I love backpacking and I love real, freshly made coffee. However, the two don’t mix very well. A hiker who wants to have a lightweight, never mind ultralight, pack weight can’t carry a percolator or Mokka pot. There are add-ons to various cooking systems than convert your cooking pot into a cafetière or some kind of filter coffee system but they are a faff to use and add weight. Once the coffee is brewed the problem of what to do with the coffee grounds arises. Also, out on the trail it is difficult to clean most of these backpacking coffee makers.
So I thought I was doomed to drink instant coffee while hiking. Not the worst horror in life I know but I did miss my “proper” coffee. Especially the first cup in the morning.
A few months ago I was wandering around a supermarket and saw an intriguing product – coffee bags! I had to try them and I was very pleased with the results. Essentially, they are large teabags but filled with coffee. You dunk them in a mug of hot water and let it steep until you get your desired strength, take the bag out and drink. Easy peasey and no mess. Even better, you can squeeze the excess water out of the bag and carry the bag(s) out of camp to be disposed of properly. Both the coffee and the bag are OK to put in a compost pile so there is minimal impact on the environment.
The coffee bags come in boxes of eighteen bags and each bag is individually sealed in a waterproof bag (also recyclable). So the backpacker can take as many, or as few, as they want for a trip and be certain that there will be no spillage and the coffee will remain dry whatever the weather.
The coffee bags I’ve bought are produced by Lyons and they taste good. I’ve managed to track down two varieties. The first one I tried is called the Everyday Blend and it is quite smooth and not especially strong but has a decent coffee taste. The second is called the Number 3 blend and is much darker, richer and stronger tasting; I’d describe it as a breakfast or after dinner coffee.
I’ve no affiliation with Lyons but I think they deserve a pat on the back for making coffee bags. At long last backpackers with coffee addiction can get their fix using a simple, reliable and lightweight option that is unaffected by bad weather, fits with the leave no-trace ideal and everything is recyclable or compostable. Did I mention the coffee is very drinkable too?