enjoyed the still-hot beverage when I arrived in Solon.
The eCycle mug holds 16 ounces. The moving parts of the leak-proof spout can be disassembled for a full cleaning (which, if you’re a typical dude like me, will probably happen about twice a year). Everything is microwave and dishwasher safe. It’s also got a loop that would let you clip it to a belt loop or backpack strap or the like. My only complaint is that the mug is too tall to fit and stand on its own in a Keurig single-serving coffee brewer, but that’s the case with almost all of my travel mugs.
In short, if you’re looking for an easy and secure way to enjoy coffee during your commute or other bike ride, the Stanley Nineteen13 eCycle Mug fits the bill, for about $15. Where can you buy it? I have not seen any bike shop or other store that has them in stock, but just about any local bike shop can order them for you, because they can be obtained through Quality Bicycle Products, one of the largest bike accessories distributors that most shops deal with.