If you are like me a morning in camp just doesn't feel right without a hot cup of coffee. I'm no coffee snob but I am particular about my coffee and how much effort and time is involved from starting the brew, to sitting in my chair enjoying it. That's why I was really excited to give the Stanley Boil and Brew french press and try.
Impatience usually leads to subpar results. My first ventures into quicker and easier morning coffee lead my to the dreaded instant coffee. While cheap and easy, the taste was absolutely foul. It did give me the "pick-me-up" one looks for in coffee. But what use is that if you struggle to drink it down?
My next option was to grab an old percolator from a pile of family camping gear. So many people swear by it. Growing up a percolator was my fathers preferred method for camp coffee. Though, I try to wipe away the memories of the gritty tar that is his coffee. (Sorry Dad)
The percolator was great. Taste wise, even the cheapest store brand coffee was a vast improvement over a top name brand instant packet. The struggle I had with it was the time it took from igniting the stove to sipping the coffee. When it's below freezing in the morning (I camp well into the fall and winter), you want that good coffee ASAP. We all know what happens when you watch a pot waiting to boil, unfortunately as a percolator not only requires the water to reach boiling, you then have to let it run on boiling to brew the coffee. Too much time for me and too much fuel just for a cup of coffee.
Here is where the Stanley Boil & Brew comes in. It's a two in one 32oz stainless steel pot for general water boiling tasks, coupled with a easy to use french press for brewing coffee. As soon as I saw it it went straight into the Amazon shopping list. Any time a product serves more than one purpose and saves me storage space in my car or camper van I'm extra excited about it. Especially when it comes in at a reasonable price. I paid around $25 for the Boil & Brew on Amazon (prices fluctuate but I've since seen it as low as $18) A tremendous value in my opinion.
-Dimensions 4.25"L x 4.25"W x 7.64"H
-18/8 Stainless Steel
-BPA free plastic press
How To Use
These are how I use it (again coffee brewing preferences are wide varied and nearly as debate worthy as religion to some folks) Feel free to experiment with what works for you.
1) Add water to about .5" below to full mark on the side of the pot.
2) Warm water on camp stove until water is hot enough that you cannot put your finger tip in it for more than a half second or so. (Of course you could also allow to water to reach a full boil if you prefer)
3) Add coffee to the hot water and give a quick stir. (Amount will vary on your preferred strength of coffee, but a decent rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons for every 8oz of water, so around 8 tablespoons for this 32oz pot)
4) Reduce heat and let simmer for a couple minuets then kill the heat completely and let sit for another minuet or two.
5) Slowly press the plastic french press liner into the pot trapping the grounds to the bottom.
6) Pour and enjoy
Lets Talk Pros
-As I mentioned the price is very reasonable.
-Don't have to boil the water. (This obviously dips into the dark world of coffee brewing etiquette and preferences. Personally I don't boil the water with this french press. I let it get just too hot to comfortably drink then add the coffee and let it steep) This gets the coffee in my cup faster than the percolator can, and also saves me fuel.
-Compact size. The pot itself is not too big and the handles fold in around the pot making storing it much easier than the old percolator which had a large handle protruding out the side.
-Can get away with using pre-ground coffee. Again, dipping into the murky subject of brewing do's & don'ts. As I said I'm not a coffee snob. I personally find that the mesh screen on the Boil & Brew is fine enough that I can get away with using preground coffee without having flashbacks to my fathers crunchy coffee. Of course it probably is better in taste and use to use a fresh coarse ground coffee, but in my opinion not entirely necessary.
-Dribble Dribble. Occasionally I have found that water can get past the rubber seal on the press and dribble from under the pouring spout. This can create a bit of a mess when pouring so I now am cautious when pouring into my cup and watching for the dribbles.
-Don't fill the the full Line. In my experience adding water to the full line inevitable results in water spilling up and out of the pot when pressing the coffee. I now make sure to fill to about a half inch below the full line to avoid this.
-I wish the handles had some kind of rubber coating. Depending on the size of the burner being used the metal wire handles can get too hot to touch. I tend to strategically position the handles to that they are far enough away from the heat that they don't absorb too much.
I can't recommend this french press enough. It does have a few quirks in it's use, but for me the convivences outweigh them all. I can confidently say that this will be my camp coffee companion for a long time to come.