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You’ve woken up to the sunlight illuminating the inside of your tent. You're warm and layered up, tightly cocooned in your sleeping bag, but the cold on your nose is letting you know the morning is a fresh one! The smell of campfire still lingers in the air from the night before and with a little first-morning movement you realize your body is feeling yesterday's hike a little more than expected! But you love it, and with a committed push into the cold, you unzip your tent and take a look at the wilderness waking up at the same rate as you are. Dew settles on the greenery, the ash inside the circle of rocks beside your tent now lifeless, one chard log left champion amongst the rest. It’s day 2 now, and with a few kilometres ahead of you, it’s time to warm up and fuel up. You’ve got your eyes directly on the best way to do so… Coffee.
Yes, we’d all love to hear our order called out as we are packing up our tent. “I’ve got one large double shot, oat caramel latte with extra froth, extra hot, two sugars with a pump of vanilla, shaken not stirred”. But amongst the birds chirping and the wind in the leaves, that order never comes. It’s up to us as campers to prepare for the camping coffee dilemma, and it’s no myth that even the most bitter, watered-down instant coffee can leave us with an “ahhh” after the first sip in the wilderness. So what if we took out the ‘comfortable discomfort’ of trekking through the bush, the morning soreness, the ashy eyes and smoke-smelling hair, and made a camping coffee after a nice hot shower? What if we whipped up a backcountry brew in the comfort of our own homes? To see how good a camping coffee really is? Well, that’s exactly what I did.
For a couple of my latest trips I’ve been using the Wacaco Coffee MiniPresso NS as my go-to ‘source of go’… And it’s been great, but like I brought up earlier I wanted to test this outside of the facade of ‘any coffee is good coffee’, so one fine September morning, a morning in which I had the pleasure of waking up in my own apartment, in my own bed. I got up and showered, headed over to the kitchen and made TWO coffees. One using the MiniPresso, and one using my espresso machine.
I was ready to set things straight. I was sick of the lies, it was time to determine once and for all if coffee I thought was good while camping actually was good while camping. So today was the day. Now before I set out and reveal the results, there are a couple of things to note. I wanted to focus on the quality of the coffee more than the taste of it. I believe this to be the right approach as coffee grounds will vary depending on where you are, what you’ve accidentally or intentionally bought, and the list goes on. Perhaps you want to save your best coffee for home and might take a cheaper option into the bush. I don’t know on what planet this decision would be logical, rational or acceptable, but I'm giving everyone the benefit of the doubt here.
So what was I looking for? I was looking for color, for crema, for how it combined with the milk (I was using oat). How it felt on the first sip, was it diluted? Was it not? I wanted to treat each brew like I had pulled them both from the finest espresso machine imaginable and lift the MiniPresso into the realms of cafe quality. For the machine, I used one of my favorite beans, and for the MiniPresso a good quality, widely recognised pod that I had used in the past and knew tasted great. Don’t forget - The MiniPresso NS is a pod machine, but Wacaco also offers the coffee grounds option.
The Minipresso was a lot darker than the espresso and definitely a little more diluted. Pumping the press can too be a little challenging but I think with each time I use the press, the ratio of how much water to add becomes a little better and on point. Obviously, with the machine you don’t have this issue as it’s done automatically. The machine tasted a little stronger, as expected but for some, this could even pass as a positive.
Both coffees had a great crema on their shot. There was a clear separation of coffee and foam on the surface of the liquid. The first time I saw this from the MiniPresso I was thoroughly impressed, the crema is a great way to determine the quality of an espresso, it’s made when the water emulsifies oils from the coffee and floats them to the surface. If the thought of seeing a crema on an espresso shot in the middle of the wilderness seems like a far-fetched ambition, it does - but not an impossible one that's to the MiniPresso!
I added steamed oat milk to both the machines and the Minipresso espresso shot. “But you don’t get steamed milk while camping?” I know, but I could, so I did. I wanted to drink these cuppas like I was being served them at a cafe and really dive into the fact that one could be taken on my next multi-day hike while one couldn’t. Overall both were too close for comparison after the milk, which I believe to be a big up for the MiniPresso once again holding its ground against the machine.
At 360g you can pull an espresso shot, with crema, good color, and great overall quality in the middle of absolutely nowhere, no machine, no electricity. What do you think the conclusion is going to be! The Wacaco Minipresso in my opinion is a fantastic solution to all the camping coffee nuts out there. Yes, the espresso could be a touch less diluted and maybe after playing around with different pods (or by using the GR Model) You could rectify any slight loss of quality you’d find from an espresso machine. But to have a coffee as good as any you could have at home while you’re out on your next adventure, why would any of those tiny disadvantages matter anyway?
If you have any questions on the Wacaco MiniPresso or any other of our extensive range of coffee brewing gadgets you can shoot us a message online or come into one of our stores to chat with our experts. Until then, stay caffeinated. (And don’t cut yourself short on quality!)
Not sure what gear you need for your next adventure? Chat to our friendly team of Outdoor Gear Specialists in-store or online today and don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Instagram by tagging @wildearthaustralia and #mywildearth in your next post.