Tips to Perfect your Backcountry Coffee

Nestled in the foothills of the Bridger Range outside of Bozeman, Montana sits a western homestead where most days you can smell the aroma of fresh coffee being roasted by Ben and Will Weyer from Yellowstone Coffee Roasters. When Ben and Will aren’t working behind the roaster you can find them chasing trout on the Yellowstone River, backpacking through the Absaroka Range, or enjoying the limitless backcountry opportunities in southwest Montana. We sat down with Ben and Will to ask their professional opinion on how they use the Jetboil system to prepare delicious coffee during their outdoor pursuits.

Find A System That Works For You

When it comes to preparing coffee outdoors there is no golden set of rules. The morning ritual of preparing a cup of coffee is a deeply personal experience and looks different for every coffee drinker in the world. When making your morning cup our suggestion is that you find a system that works for you and the type of activity you’re pursuing.

That being said, there are some general guidelines we have outlined that may help you create the perfect backcountry cup.

  1. Match the grind with your method of preparation. We also suggest that you grind your coffee within 15 minutes before you prepare your cup but understand that packing a coffee grinder isn’t always possible when you’re trying to cut precious ounces in the backcountry.
  2. We generally suggest your coffee to water ratio should be somewhere around 1:16. But again, this is merely a suggestion. If you like a strong, full flavored cup to get your day rolling, by all means add as much coffee as your heart desires.

Choose the Preparation Method That Works Best For You

There are dozens of methods to prepare coffee in the backcountry. Here we’ve outlined our three favorite ways to make a proper cup wherever your pursuits may take you.

  1. French Press - When we want to make coffee on the river or for a small group we almost always turn to our dependable Jetboil Flash Java Kit. Simply bring your water to a boil, add coarse ground coffee over the hot water, and allow the coffee to steep for at least 4 minutes before pressing. We really enjoy a medium or dark roast coffee prepared in a French Press to highlight the coffee’s robust flavors and full body.
    1. Recommendations
      1. Grind: Coarse-Consistency of bread crumbs
      2. 750 ml water (about 25 oz) to 50 g coffee (about 7 tablespoons)
  2. Pour Over - During mornings when we’re searching for a slower, more intentional coffee experience we like to prepare our coffee with a pour over setup. To prepare a pourover incrementally add the desired amount of boiling water over your ground coffee while ensuring you evenly distribute the water of the grounds. We believe the key step in making a delicious pour over is to let the coffee properly bloom by waiting 45-60 seconds between your first and second pour. We love light roast single origin coffees in a pour over to bring out these coffees’ finer nuances and sweet notes.
    1. Recommendations
      1. Grind: Medium-Fine-Consistency of kosher salt
      2. 350 ml water (about 12 oz) to 26 g coffee (about 3.5 tablespoons)
  3. Single Serve - When we’re going deep in the backcountry or need a midday pick-me-up on the river we almost always turn to a single-serve coffee. There are a variety of options available for backcountry enthusiasts but our favorite are tea bag style single-serve coffees. We have found these coffees to have the perfect balance between convenience and flavor. Simply pour the suggested amount of water over the coffee bag and allow it to steep for 4+ minutes or to your desired brew strength.
    1. Recommendations vary depending on the type of single-serve you are preparing.

Enjoy the Coffee Moment

Over the years, coffee has developed this reputation as a drink that helps jumpstart our morning and fuel our outdoor pursuits. In part this is true, but we believe that coffee is more than a caffeine boost that helps us get out of bed. To us, coffee helps create a moment where we can slow down and be more observant. It can enrich all of our outdoor experiences by creating a moment where we are more in tune with the places where we enjoy our morning cup and more connected with the people who we share it with.

The next time you’re outside enjoying a cup of coffee, slow down. Look a little closer. Connect a little deeper. And enjoy every sip.

- Ben and Will Weyer
Yellowstone Coffee Roasters