DIY: The World is Your Cafe

Any Place is a Good Place for a Cafe

When it comes to preparing coffee I have never been much of a believer in the deification of those who prepare it for a living, nor have I advocated the labeling of certain coffee “destinations” as temples of worship. Now, please don’t mistake me for a coffee heathen.  I have my favorite places in  San Francisco, and just returned from a trip to Portland for coffee (and Voodoo Doughnuts as well as micro brews from Amnesia Brewing), but the great thing about this complicated beverage is that once you learn to do it yourself, and do it well, any place in the world becomes your cafe.  So, after this long and chilly winter, I welcomed the first day of global warming. I set off into the hills to bike, to brew, and to drink one of my favorite beans.


Single Speed Mountain Biking and Coffee Make a Winning Combination

Beside coffee, my other passion is bikes.  This outing provided an opportunity to experience both together.  Bike or hike, either is effective to break out of the city grind for a more mindful approach to your coffee day. A single speed bike keeps the transportation simple and maintenance free.

The Line Up

My present line up of coffee tools for outdoor fun:

1. Snow Peak GS-100 A Gigapower Stove with Auto Lite
2. Snow Peak ProIso Fuel Canister
3. Snow Peak Titanium Cafe Press (AKA French Press) CS-111
4. Snow Peak Mini Solo Cook Set Ti SCS-004T
5. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton MSCS-2
6. Blue Bottle bonmac One Hole Ceramic Dripper with #4 paper filters
7. Blue Bottle “Chiapas”–Freshly Roasted Of Course!

I prefer Snow Peak for several reasons. It’s quality gear, and innovative. They place a priority on preparing coffee in the out-of-doors with their Titanium Cafe Press and their other coffee products. In addition, the equipment is made in Japan, where a lot of good design originates. Also, I don’t have to struggle with buying goods from a country where I have differing views on human rights (enough said).  The Snow Peak Cafe Press performs well, and there is an extra little skirt on the plunger to reduce chalk and grit in your cup.

The Hario Grind

The Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is a must have for any coffee lover. I bought it for the office or hiking or backpacking, and now I use it all the time at home. The ceramic burr design is appreciated (no flimsy blade knock off here). You can also field strip it in seconds-for cleaning, and every part is dishwasher safe. If you don’t have one of these grinders, the only thing I can say is, shame on you. They are so much fun, and grinding your own beans in any remote location is so nice. The Hario is one of those possessions that I would retrieve from my burning house, that’s how much I like it.  The directions are entirely in Japanese, but the unit is intuitive and therefore easy to use, adjust, and clean. Who reads directions anyway? Buy it now. Everything Hario makes is fantastic.

The ceramic dripper by Bonmac is also from Japan, and although it is a little heavy for packing, you can pound tent stakes with it all day, and then drip a great cup. This baby won’t break; unless you get angry, and smash it against a boulder.  However, that will never happen when your having so much fun, relaxing under the spell of caffeine.  Sure, there are lighter drippers (AKA pour overs) for backpacking.  I have a plastic frame weight weeny pour over with a nylon filter that fits in the bottom of the fuel canister, but it doesn’t compare to the Bonmac in aesthetics or taste. When ever I use this light weight contraption, I feel like I am brewing the grind in a bra from Victoria Secret.  So, don’t hassle me about weight. I love the Bonmac as an outdoor brewing method, it’s faster than Chemex, and certainly not as fragile.  Most important to me is the fact that the taste results are tip top.

One last piece of advice, be sure to use your field equipment at home before the trek. It’s good to get acquainted with the gear to eliminate problems before you get to the hills.  If your experience is anything like mine, you may discover that making good coffee doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, and can compliment your outdoor fun.

Blue Bottle Chiapas Blooming in the Wild

So, put together a coffee kit, grab a day pack, come out of your kitchens, and cafes. Enjoy the wilderness. Enjoy your coffee.

Keep Drinking!

Pat Riggs

Thanks to my son Casey Riggs who took the photos for this post! –Thanks buddy.

© all photographic and literary rights reserved 2010 Pat Riggs

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “DIY: The World is Your Cafe

  1. pop

    Great writing and illustrations. Really enjoy reading about how the younger generation enjoys themselves. Keep up the great writing!

    • codaditopo

      Younger. Ha Ha. You must be referring to my camera man, Casey who by the way is having the big 15 birthday in the next few days.

  2. david a seiler

    wow! sweet set up and location! and the bike is sweet too if you ever come to oakland well ride and check out subrosa and ride the lake. much respect david a seiler

  3. codaditopo

    Thanks, David. We will get Giselle to come along too! That would be so cool. I hear she is riding every weekend.

    Yes I would like to check out Sub Rosa. I hear they really did their homework, and the presentation of coffee is excellent.

    Best,

    Pat

  4. Giselle

    Where can I get one of those Hario grinders? I don’t think I can ride with you guys, you are a lot faster and younger than I, well I know “little” David is. Pat, have David told you about “Victorian Rat” is coming to Oakland on June 05.
    Best wishes, viva el cafe!

  5. Michaela

    Pat,

    This is my favorite blog! It was hilarious! The pictures are gorgeous…makes me want to go bike and brew coffee. Keep writing!!

  6. kathryn b.

    No wonder you can stay young: coffee, scenery, a bike, your son. I can smell it all while reading this, thanks for the break.

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