Coffee or tea?

10:44 p.m. on April 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Me, I'm a coffee guy, pretty much, but, that said, I like a fine cup of tea as much or more than most, too. Best cup o' tea I ever had was in the Bob some years back, brewed up by a friend when there was a foot-plus of new snow on the ground, more coming down, and we weren't going anywhere. It was August. But I digress....

For you, is it coffee? Tea? Or something else? And if one of the preceding pair, how do you prepare it? Any luxurious methods, or is it "cowboy coffee" using last week's grounds?

My own favorite--and an admitted luxury when backpacking--is a Bialetti Moka Express. I've got a small one, makes enough for me, an espresso-like coffee, and that's it. It requires a brief ritual and some attention--when it gurgles, it's done--and I mean done NOW, not in a little bit. But it makes some fantastic coffee and gives the morning a certain aura and me a sense of panache I'd not have that early in the day otherwise.

I've also used the MSR filters that fit in a cup to make up or pour coffee in the aforementioned "cowboy style", but that doesn't always answer well. French presses to me have always seemed "sissified"--it's irrational, but there it is. Some people actually drink--gag, choke--instant coffee. Okay, I'll admit, I will, too, in a pinch, but, c'mon, really now....

As for tea, I like Twinings Darjeeling. Brewed strong, bag in the cup, either straight or with a hint of lemon and/or sugar. Makes fantastic iced tea, too, btw.

11:10 p.m. on April 9, 2009 (EDT)
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At home, I'm a COFFEHOLIC! I drink about 1 1/2 pots per day by myself. I used to take a lexan press camping, but I've recently started to do more miles per trip, which means I've tried to cut back on weight.

Since the press is heavy and kind of a logistical problem to clean, I've taken to doing instant. It tastes better in the backcountry after a night of poor sleep than it does at home.

11:37 p.m. on April 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I would be interested to hear what kind of tea ya'll like when backpacking. Any great pine needle recipes?

12:12 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Will--You see my preference above. Twinings Darjeeling. Next would be their Earl Grey. Now, were I in the UK, where they take their tea much more seriously, there'd be more and better choices. Even the mundane selections over there are better than much of the stuff we get here, it seems.

I don't have any recipes for pine needle tea, nor do I want one. I've had sassafrass tea--umm, "interesting", I guess, but that's about it. Also dandelion tea--very bitter the one time I had it.

On a different note, I do like the occasional taste of chicory in coffee. Brings along some nostalgic images for me.

12:13 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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For me, it's tea. When it's cooler, especially in fall, I enjoy a nice chai.

12:17 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Nate--

Regarding caffeine intake--what are your pharmacology folks teaching about it these days? It's been linked with all sorts of things, as I'm sure you're aware, ranging from dysrhythmias to tinnitus, pancreatitis to aggravation of Meniere's disease, gastroesophageal reflux to vertigo. It's a frequent treatment in NICUs for premies with apnea, btw.

12:38 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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The more recent studies we've looked at seem to indicate that the only clinically significant side effect is HTN. Since I've been on low-so diet and high dose Dyazide for the Meniere's, and because I try to swim laps for about an hour a day, my BP totally bottomed out. I didn't used to drink this much coffee, and I think that's why I feel like I need to... it bringns my BP back up into the normal range where I feel like a human.

I don't have a problem with reflux, and it only seems to aggravate Meniere's with regard to vertigo, not the other symptoms. Since vertigo is something that only rarely bothers me, I don't usually worry about it. I already gave up all the food in the world that tastes good... I think giving up coffee would make life not worth living.

I had the meniere's under control for most of this year, but for about the last month I've lost control of my symptoms, no matter what I do. Because of that, I stopped taking the dyazide about 4 days ago. If I'm going to be deaf, I'm at least going to wear my contacts again.

4:47 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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For me it's BOTH I drink coffee from morning to dusk and after dusk I like tea unless its very hot and then I drink a lot of iced tea (unsweetened)

east_stingray

I have a small GSI Lexan french press too but if I was trying to cut back on weight I would give up my sleeping bag before I would give up my coffee LOL.

