Hurried mornings seem to be the norm these days. They are accompanied with a barrage of dings, chirps and whistles beckoning us to screens, fragmenting our attention and pulling you towards work while your coffee gets cold. It’s an all too common occurrence.
We’re all looking for ways to slow down. Especially when it comes to the things that are important to us (like coffee). This desire to slow down paired with a love of the outdoors and life on two wheels has led to an ad-hoc community movement across the country. Somewhere along a riverbank in LA, Austin, Seattle, Portland or Minneapolis you will find a wide range of individuals coming together in the name of reclaiming time, and making a good cup of coffee among friends both old and new. These meetups, known across social media as #coffeeoutside or #campcoffee, bring together folks from a refreshingly wide range of cultures and lifestyles. At coffee outside you meet someone new, someone interesting, someone with a story that you otherwise wouldn't hear. Oh, and people bring donuts, too. Actually, that’s the perfect analogy: the people you meet at coffee outside are as diverse as a box of two dozen donuts, and just as enjoyable.
Once you find yourself (or establish) a group of fellow coffee lovers the next step is to find a proper location. In the case of LA, PDX and Austin, river banks seem to be prime spots for morning outdoor brewing. They also stay cool in the punishing heat of summer. After working out a location (with a backup or two), it’s time to decide on your gear and method for getting coffee in your cup. There are dozens of approaches and hundreds of combinations of gear and techniques. Ultimately it comes down to what works best for you and how much you want to learn.
There is a bare minimum of tasks you need to accomplish in order to find yourself with a lovely cup of coffee in your hands when in the outdoors. They are listed below with accompanying suggestions.
All of these methods and pieces of gear can work in a multitude of combinations and will ultimately depend on how you’re going to transport your setup and the type of coffee you want. One of the most enjoyable parts of coffee outside is chatting about brewing gear and methodology with the people around you, learning little tips and tricks along the way. Whether it’s with an old Rainier can and denatured alcohol or the latest JetBoil stove, it all comes down to conversations, community, and coffee. So, choose your own adventure, find new friends and slow down.
Pick up something from your local coffee roaster or, ahem, MiiR Flagship, currently featuring beans from SF’s Four Barrel Coffee.
Yes, you have to earn that coffee and bring a mill to grind those beans. Check out the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill.
Unless you found a pristine spot in the woods by a running mountain stream, you should bring your water with you. MiiR Wide Mouth
Check out the legendary Aeropress, the go to brewing travel method for those who take their coffee seriously.
Alternatively, you can set up a mobile pour over station using the Hario V60 Plastic Dripper or an Ortlieb Filter.
Your local favorite. (thrillist.com/best-donut-shops-america)
Words by Adam Kachman. Adam is a coffee-obsessed photographer and cyclist currently based in Portland, OR. You can follow him here at @adamkachman
Photos by Adam Kachman, Jake Szymanski and Randall Fransen.
Share your coffee outside stories & images using #CoffeeOutside.