In a recent post I struck a cord. Here’s a Cliffs Notes rehash: the power went down and Mrs. Curmudgeon couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make coffee without a functioning electric coffee maker. Without an assured coffee supply civilization teetered on the edge of annihilation.
Folks love them some coffee… as they should. So I got a lot of comments… most of them about how excellent and handsome I am. (It’s my blog and I can make shit up if I want to.)
Now to pontificate further.
Lets start with the facts:
- Mrs. Curmudgeon needed an electric coffee maker. Not me. I can make coffee anytime anywhere and it’s moderately good too.* Dead electricity ‘aint a problem for me. All I need is water (the wellhead is electric). However, I was 700 miles away. (That said all I did was drink Starbucks in my truck cab and I think we can all agree Starbucks is pretty much the low end of palatable). (Another note: in the back of my truck, even as I was sipping Starbucks, there was a “coffee kit” stashed in my tool box.)
- I decided that if Mrs. Curmudgeon needs an electric coffee maker then by God I’d better make it happen as a matter of survivalist prudence. That’s ’cause I’m such a cuddly, sweet, kind, thoughtful, gentleman and also a perfect husband and generally a ray of sunshine all around. (Note: Mrs. Curmudgeon probably isn’t reading this so I can definitely claim to be all that and a bag of chips.) Also if the grid goes down and a the Russkie/Zombie/Freeshit Army/Robot-Drone-Terminator horde is about to breach the perimeter I’d still be safer with them than dealing with a household in caffeine withdrawal.
- Mrs. Curmudgeon’s (and my) favorite brand is “Death Wish Coffee”. (Though we buy other beans too.) Any coffee that has a skull motif is meant for us!
I now present the Curmudgeon’s guaranteed coffee method:
It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s so idiot proof that you can do it while hunkered under a tree in a blizzard. Also no electricity needed. Did I mention the part about the blizzard and the tree?
Step 1. Get a JetBoil. Any of the different flavors of JetBoil is fine. You can get ones that look like a Nike product, in camoflage (really?), or a pattern suitable for a Speedo. Whatever. Yes there are 10,000 other camp stoves. Everyone thinks their brand is best. Don’t Ford versus Chevy me on this. JetBoil has served me well but you can carry your brass alcohol burner if you want. All you really need is water that’s hot (the ability to boil matters while camping too). I really like the “radiator fins” on the JetBoil. They make water boil NOW. Sometimes making coffee NOW is very important.
2. Boil water. (Incidentally I’ve made tons of coffee from lake water. Boiled or not I filter it first. You only need to get fucked up once by bad water to start carrying a filter as a matter of course.)
3. If you’re patient use a Melitta. These make fine coffee. I used one for years until I accidentally threw it in a lake with the mouse that jumped on it. (It was the mouse or me and I hadn’t had my coffee yet! I fished it out and washed it and used it the rest of the trip but the magic was gone. Once a mouse has crapped on something it’s time to upgrade.) Melittas are slow but they work great. You’ll need filters. They’re nearly impossible to break. They’re light enough to take backpacking. You can run a few rounds of hot water through the same grounds to stretch your supplies. They’re slow though. Did I mention slow? I’m not a patient man at dawn. Slow.
4. If you need coffee RIGHT FRIGGIN’ NOW you should cram a French Press gadget in your JetBoil. This is the fastest good coffee known to man. It’s faster than the electric coffee maker that you can’t have in a power outage. (Slower than a keurig but only a little slower and that’s pretty good for off grid. Also a keurig feels like I have to join a cult to get my coffee.)
PAY ATTENTION: As soon as the plunger starts to rise turn down the heat. You’ve been warned. If you’re watching the sunrise or observing the loons or scratching your ass or thinking about boobs… BLAMMO! The coffee will erupt and make a mess. That said coffee made this way is always good and it’s FAST. (Also you don’t need to carry filters.) Don’t forget to rinse the JetBoil after your coffee or your morning oatmeal will taste funny.