6:27 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Coffee. I used to work about 150 yards away from the Thanksgiving Coffee Company and can still imagine the smell on the days the wind was just right when they were roasting. Even after going lightweight with my gear I still carry some ground coffee, some #2 filters and one of those small plastic things that you fill with grounds and water while it sits on the rim of your mug.

9:01 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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I'd have to say Coffee... I'm a 3-4 cup a day guy at home so I need to feed that addiction on the trail too. Unfortunately I have mainly only used instant coffee which I have yet to find one that tastes great... But when you need the fix instant it works...

9:30 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm sipping my Joe now, the "Classic Cup" blend by the Roasterie, a local coffee roaster here in KC. They make some excellent roasts; the Classic Cup is also a local restaurant that has long served wonderful coffee.

DM--I'm not familiar with the Thanksgiving Coffee Co. Should I be?

And are there any epicurean tea aficionados out there?

9:33 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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f klock--

Just what exactly is a chai? [Yeah, I suppose I could Google "chai", but....] I see it all around, but it always looks like a cup of Missouri River, yet it has a froo-froo sort of image about it.

10:07 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm totally addicted to coffee at home. It's absolutely impossible to wake up at 5 in the morning and go to work in the freezing rain or snow without a coffee. The only time i don't seem to miss it is on trips. I will sometimes make a batch of cowboy coffee and mix it with the hot chocolates on winter trecks for a fast start. If you mix the grounds in the pot with cold water, bring to a boil then sprinkle some snow in your pot the grounds will sink to the bottom and you can have a real good coffee with no extra gear.

I carry some green tea leaves my wife brought me from China, it tastes really good and is easy to dispose of, it's just leaves!

I also like Labrador tea for relaxed evenings, it's easy enough to find up here and is also a mild narcotic. You need to let it steep for a long time in a thermos but it sure puts you to sleep.

"Thé des bois" in french (Gaultheria procumbens) is also another favorite. Well worth the time to look for it, but it's fairly obivous around rocky trails.

I've drank spruce needles and orange peels tea and it's good, but i think you can't boil the needles unless you want to drink turpentine...

There's a lot of other plants i've tried before with my classmates but i'm not sure enough to post it here. Maybe someone else that knows more about plants can help?

10:21 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry,

The best tea I've tasted, and by far, is 铁观音 (TIE GUANYIN)from fujian province in China. It's fermented a little, so it smells like flowers and doesn't taste bitter, even after the second hot water refill. The dry leaves look like little buds of...well you know! But in the cup they expand to big green fluffy leaves. Coffee looks like diluted mud after this, but at 1000 yuan (200$) a box, i keep it for special occasions!

10:49 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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I drink 1-2 pots of coffee a day while at home. In the bush I frequently skip coffee as the hassle of the grounds is a pain to deal with. I may buy the MSR cup thing and try that. I don't get headaches from the withdrawal, I'm just a bit groggy. Sometimes I bring tea bags, but I'm not a huge tea drinker. I do like instant cider on a cold morning or evening.

11:09 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Can't say I'm really into either one. Caffeine makes my heart beat fast and makes me feel run down.

But as for tea i prefer green tea with sugar or honey.

11:46 a.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Stranger or anyone else interested

Have you ever tried a coffee press the one I have is inexpensive light weight small & easy to use.

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___73410

12:14 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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hot cocoa and green tea (separately, not together)

"Chai" as served in the froufrou places like Peet's and Starbucks is not chai. Chai is the word for tea - just plain old tea, whether it is Darjeeling, pekoe, green tea, or whatever - in a number of languages (Earl Grey with its bergomat is not plain old tea, nor is Constant Comment with its orange peels retrieved from the garbage - yuck!). In some of the places where tea is the primary drink, there are things added, like milk, cream, or rancid yak butter, or even honey, maple syrup, or plain refined sugar.

