Posted by: stacylynn12 | June 8, 2011

For the Love of Coffee

Café . Cà Phê . Café . Kopi . Buna

Sound the alarm bells!

Bring in the big guns!

We’ve got 12 days until departure and I’ve made a critical, game changing mistake.

I’ve failed to come up with an adequate method for producing a life giving, sanity saving, calm inducing… cup of coffee.

Now I know what you are thinking. Just buy one of the many options available and marketed for camping and coffee consumption. There are literally dozens if not more to choose from.

But you see, you just don’t understand.

I’m a self proclaimed coffee connoisseur. Others would say… a coffee snob. I really don’t like bad coffee or drip coffee, even it’s the good stuff. I like espresso. Good espresso, with a little steamed whole milk and a tiny dab of sugar. Mmmmmm. There are some of you out there that will poo poo tainting the divine nectar with milk and sugar and refute my claim to coffee connoisseur-dom. Whatever.

“Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds, called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Coffee beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees in over 70 countries, cultivated primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. ‘Green Unroasted’ coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Coffee can have a stimulating effect on humans due to its caffeine content. It is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world.” (wikipedia)

Not only do I appreciate the taste of really good, freshly roasted and ground coffee but I feel a certain responsibility to drink coffee that comes from a farmer who was paid a living wage for producing it. You might harken back to my “Food” post where I waxed on about fair trade, shade grown, sustainably harvested, organic coffee and fessed up to being a liberal, tree hugging, yuppie.

It’s true. You can tease me and i’ll take it. But the premise of my values is solid and I’m sticking to them. Hopefully you won’t disagree with me that it just doesn’t make sense for me to enjoy something so frivolous (I can say this despite my dramatically exaggerated claims of it’s life giving properties) at the expense of another human being’s welfare. If only we could change places with the growers and the pickers in some Latin American country for a day. Then we might see just how important our choices really are.

But I digress. I’d like to write more, throw out some well researched statistics that shed more light on the inequity involved in the coffee industries commodity chain but I’ve got 12, yes twelve days left before we leave.

Back to the crisis at hand.

I make my own espresso at home. Despite my efforts to cut down on the amount of stuff we are bringing in the van if I could bring along my espresso machine I would. But I can’t.

I’m hoping someone out there has the perfect solution. Something that makes decent
espresso-like coffee on a camp stove. I recently saw a little battery operated contraption that purportedly makes frothy milk, though I’m not sure if it also heats it. I have no idea where to begin on the coffee front.

I suppose I’ll survive somehow though I’m not sure how. My husband and kids are hoping for a miracle. When I’m being pestered while trying to make my morning coffee I say “you know what happens when Mama doesn’t get her coffee?” They all chime out in unison “She gets grrrrrumpy”.

Hmmmmm….let me go get a latte and think about that.

PS – If you can tell me the origin and relevance of the first 5 words on this post, you’ll win a free subscription to my blog. 🙂 And if you can come up with a winning solution, I’ll make you a really good cup of coffee when I see you.



  1. Fellow readers – Please, please respond to this obvious cry for help from my coffee connoisseur/snob wife.


    Grumpiness and sabbatical do not mix well together (even with sugar and milk)

    Thanks – the rest of the family

  2. I don’t think this suggestion will really be satisfactory but…when I can’t get good coffee, I go with tea. There must be an awesome store in Seattle selling all sorts of loose leaf super delicious tea blends. Plenty of caffeine to be had AND you would get to taste all sorts of wonderful new brews. Tea with milk is awesome. Then of course you could supplement with local coffee as you find it and/or try some camping variety of coffee. Then again, trying to reproduce your awesome coffee from home will likely fail over and over and you will be disappointed. Better, maybe, to go with something different altogether :))
    Love you all and good luck!

  3. Stacy, I too share your quest and obsession. Mostly because I’m married to a coffee-loving husband who is a real grouch when he doesn’t have his coffee brewed just right. I feel randy and your kids pain ; )

    Right now, we usually plug in our coffee grinder to an inverter that is wired to our vanagon car battery (best explained by kurt — maybe I can have him email you?). the contraption sits behind the front driving seat of our westy and takes up minimal space. We too won’t accept coffee unless it is made from freshly ground beans! (I swear we are long lost vanagon sisters). Then we usually do the melitta drip method into coffee cups. And for steaming, we have a plug in steamer that I would HAPPILY give you for your trip (it’s pretty small – close to the size of a grinder). But you would need a way to plug it in… Kurt also says we’re testing a percolator and results are inconclusive. This morning’s coffee (spent the night in the van last night — not in our driveway btw!) was not up to par. So jury’s out on that method.

    We also have a boletti stovetop espresso thingy that can be used on a propane stove. We can give you this too!

    We are partners in your search for a perfect cup of road trip coffee. If you want to swap ideas or need a tasting partner, email or give me a call. We’re planning to swing by on Saturday as well.

    Glad you’ll be heading out before us and working out the coffee kinks!

  4. link to the stovetop espresso thing. I also have a version that you can add milk to….

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