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.