On the other hand, "tea" generically is a beverage made from soaking leaves in water, whether hot water or, as in "sun tea" in a glass jar, with water and whatever kind of leaves set in direct sunlight. Hence sassafras tea or dandelion tea or willow tea (a beverage high in salycilates, and perhaps the most widespread pre-aspirin pain reliever in North America). I have run across some very strange "teas" that I didn't dare even sip a taste of.

1:12 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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I am reflux challenged, darn genetics! For me it is Bambu, which is Rye, Chicory, Barley, Malted Barley, Figs and Acorns. Believe it or not it does not taste as it sounds, it is quite yummy! The biggest treat is to add Sangsters to it. This is a cream rum liquor. I can have this on occassion as long as I don't push the booze limit. There are not many alcoholic beverages that don't bother reflux but I find it differs between individuals. Wine is the worst for me. I can tolerate a bit of beer but as a treat, not a regular thing!

1:21 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Neither for me. I don't care for tea and while I like the smell of coffee and coffee-flavored food, I just never started drinking it.

I love hot cocoa though and never go backpacking or camping without some.

2:34 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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[b]mike068[/b]

I have seen Presses and use the glass ones around the house... But never got one for a hike. I hadn't seen the in the one cup style like your link so I am more interested... I also started looking up the MSR MugMate when I saw Alan's reference above. So I guess my Question would be...

MugMate

http://www.msrgear.com/cookware/mugmate.asp

or

Press

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/detail.aspx?c=5&sc2=10&p=79416&lu=%2flist.aspx%3fc%3d5%26sc2%3d10&

 

Any Thoughts?

2:41 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Wilderness Gal--

Your description of Bambu is intriguing. Where do you get it? Do you have to mix it up yourself? I'd like to give it a try sometime--as long as it's not as expensive as Franc's favorite tea! ($200/box! Yikes!)

Alicia--If you like the smell of coffee, there's no time like the present to give it a try! If you do, I suggest that you try a properly brewed cup--find someone you know who really likes coffee, and see how he/she goes about it, maybe even ask them to share a bit. You may find you like it! (Sorry, just realized I'm proselytizing for coffee-drinking; didn't mean to get carried away....)

I, too, like hot cocoa. (Just made some homemade cocoa about an hour ago, whilst making some homemade dark chocolate mint cupcakes for my daughter's birthday. Mmmm-mmm!)

5:17 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry Clark,

DM--I'm not familiar with the Thanksgiving Coffee Co. Should I be?

I think they make some of the best coffee I've ever tasted. It is a small company in Fort Bragg, CA and they probably only sell in CA, western NV and maybe southern OR. The Golden Gate blend is my favorite, heavy, dark, with a nice bite to it. I gave up sugar and creamer when I started drinking Golden Gate. Maybe when I get back to Fort Bragg this summer I can send you some coffee.

edit: silly me, what with this new interwebz thing you can even buy their coffee online.

http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com/

7:55 p.m. on April 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Stranger

 

I have used something like the mug-mate before and it worked fine too. The only real difference it the grind for the press you should use a coarse grind and the mug-mate a fine grind would work better. So if you regularly use a press you may want to go with the small press for conveyance of only needing to buy one type of coffee.

2:05 a.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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For those looking at the MSR mugmate and a small French press--another option, similar in key ways to the MSR product, but with a twist--literally:

GSI's H2Jo!

I've got one of the mugmates, and have used it off/on. It works okay, but I like my Bialetti device much better.

dm--I'm gonna order some coffee from the Thanksgiving folks soon. (But I don't see the Golden Gate blend on their site; another recommendation?) Thanks for the reference.

2:14 a.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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One note on the Mugmate and similar devices--often, the coffee turns out a bit muddy, which I really don't care for. A coarse grind will help with that, but often it's "regular grind" only that someone's lugged along. That said, the Bialetti Moka Express works best with a very fine espresso grind, NOT a coarse grind.

