Crag Coffee: 6 Essentials For Perfect Brews

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Julie Ellison
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MSR Reactor 1.0L With French Press Integrated stove systems
are the way to go if you’re just boiling water, and with this delightfully easy French press adapter, just add water and ground coffee to get a coffee house–worthy brew. In less than eight minutes (boil time for one liter is 3.5 minutes, allow water to sit in grounds for four minutes), you’ll have a hot cup of joe to give you the morning fix. This all-in-one setup weighs in at a mere 16.6 ounces (add eight ounces for the medium canister). Tip: As with all French presses, use
a coarse grind to get a fuller, more flavorful brew.
$190 (stove and 1L pot), $20 (press); msrgear.com

Crag coffee

Starbucks VIA If you’ve ever scoffed at instant coffee or the Starbucks mega-chain, it’s time to give both another chance. This actually tastes like real coffee. No gadgets, brewing, or steeping necessary, just add hot water and go. The best feature for climbers is that these little packets are miniscule in size and weight. We could quickly judge how many packets to grab instead of bringing too much pre-ground coffee or—even worse—too little. Instructions say to mix each with eight ounces, but we found the best brew by adding about six ounces per packet. Plus, there are tons of different choices: flavors, caffeine level, iced/hot, or latte.$8 (8 packets of French roast); starbucks.com

Bonfire Coffee Jeff Hollenbaugh, a climber for 25 years, runs Bonfire Coffee (formerly Defiant Bean Roaster) in the mountain town of Carbondale, Colorado. (Rifle, anyone?) What started as a typical climber coffee addiction turned into a home-roasting obsession that eventually led to Hollenbaugh roasting professionally. He says, “Climbers are inherently coffee fiends it seems, so my connection to the climbing world made our coffees an easy sell to the climbing community.” And Bonfire sponsors the popular climbing podcast the Enormocast (enormocast.com). We loved the Blend X, a medium-dark roast with just the right amount of acidity.
$12–$16; bonfirecoffee.com

GSI Outdoors JavaMill If you absolutely must have your coffee fresh-ground but don’t want to carry the weight of a grinder, this light but burly gadget is for you. Ceramic hand grinders are a must-have for java elitists, and the JavaMill fits the bill perfectly without the weight and sizeable price tag oother models. Fine-tune the grounds for various presses, filters, and machines, and do it anywhere—near a power source or not. The unit weighs 9.3 ounces, and the handle nests against the body so it fits in the outer mesh pocket on your pack.$30; gsioutdoors.com

Aerobie Aeropress Espresso lovers take note: Not only is this unique setup super-quick, but the brew that comes out is bold and dense, which gives you options. Add a bit of hot water for an Americano or add milk for a latte. There’s no steeping time like with a French press, and it takes about one minute to put together, add grounds/ water, stir, and press. Clearly marked lines make it easy to add just the right amount of water, and an included scoop ensures you get the precise amount of grounds, too. The overall package is sleek and compact as well, with a weight of 8.5 ounces.$32 (includes tote bag); aerobie.com

Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle 500 Right off the bat this travel mug elicited ooh’s and aah’s from our caffeine-obsessed staff members, but it really won us over when we realized we could also slide a bottle of beer in it to keep it protected and cold (nothing to do with coffee, true, but an important detail). The Kanpai comes with three tops: a cold lid with freezable gel pack, a thermal lid that keeps liquids hot for six hours, and a drinking lid that provides easy sippin’ while insulating. The smaller 350 has all the same features and fits a 12-ounce can.$80; snowpeak.com