There you have it, four steps and two are redundant. Trust me on the JetBoil thing for non-electric coffee with speed and efficiency. I’ve tipped a canoe and had a hot cup of Joe in hand within 5 minutes. When you’re soaked to your skivvies in icy lakewater a cup of coffee will be the attitude adjustment you need (plus it’s one of many backstops against hypothermia).
More to come…
*It is true that Mrs. Curmudgeon makes better coffee than me with the electric coffee maker. Usually I’m far too bleary eyed to pay attention to how much coffee I put in. Sometimes it’s weak and other times it makes the dog’s eyes water.
I’ve been doing steps two and three for quite a while with a microwave for step two because I got tired of de-mineralizing Mr. Coffeepot.
I impatiently await learning how Mrs. AC is going to get her java electrically when the grid is down.
Her solution was simple. She bugged out. Turns out she found a place in town that had coffee. Then a few hours later most of the town (or at least her office and it’s coffee pot) was up again. From her point of view it was “problem solved”. Our house was still in the dark for a couple days but she did well with the “commute to coffee” solution.
Lesson learned. When the grid goes down the Mrs. will abandon the dog and the house as needed; possibly me too. 🙂 Of the two of us I’m the one with the “hunker down” mentality. That’s why my first impulse was to think about percolators and BBQ burners and her’s was to say “fuck it, I’m going to the office”. It’s also probably why I have a coffee kit in my truck… I’m ready to hunker down even when I’m already bugged out. Go figure.
I bet that JetBoil and French Press would brew coffee even better and faster if you were able to install it in a bright yellow AMC Gremlin.
But the part of the link I was previously referring to was:
It’s cold brew overnight in the fridge (or outdoors in your neck of the woods except in June, July, and August), but makes coffee strong enough to turn your cat Lurch into a dog. So if you want it hot and “normal” strength, 1 part brewed coffee and two parts hot water.
If I see an AMC Gremlin it’s already the apocalypse. (Hey! Are they guy who Rickrolled me with an AMC a few weeks back? Brutal!)
Cold brew makes total sense but I’m all about meeting Mrs. Curmudgeon’s needs too. Maybe cold brew the second day of the outage is ideal… but on that first morning it’s a different issue.
jetboil……the alaskan way to warmth and happiness…. i have one in my truck and a backup in my survival kit…. coz changin a tire in the january dark at -50 will make a believer outta ya….
and a hot cuppa coffee just might get ya that date with the knockout ya just hauled out of the snowbank…..
All valid points. I think of my setup as “coffee kit” and consider it a survival tool much like a first aid kit.
Good luck on the date thing though… all I’ve ever hauled out of ditches were scruffy dudes that look worse than me and a few urban males that were terrified because they’d never gotten stuck before and probably should have kept their SUV in the mall parking lot. Also one drunk Russian.
Scratch that… I’ve hauled Mrs. Curmudgeon’s car out of a ditch. But we’d been married many years and she was already stuck with me by then. 🙂
Not going to Chevy v Ford you on your jetboil choice, but all butane/iso-butane stoves suck when you drop well below freezing but still on the right side of zero. Be they MSR, Jetboil, Coleman, Primus, or the company formally known as Primus…
Ice fishing without coffee, is like ice fishing without beer. You are no longer a human enjoying a civilized sport, now you’re just a shivering moron on a slab of ice, sticking your thingie in a hole.
White gas is the mans choice! Or propane, propane works fairly reliably down to the -20f range, works unreliabley down to about -30f, and dont work AT ALL below -40f, but then again, neither do I
I’ll grant you that. Butane is crap when it’s super duper cold. When I did deep winter camping I used a Coleman Peak One with Coleman fuel. When it’s mega cold liquid is the way to go.
Recently I do a lot of canoeing and obviously you can’t canoe if the water’s iced up. Nor is it well below zero during main hunting season.
Cold brew can be an option (caffeinated, good flavors, low acidity, but not HOT) and I’ll tout an Aeropress as being superior to the pour over filter cone solution.
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