7:52 a.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Coffee and tea are both staples on nearly every trip I take. Cowboy coffee in the mornings (a fairly-traded, shade-grown, single-batch variety) and peppermint or kava kava in the evenings.

I actually LOVE the little bits of grounds you get at the end of a pot of cowboy coffee...gives me something to chew on for a bit once I'm done.

9:12 a.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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gives me something to chew on for a bit once I'm done

 

Pillow, you're hardcore! (says Franc sipping on an espresso)

2:52 p.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry,

I'm a dark roast kind of guy. I have had the French roast, don't remember the Humboldt Blend, and had one of the blends that was replaced by the Noyo Harbor French. I would recommend any of those three to start with. I used to love Saturday mornings, doing my laundry at Lucy's Laundry and having breakfast and coffee next door at Cafe Vienna. The owner, Charley, introduced me to the Golden Gate Blend. As much as I dislike the political climate in CA I'm looking forward to another 4 years in Fort Bragg, I miss the coast.

I think the French Roast is probably my favorite out of the coffees they are selling and if you need a kick try the Pony Express!

5:52 p.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Hi Perry,

I get it at the Atlantic Superstore, a grocery store here in Canada which is also known as Loblaws. It says on the container that it is a product of Switzerland but it is distributed by Bioforce Canada Inc. Montreal Canada H9B 2L3 I bet any good health food store may have it in or could order it for you. It is not that expensive. A 100g container is 6.99 canadian and it makes 65 cups. It is already mixed up and you just add 1 teaspoon to a cup of hot water or milk. You can also make it cold with water or milk.

8:01 p.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Decaf in the morning, hot chocolate for afternoon tea. My tradition continues on day hikes in chilly weather. Fire up the Svea and have hot cocoa with marshmallows.

10:42 p.m. on April 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Depends on the type of outing. Car camping I bring loose tea and coffee with a bunch of hardware. The Zass, presspot and SwissGold filter. Backpacking loose tea. Preference are white teas. Long day hikes occasionally loose teas or tea bags.

Home it's probably a 90:1 coffee/espresso : tea. Bit of a coffeegeek. In the kitchen sits a commercial conical grinder, 2 group lever and classic single lever machine. I enjoy a nice fresh brewed cup of tea as much as an almost perfectly pulled ristretto. Hard choice between "Coffee or tea?"

1:31 a.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Wow, arborrider, I'm impressed. Can I come over on Saturday mornings for an espresso or due?

DM--I saw that Pony Express thing--double the caffeine! Not sure my wife would approve--she's often mentioning that caffeine probably isn't good for me. But your other recs are noted--will check 'em out.

Wilderness gal--thanks for the info. I'll check into it around here. Think I might know a place or two that carries it, now that I have some idea what to look for. And my wife might especially like it, given her avowed aversion to caffeine, but her enjoyment of iced coffee in the AM nonetheless. (Allegedly decaf, but....)

11:44 a.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry Clark,

There was a little coffee shop in Mendocino that sold Pony Express. One of those and one of their huge chocolate chip cookies and I would be pinging off the walls.

12:27 p.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
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My wife sometimes drink coffee in the evenings, it's very entertaining! I just sit back and watch her chat on the internet, bake a cake, watch a movie and play online all at the same time....

Perry,

a little trick to drink good coffee on hikes would be to invite arborrider along! I have a buddy that never leaves town without his espresso machine. All the coffee addicts want to team up with him on school outings!

1:02 p.m. on April 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Ooh, good idea, Franc.

Arborrider, are you interested in a trip in becoming my own personal coffee schlepper?

2:35 p.m. on April 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Alicia--If you like the smell of coffee, there's no time like the present to give it a try! If you do, I suggest that you try a properly brewed cup--find someone you know who really likes coffee, and see how he/she goes about it, maybe even ask them to share a bit. You may find you like it! (Sorry, just realized I'm proselytizing for coffee-drinking; didn't mean to get carried away....)

