Instant Coffee While Camping

A couple weeks ago, my fiancee and I took a weekend camping trip to Anza-Borrego State Park, about 2 hours northeast of San Diego. I was able to snag a weekend off, and there was a full-moon and a lunar eclipse that was going to create a Super Blood Moon on Sunday night, so I was in. Needless to say, the trip was great.

One of the essential things I bring when it comes to camping anywhere is coffee. When you’re in the great outdoors, your sleep schedule can get a little wacky. I remember some other camping trips we’ve done where we hit the tent around 7:00 PM because it was dark out! We ended up waking up with the sun, but the first couple nights of sleeping outdoors are always a little restless. There’s nothing better than a hot cup of joe to rouse you from your grogginess.

To keep it light, we didn’t bring the full coffee complement we usually have at home. Some reasons were obvious, such as no power outlets to plug in a grinder, and others were more mundane, such as keeping our packs and equipment light and easy to carry. Our go-to coffee while camping is Starbucks’ “Colombian Instant Coffee” packets. Now before you turn your nose up at instant coffee, let me explain a few things.

First, this instant coffee is actually good! One of my first forays into the coffee world was way back in college, when I boiled water and put some Folger’s instant coffee into my cup. I didn’t know how coffee was supposed to taste, so I thought it was decent! Second, instant coffee is making a sort of comeback and having a renaissance. Instant coffee is no longer the means for a quick jolt in the morning. More and more coffee roasters are venturing into the instant coffee game, knowing that sometimes all you have time for is some boiling water and pre-ground beans.

While instant coffee will never be my first, second, third and (probably) fourth choice for brewing coffee, it certainly comes in handy in a pinch and in the more stark and adverse environments I tend to find myself in. Next time you’re out for some camping, or a long bike ride, pick up some of this instant coffee and come to the realization that not all instant coffee is bad.

EDC: Everyday Coffee

For a certain segment of the American population, EDC is thrown around a lot. When you search “EDC” on Instagram, approximately 8.6 million posts come up for viewing, and the majority of them have some sort of “tacti-cool” gear - the blackest of blacked out watches, knives and guns. For me, EDC means something totally different: Every. Day. Coffee. Boom.

This EDC is the coffee that I drink on a very regular basis. When I wake up in the morning, this is the coffee I brew before hopping on the bike and going to work. It’s nothing incredibly special, but it certainly gets the job done. This time, my EDC is “Organic Mayan Blend” from my favorite big box grocery store Costco! One of the best things about this coffee, besides its taste, is that you can get a very large bag of whole beans for fairly cheap!

These EDCs are an essential part of my morning routine and help me get the day started off on the right foot. With the right brew method, these coffees can add a lot of enjoyment to the daily slog of early mornings and sleepy walks around the city with Jack’s Cycle Cafe’s unofficial mascot dogs, Hilo and Leia. Aren’t they so cute?

Leia is ready to see you now.

Leia is ready to see you now.

Hilo is not sure if he trusts you yet…

Hilo is not sure if he trusts you yet…

Now, most people’s EDCs are “coffee in a plastic tub” grounds from a company like Folger’s or Maxwell House. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those coffees, but because coffee is such a big part of my day, I would like to enjoy a smooth and full bodied coffee that tastes delicious, while also kick-starting my day. I have fond memories of my early coffee drinking days my senior year in college, when there was nothing better (at least I thought) of brewing a big pot of Folger’s coffee, and then using the empty plastic container as coin jug.

The Organic Mayan Blend is from Jose’s Gourmet Coffee, roasted and packaged out of Vernon, California. The original Jose is from Cuba, and grew up hearing his dad and uncle wax poetic about the coffee trees on their farms. Jose’s is also engaged in sustainable farming practices in partnership with the coffee farmers who provide the green coffee beans prior to roasting. Sustainable coffee farming practices are a big deal in the world of coffee. When coffee first became popular, it was dominated by huge corporations like Folger’s and Maxwell House, who essentially ripped off coffee farmers and bought their beans super cheap, leaving the farmers barely able to eke out any sort of profit. As coffee became more popular and consumed more for its taste, the origin of coffee and the livelihood of its growers became more important to merchants and consumers. Now, the big movement in coffee is Direct Trade, with coffee roasters dealing directly with farmers rather than through intermediaries. This allows coffee farmers to get much better prices for their harvest, which in turn allows them to make an actual living and invest more in their business, thus producing better and better beans in more sustainable ways.

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The Organic Mayan Blend advertises a “floral & delicate aroma” with a sweet, chocolaty taste, full body and smooth finish. Letting the boiled kettle water sit for at least 5 minutes seemed to make the water much more amenable to the brewing process, and allowing the coffee grounds to bloom for a full minute and a half also brought out a lot of the sweetness of the coffee. This Costco coffee is excellent for those of us that love to enjoy a tasty and delectable mug of coffee in the morning without dipping into our savings to get that $50/12oz bag of beans that will be gone in about two days. For an EDC, the Organic Mayan Blend is about as great as it gets. It is tasty enough that I want to drink it everyday, and also economical enough that I’m not going to zip through the whole bag in the matter of a weekend. I highly recommend this coffee to all you EDC drinkers out there. Ditch the Folger’s and the Maxwell House!