Coffee! (How-to make it off-grid)…

Coffee is a non-negotiable part of my life.  I must have it every morning, after workout, on the drive to work, while I check my emails, with my 10am banana, after lunch and most likely at 3.

I will trade coffee for work.  In fact I do.  One of the guys I train (exercise) pays me in coffee beans.  I feel like this is an ideal system and the rest of the world needs to follow suit.

;). I digress…

To the point of this post:  how to make coffee off-grid!  No electric coffee makers here. Because an electric coffee pot has a heating element our solar system doesn’t have enough power to push it.

This leaves us 2 options; the stove-top percolator or a French press.


Stove-top percolator


French Press

As with any coffee system you have to measure out the coffee to water ratio to your preference.

To operate the percolator, fill the carafe with water, set it on the stove then place the metal basket with stem down into the carafe.  Fill the basket with coffee (no filter), place the flat lid on the basket, then place the lid on the pot.  Set the stove to medium-high and wait for it to boil.

The boiling action of the water pushes water through the metal stem to the basket and then it flows through the coffee.

Let this continue for a few minutes-again this comes down to your preference of coffee strength.  Turn off the stove, grab a hot pad, take off the lid (without burning yourself) remove the basket of coffee carefully, and pour yourself a cup of coffee.

French press method:  get a kettle to boil water in, fill it and boil it on the stove.  While it’s getting hot, take the lid off your French press.  Attached to it will be a stem with a flat wire-mesh screen on the bottom.

French Press set up & coffee

Set it aside.  Put your coffee grounds into the bottom of the glass carafe. 

Place coffee grounds in carafe

Once your water boils, pour it on top of the coffee grounds.  Amount of water depends on amount of coffee.  I have found for both systems, I like 4 scoops to a full carafe of water.

Pour water over grounds


Place the lid back on the carafe.  The stem should be sticking up.  

Place lid on carafe

Wait patiently, it’s cooking.  Go do something and leave it alone for a few minutes.  I generally go get dressed or take a trip to the outhouse.  The longer you leave it the stronger the coffee.  When you’re ready, push the stem down gently.  (If you get beastly with it you will create a geyser of hot liquid out of the spout.)

Press stem down carefully

 The pressing action forces the hot water through the coffee grounds.  Once pressed down its ready to pour.  The coffee grounds are pressed to the bottom of the carafe leaving coffee above the wire mesh.

Note the towel around the carafe.  Glass does not retain heat as well as metal and the coffee cools down quickly in our 55 degree space. Our solution is to keep it wrapped up and warm!

Both methods take about 10 minutes from beginning to first sip of magic.  I prefer the taste of French press over percolated because I think the stove top boiled version tastes like metal-that could totally be my imagination, by the way.

Neither method produces the flavor of coffee that comes out of an electric pot.  (I, however, personally prefer the French press flavor.)  With both there is the possibility of coffee grounds in your cup and because there is no filter, the clean up can be a little more messy.

We throw our left over coffee-there’s rarely much of that :)-in the yard along with the grounds.  The mesquite tree appreciates the caffeine and moisture and our mice friends eat every ground.  If you prefer, you could just put in the trash–but do know that it’s also a great addition to compost!!!

Again I digress…I suggest trying both methods to find your preference.  Both set ups cost about $20-30-kettle included.




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