I, too, like hot cocoa. (Just made some homemade cocoa about an hour ago, whilst making some homemade dark chocolate mint cupcakes for my daughter's birthday. Mmmm-mmm!)

But if I gave it a try, I'd probably like it and succumb to its temptations and then I'd have to carry the coffee press and coffee on trips...

Care to share your hot cocoa recipe?

2:55 p.m. on April 13, 2009 (EDT)
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In the 38 years that I've been camping, I have tried a few different ways to make coffee. I don't care for instant, it just doesn't taste right to me. I used to carry an old perculator and I do have one of those single-serving espresso makers (which I use while car camping with the family, it's usually too heavy for the trail).

In an effort a while back to reduce weight, I have been perfecting my cowboy coffee method. I'm getting to where I can get it tasting pretty good.

I have never cared for the taste of tea but I do like hot coco now and then.

3:04 p.m. on April 13, 2009 (EDT)
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Killer hot cocoa recipe:

-first, boil some water

-stop the stove, then add everything you can get your hands on from this list:

-hot cocoa mix

-milk powder

-chunks from a 70% cocoa bar

-a drop of vanilla

-some extra sugar if you want

-maybe a drop of butter

-maybe a drop of Bailey liquor or rhum

The more items you add from this list, the better the cocoa. Specially the chocolate chunks, they melt and give it a real creamy taste! The butter is just for added calories on winter trecks.

It's surprising how much stuff the water can dissolve, you can even make it into a chocolate sirup to replace breakfast.

12:12 a.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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scottmphoto,

Though I can't stand the taste of coffee (like the smell of a good, freshbrewed coffee, though), when I was a kid growing up in the middle of the Arizona desert, where we were all cowboys or aspiring to be cowboys (learning to ride cowponies and Indian ponies was something every kid did), I learned how to properly brew cowboy coffee. Just boil up a 5 pound coffee can full of water from the nearest waterhole, river, or stream (or dig down in the dry wash until you find water, throw in two handsfull of coffee grounds and a horseshoe, boil until the horseshoe floats, pour in a cup of cold water (this sinks the grounds), and drink away.

12:12 a.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Care to share your hot cocoa recipe?

Well, it's always a little different one time to the next, since I never write down the recipe, but it's usually something like this:

2-3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1-2 chunks semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate--about 1/3 to 1/2 oz or so

1/4 c water

Mix the above and heat to boil, stirring constantly.

Add a splash of vanilla, if it's handy

Add 1 to 1 1/2 c. half-and-half, or, if absolutely necessary as a substitute, whole milk, stirring continuously, until it's just the right color of chocolate brown.

Continue stirring and heating for about 1 min. DO NOT BOIL!

Usually makes enough for two servings. Best when made for two, in winter, with Linda Ronstadt's 'Round Midnight album playing and a fire in the fireplace. My plan usually includes following the cocoa with a bit of brandy, but we've never gotten to the brandy....

12:24 a.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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My goodness, Bill, you've committed, by my count, no less than three mortal sins in your coffee brewing method there.

Firstly, the water must be from a never-sullied spring, filtered through feathers from an angel's wings. Secondly, the coffee must never be allowed to touch unsanctified hands--only those blessed by the most high--and it must be measured using a sterling silver spoon (not silver plate). Finally--and I think this is a law in some states--the coffee itself must NEVER be allowed to come to a boil.

In the original draft of The Inferno, Dante had included another circle of Hell specifically for those who boiled coffee; unfortunately, his editor, being an unreconstructed tea drinker, sliced off that entire canto. Such a shame; the world has never properly recovered.

(FWIW--In his wonderful novel Memoir from Antproof Case, Mark Helprin, through his first-person narrator, calls coffee "the devil's nectar", and worse. Possibly the only thing on which Mr. Helprin and I substantially disagree.)

10:18 a.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Perry,

You may be on to something... Not sure which would be worst... Hell or drinking Bill's coffee...

