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The three P’s of camp coffee.

Elkhorn Campgrounds isn’t going to open a Starbucks anytime soon, and that’s no problem for our visitors. They’ve upped the ante on camp coffee. Sure, two passable options are cowboy coffee and instant coffee. Cowboy-style camp coffee is for the brutally honest camper with the cast-iron gullet. This is a pot of water brought to a boil with the coffee grounds right in the pot. Brace yourself. Instant coffee is ten times better, which isn’t saying a whole lot, but it is the simplest. The aforementioned Big Kahuna of the coffee world actually makes an instant variety, too. Our campers find the coffee bags – like tea bags – to be just as simple to use and easy to pitch in the garbage when done.

But this article isn’t for the iron-stomached or the campout copout. For the die-hard camper who will accept no camp-compromise when it comes to the morning eye-opener, there are the three P’s. In no certain order, presses, percolators, and pour-overs, make sure the coffee isn’t the reason you miss home.

  • A French press allows you to brew coffee that tastes just like the good stuff from home. In fact, many people use a French press for their coffee at home. You can use the same carafe. Heat your water, fill the French press with your choice of coffee grounds while you’re waiting for the water to boil, and crack a few jokes about Billy Crystal’s French press and grinding beans in the “City Slickers” film. The taste trick is letting the coffee steep for a while before pressing down the plunger to trap the coffee grounds… how long you steep is directly proportional to how long you want to stay awake.

  • Percolators take you back to the coffee-making basics, though not as crudely as cowboy coffee. You can get a camp percolator for around $10 and they are designed for the rigors of camping and even camp fires. You fill the pot, add grounds to the basket, and set it right on the camp stove or hang it over the fire. Be careful handling these suckers though: They get h-o- t. Which is their advantage (coffee stays hot longer) and their downfall (you can’t pack it up quickly).

  • The pour-over is exactly as it sounds. You are the Mr. Coffee… pouring the hot water through the grounds elevated above the cup below a hanger holding a canvas or paper coffee filter. This is another $10 contraption designed to give you drip coffee in the great Elkhorn outdoors.

Why the fascination with coffee this month? First, no camp morning is complete without it. Second, you’ll want to be perked up all day if you’re joining us Aug. 21. (See related article) Aug. 21 is the first total solar eclipse visible across the entire contiguous states since 1918, 64 years after camping began on this site in conjunction with the county fair.

Photo by, used with permission.

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