Category Archives: Wyoming Life

The Perks of Camp Coffee

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

For heavens sake! Nobody wants to hear your generator at zero seven thirty!

You say you don’t like percolated coffee? That is because you are not doing it right.

I never thought I’d using that internet cliche in a bog, but it’s true. I didn’t like it either until I got it right.

We bought an RV upgraded from tent camping to glamping in 2015, my first pot for the rig was one of those enamel ones without a see through thingy-bob on the top and I used the RV sink water. Tent camping and making a large pot of percolated/boiled coffee never bothered me, it was strong and hot, exactly I want after sleeping in a tent. But my first several pots of RV coffee were awful, since then I got it figured out. So now that my delicious cup of percolated coffee is ready I thought I’d jot down the way to make a good cup of camp coffee.

Get the right pot

You spent good money on that electric coffee maker, don’t go cheep with your camp coffee pot. Get one that will double for a camp fire and RV cooktop coffee pot. Mine was a Christmas gift from my husband, he found it at Cabela’s. I found the same one on Amazon, and linked it here.

Material: Mine is a stainless steel pot with high-temp stainless steel handles, I’m not sure if stainless steel over enamel makes a big difference in taste, but the stainless steel ones seem to have a better construction. I wound NOT get an aluminum one, I think it gives a really bad aftertaste. I used one in the 80’s and can still taste it as I type this.

PercView knob: Get one with a glass knob, you want to see when it starts percolating so you can time it, and you don’t want it melting if you put it on an open campfire.

Basket: Find one with a basket assembly with a custom fit and evenly distributes the water while percolating.

Stainless and Glass

Fitted Basket Cover

Fitted basket assembly

Get the right grind and grind it right.

Don’t go cheep and easy just because you are camping, buy what you like when you go out for breakfast. Whether relaxing by the river or vacationing, you deserve the best.

Beans: I start with good whole beans, Starbucks is my favorite for camp coffee. I usually get Italian roast but have used their specialty dark roast coffees as well.

Grind [Important!]: Get it ground for a percolator, not a drip maker. Whenever I ask for this at Starbucks the staff usually looks at me like I have a chicken on my head. These young people have never seen a percolator. Rodger Dudley at the Smiths in Jackson, however, knows exactly what I am asking for and gets it perfect every time. If you don’t have a Rodger, and you get that look ask for the french press grind setting.

Storage:

Keep your ground coffee in a tight fitting container and in a cupboard out of the light. I use a Tupperware container. The small green container contains the filters.

 

Good water:

For a weekend camp I fill a one gallon Tupperware container with filtered water from my house tap. I am fortunate to have good tap water. For longer camps I use bottled water, I buy enough gallon jugs to make coffee every morning.

Filters:

They do make filters for percolators, get some. Put a filter in the empty basket before adding the grounds, then another on top the grounds, before putting the lid on the basket. this contains most the loose grounds and makes cleanup much easier.

Round Filter

Filter on top and bottom

Measure [Important!]:

Tastes vary, I like strong coffee and camp at high altitude. Start with one rounded scoop (tablespoon) per 8 ounces of water. If your coffee has good flavor but is to week or too strong adjust your ratio of grounds to water accordingly.

Lightly tap the grounds so they are even in the basket but you do not want to compress the grounds.

Please reply below with your beans, ratio of water and grounds, percolating time, an altitude.

Time the percs [Important!]:

Use a high flame but not one coming up the sides of the pot. Once it starts percolating, perc for 3 to 5 minutes. No more than 5. I need 5 minutes at high altitude, however if you are camping at sea level 3 minutes should be sufficient.

  • If your coffee tastes watered down it needs another minute or two of percolating time.
  • If your coffee tastes bitter or burnt it needs less percolating time.

Your coffee pot will be hot! Have a hot pad ready when pouring your cup of joe.


Keeping it hot:

You can either put the coffee in a thermos or reheat on stove as needed. If reheating on stove DO NOT boil and especially do not re-percolate.

Cleaning:

Be sure to wash your pot after every use, getting any old coffee grounds and film out of the pot. The filters help contain most of the grounds, I use a paper towel to wipe away the rest of the grounds into the trash, then wash all the parts in hot soapy water.

  • A straw cleaning brush works great to clean the tubes if they get icky.
  • Avoid getting grounds into your gray tank.

Straw cleaning brush

Ready for next brew

 

More tips:

  • Coffee comes out better if I get it ready to put on the fire before I go to bed.
  • Coffee always tastes better when made to drink with a friend.
  • If all else fails, add some Baily’s

Enjoy!

 

Please reply with your beans, ratio of water and grounds, percolating time, an altitude.

 



Milk the Cow Theory

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Valued Advice from an Old Cowhand

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.When I was 16  my family moved from Southern California to Bishop, a small town 40 miles south of Mammoth Mountain. It was there that I first learned to ski and love the mountain life. Just after graduation met a cowboy and I traded in my city slick’n lifestyle for good. We traveled the western states with everything we owned in the back of an old 70’s ford station wagon complete with the classic faux wood stripe. As short lived as my life in that world was, I learned a lot about ranch life, it was quite the education. Since then I never looked at a piece of beef, or a gallon of milk the same again.

Ranch jobs were generally in the middle of nowhere and included housing, beef, fresh rocky mountain oysters, and sometimes fresh milk. The women stayed home, cared for the house, the cooking, the dogs, and the men. Sometimes we got paid $20 a day to work the ground crew during brandings. And if we were lucky, housing was close enough together for us “Women Folk” to visit over a pot of coffee and a game of Gin Rummy, after the chores were done of course. My particular Cowboy, or as he like to be called “Buckaroo”, went through jobs (and wives) like scours through a calf, I got to sample a variety of ranches in a short amount of time. I could write a blog on the ranch in Lida, Nevada alone, but that’s another story.



One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was handed is one I use to this day. In 1980 we started a job on a JR Simplot feed lot in Mountain Home, Idaho. The housing was one of the better houses we lived in, except the fact that it was unfurnished. Remember I told you every thing we owned fit in the back of a station wagon. COW BOSS: In charge of the cattle operation on a ranch. They choose where the cowboys will ride and hire and fire cowboys. Answer to the general manager.After our first day on the ranch we were invited to dinner at the Cow Bosses house. He was a rugged old cowboy, like you might see on a painting of the old west. I was about 120 lbs soaking wet and had that city girl look, I felt small, out of place, and painfully shy. The Cow Boss’s wife was in the kitchen cooking like a pro, I was in the living room trying not to say something stupid. After a bit he asked me, in his natural bellowing voice, “Do you know how to mike a cow?”. Afraid of what he may say when he heard my answer, I very meekly said “no”. He replied in a very authoritative tone “Well don’t learn! Or you will be out there early every morning milking the cows.”.

Milk the Cow Theory” was born.

I never learned how to mend fence either, spouting off my “Milk the Cow” theory as a reason not to help. “Nope, I don’t want to learn to milk that cow”. As a matter of fact, I can’t even be fooled into mending fence. (You know who you are 🙂 )


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Greenriver Lake by tetontrekker

 

Greenriver Lake by tetontrekker

For pricing and more photos by TetonTrekker go to my page at DeviantArt