 

(Just kidding Bill)

8:27 p.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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neither - hot chocolate

11:07 p.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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I use the melita method, as mentioned above; I even use it at home. BUT....when at REI the other day, one of the salesmen gave me a sample of Starbucks new instant...Not a big instant fan, but for weight to taste to hassle ratio...I think I found a fine trail coffee. AND it is so low weight, I probably wouldn't mind enjoying a second cup while breaking camp.

I didn't mind it a bit. And I am a total French Roast, straight up Americano lover. Espresso is great, but I like the taste to last longer :)

11:44 p.m. on April 14, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill is correct, I was taught a variation of that same method years ago by a Roy Rogers & the Sons of the Pioneers radio show. Seems to me it had something to do with an ad for Arbuckle coffee.

I like coffee in the morning, my brewing process is a secret and you have to go backpacking with me to learn it, but it's real simple using stuff I've already got with me. (I don't know that my method is worth putting up with me however)

Tea at noon a lot of times, My buddy Chris from the UK got me started doing that.

Hot coccoa in colder weather for sure, I do like to add dark chocolate and stuff to mine too.

5:14 a.m. on April 16, 2009 (EDT)
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Coffee is my personal favorite. Tea is a cold drink for me, and only once in a great while.

I have used a lexan press, a tea infuser (less than an ounce and works like a tea bag, but reusable) and instant. All three work, instant being the easiest and least tasty option. The tea infuser works well with a coarse ground of coffee.

10:05 p.m. on April 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I like my coffee in the morning but I'm not fussy, I might not enjoy it, just want it. Just one after breakfast. I'll enjoy it if it is Kona!

I like Prince Of Wales tea and two bags in a cup, tho I usually use one, is fine by me. If it has milk, cream or honey in it, that's fine too.

I like to stop during the day on a hike and useing an Esbit or similar homemade stove, have a cup of tea whether it is hot or cold out. It seems like a nice way to energize and I have taught a couple youngsters I take in the woods to stop and do the same. It gives them time to quiet down and enjoy the woods and me to catch my breath!

I recall many years ago hiking with some old folks, all dead now, who had hiked and climbed all over the world stopping like I do now and burning some twigs etc and brewing a cup of tea and then watching others walk by while they wondered what the heck are they doing:) That's how I learned that practise and it is enjoyable and I thank them.

Hot cocoa? Anytime, any kind is fine by me. The recipes above sound great though I likely wouldn't get that involved.

I find hot fluids as relaxing or invigorating in the summer as well in the winter, etc.

11:30 a.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Chai means to me tea as is made in India - with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, or any number of other spices. I like the flavor of Tazo Chai, made in hot water with a spoon of honey and some cream.

I love coffee - freshly ground and brewed. I have a cup.pour.ri to take when I am backpacking and put fresh ground beans of my usual blend in a vacuum seal bag - regular ziplocs are not odor proof and having coffee flavored pasta after strong coffee rides around in the bear can with it is not fun.

I really want to try the Starbucks instant - supposed to be very good. I hate instant coffee as a general rule but the Starbucks counter guy remarked that he liked Starbucks instant better than their fresh brew. I find their coffee mediocre at best.

I'm one of those strange people who can drink coffee before bed and go right to sleep.

3:57 p.m. on April 25, 2009 (EDT)
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Tea.. usually. I have invested a little over $2.00 for a cloth tea bag. It's wonderful, since they come in packages of three, you can have on for tea, one for coffee, and the third one for whatever you desire. This means, I can decide how much tea/coffee/other to brew, and don't have to worry about all that excessive "packaging!"

 

Just my $0.02 worth.

7:05 p.m. on April 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Man!....I almost forgot about this.

I used to have a hiking / backpacking buddy who would have two beers for breakfast every morning.

He called them aluminum biscuits of all things.

The first time he did this at the trail head I about flipped, thinking this guy isn't gonna make it halfway. Well, he did, and darn near beat me there.

