The Best Coffee for Your Next Backcountry Adventure
By Shannon Hawthorne, TMS Employee
It is cold. Like long johns on, sleeping bag hood up, tiny breathing hole out of my cinched up sleeping bag cold. Fall is here and I am not ready to face the crisp air but the coffee is calling and the trail is not going to hike itself. I know a beautiful view and an amazing cup of coffee is waiting so I pack my gear and head up the mountain with an extra clip in my step… Yes, I said amazing cup of coffee in the backcountry and no I am not carrying my french press and a bag of fresh ground coffee.
I recently set out on a mission to find the best coffee for backcountry adventures that we could supply at Tahoe Mountain Sports. This was partially a selfish mission because I am a bit of a coffee snob. After working as a barista for a winter I discovered my passion for small batch, single origin coffees roasted to perfection, even in the backcountry. But, I am tired of carrying around spent grounds on backpacking trips and attempting to clean them out of my pot without turning the local bear population into coffee lovers. I figured there has to be a coffee out there that is both delicious and convenient to enjoy in the backcountry right? The answer is yes, such coffee does exist for us backcountry loving, self-proclaimed coffee snobs.
The Tahoe Mountain Sports employees have been very well caffeinated with our many coffee tastings the past couple weeks. We found two amazing options to make getting out of the sleeping bag on a cold fall morning a more worthwhile. Two options made the cut: Treeline Coffee’s Geo individual pour overs and Swift Cup’s instant coffee. Geo makes traditional ground coffee in a small pour over package for the coffee lover on the go. Swift Cup makes single origin instant coffees that taste amazing and will not weigh you down with spent grounds or trash. Here is what you need to know about the best coffee for your fall adventures.
The Winners: The Best Backpacking Coffee
Geo by Treeline Coffee
Geo, created and roasted by Treeline Coffee based in Bozeman, MT, makes single serve pour over pouches perfect for camping, backpacking, or just taking to work when you are tired of the Keurig machine. These little pour overs make an amazingly smooth and rich cup of coffee! I would say it is just as good if not better than a pour over from the local coffee shop. Geo roasts all of their own coffee then packages it in single serving disposable pour over filters with built in stands (see photos). The stand easily attaches to the top of your cup then you just add hot water to the grounds until you have a delicious cup of coffee. The only downside to carrying Geo coffee is that you have to pack the spent grounds and filter back out of the backcountry. Just a small sacrifice to make for having the best backcountry coffee you will ever taste…
- Amazing cup of coffee (like so good I want to have it every morning instead of my aero press).
- Small batch roasted and single origin varieties with complex and smooth flavor
- Easy to carry with very little mess (just fold the grounds into the filter and stick it all back in the package to pack it out.)
- Takes a couple minutes to brew
- Requires packing out spent coffee grounds
If you want a faster, simpler coffee option then Swift Cup is for you. Swift Cup is on a mission to show the world that instant coffee can be just as good as regular coffee and they are succeeding. Their little packages of instant coffee are smooth and complex, unlike every other instant coffee I have tasted. Swift Cup has created a variety of single origin coffees so each morning brew can be unique. This is the most convenient coffee I have carried for traveling. Just find a hot water dispenser and you have good coffee. For a speedy brew in the morning with no trash besides the packet, this is the perfect coffee choice.
- Takes a second to brew
- The only trash is the packet from the coffee
- Not quite as delicious as fresh ground coffee