9:20 p.m. on April 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Chai means to me tea as is made in India - with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, or any number of other spices. I like the flavor of Tazo Chai,

See, you've been taken in by the froufrou places. In Hindi, "chai" simply means "tea". But the denizens of the Indian subcontinent (plus Ceylon, er, I mean, Sri Lanka) mix up a wide variety of mixtures based on tea, among which is the one you name. They introduced the British to the mixture with orange peels that eventually became "Constant Comment", as well as inducing a certain Earl by the name of Grey to ship a mixture of Darjeeling and Ceylonese tea with a number of spices in it (including bergomat) back to Jolly Old). The Nepalese never were able to convince the Brits that tea tastes great with rancid yak butter in it, just as the Kashmiris were not successful in convincing the Brits that the taste of tea is improved with ghee in it.

Several of the languages I have a bit of fluency in call tea chai or something close to that, including my latest attempt to add a new language (my first non-European one, Swahili).

The best herbal tea, Red Zinger, has become rare and hard to get since Celestial Seasonings became a subsidiary of some big conglomerate.

10:04 p.m. on April 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Me, if I drink something other than Gatorade during the day, I usually mike Mocha instead of straight coffee. I usually by the two types of coffee and hot chocolate that both require a spoonful for a mug. Then I just mix the two together prior to going out hiking or bike touring in a Ziploc bag and keep it shook up to ensure I get equal amounts in my cup.

I don't drink much tea. I had to drink it when I was 7-10 years old because I had so many allergies it was one of the few things I could drink safely and my mother made me drink it. So later I just stopped drinking it. Never aquired a taste for it again.

10:08 p.m. on April 28, 2009 (EDT)
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Good idea Gary,

I like Mochas too.

1:17 a.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
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Recently on my first trip I brought single serving coffee bags (like tea bags) and they worked well/packed small. More interestingly, I found that my friend brought along a flask of whiskey. We didn't have any other liquid besides my coffee and his tea bags to mix it with. We later (and much much more...courageously) deduced that if you chase said whiskey with a small gulp of hot tea, it helps to cut the burn of the liquor substantially. This was a major breakthrough, we thought, at the time. The next morning we deduced that whiskey and backpacking don't go well together, but a cool discovery none the less.

11:20 a.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
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BioMan--

Sounds like entirely the wrong whisky. If one needs to "cut the burn", one needs to change the label, methinks. But whisky, even the Irish varieties, goes reasonably well with coffee, esp. the morning after one has been "courageous" in testing the various whisky-drinking methodologies.

My personal favorite in the category of distilled coffee adulterers is Macallan 10-yr. The better stuff is handled straight, or with just a nip of cold spring water.

12:44 p.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
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As for me, I love fresh tea masala, also known as Indian chai.

I make the same myself, using only the freshest of ingredients:

green cardamon;

ginger root;

whole cloves;

loose India tea leaves;

and whole milk.

Best tea ever! Plus it's quite healthy!

7:30 p.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
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bioman,

Ever herd of a "hottie todie?" It's essentially hot tea, whiskey, and honey -flavored with cinammon and/or citrus. This is especially good if you have a sore throat, or a wonderful drink for a rainy rest day.

 

On another note, I always enjoy a nice hot cup of tea at night with a drop or two of Skullcap -dreams become vivid, however some experience groggieness in the morning.

9:43 p.m. on April 29, 2009 (EDT)
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like the "hottie todie", old school, I say.

3:31 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Sassafras tea is also really good, when in season, sweetened with a touch of honey -mmm!

2:01 p.m. on May 11, 2009 (EDT)
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I also started looking up the MSR MugMate when I saw Alan's reference above. So I guess my Question would be...

MugMate

http://www.msrgear.com/cookware/mugmate.asp

or

Press

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/detail.aspx?c=5&sc2=10&p=79416&lu=%2flist.aspx%3fc%3d5%26sc2%3d10&

Don't know which you chose, but I was researching the MugMate and eventually ran across this:
Finum Golden Filter Set

Same thing, but you get two for the same price as one MugMate. I received mine on Friday, tried them out on Saturday morning. The last swallow of coffee did seem a little bit murky, but overall it worked well.

Next trip I think I might try out the aluminum bisquets that trouthunter mentioned...

9:55 p.m. on May 11, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm packing for my move back to the west coast. Hot and sweaty from throwing stuff out, getting my motorcycle ready to ship(Harley should think about aluminum, I hear it helps lighten a bike up!) and seperating the pile of junk I am taking from the pile of junk the movers are taking. Did I mention moving sucks? Anyway.

I found a box of Folgers singles. Last winter I had a roommate for a while. Another Senior Chief whose family had already moved home since he was retiring, and he needed a place to live for a while. Bless him! Coffee snob that I am I still think Folgers singles are tolerable while camping out, so I have enough coffee for my trip west. He also left behind two boxes of tea that I never looked at closely. One is plain old tea, the other is rasberry flavored. A Coast Guard Senior Chief drinking tea is already suspect, but rasberry flavored!?!?! The sad thing is that one of the guys who works for me will gladly take the rasberry tea. :)

7:22 a.m. on May 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Regardless of the choice of beverage, my Constant Companion is what we in my family call a "toilet cup" -- a 12 or 16 oz. stainless steel thermos with a spring loaded, pop-open sip-lid that looks a little like a toilet bowl when it's open, and a safety latch to keep it from opening in the pack. One-handed operation, load it up in the morning and it's still reasonably hot at lunch time, gives you that midday dose to keep the BCL below the Nodoff Threshold.

They're getting hard to find but Cabelas at least still has them:

http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0020844515511a.shtml

7:43 a.m. on May 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Oh, and best cup of coffee? At a little farmer's house (now a biological station) high up on the side of Volcan Cacao in northwestern Costa Rica. Fresh-picked coffee beans (fruits actually) spread out on blankets outside to dry. Beans roasted in a frying pan, ground by hand and brewed immediately. Served in a big glass mug, with milk and sugar. Early morning sunlight streaming in the door. Pura vida!

9:01 p.m. on May 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Alright now BigRed.....that's not fair, how am I going to make it all the way to Costa Rica, much less find this fantastic person?

I would agree that fresh roasted & fresh ground IS the way to go!

I don't drink instant unless I'm detoxing (caffeine).

3:03 a.m. on May 13, 2009 (EDT)
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I guess I've had many a fine cup closer to home too -- used to live down the road apiece from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

I'm mostly on tea now, but my wife is still a java regular. A few years ago, my younger daughter suggested we put together a playlist of coffee-related songs as a birthday present for my wife. I spent hours searching the iTunes store, listening to 30 second bites, and finally came up with 23 winners that would fit on a CD, mostly tunes that I had never heard before. I posted the playlist, called "That Special Grind" on iTunes, and just checked to see that it's still there. Favorites:

"Coffee on the Corner" by TJ Signorno

"Caffeine" by Patty Larkin

"St. Caffeine" by John Gorka

"What I Want Is a Proper Cup of Coffee" by Trout Fishing in America

"Too Much Coffee Man" by Bob Dorough

"Cup of Coffee" by Ramblin' Jack Elliott

"Too Much Coffee" by Toni Price

"Java Jive" by the Ink Spots (a classic!)

"Black Coffee" by Humble Pie, one I remember from my youth.

11:28 a.m. on May 13, 2009 (EDT)
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There is an SFBay Area TV station, channel 20, KOFY. It's kind of a wierd potpourri of programs, including a 9PM version of the Channel 7 ABC affiliate 11PM news (don't have to stay up to 11:30 to get the late news). They have been running a promo in which they compiled scenes (sound bites, really, just the one word long) from about 20-30 movies and TV shows with one of the characters saying "coffee!" (including the exclamation point for most of them). Rather amusing. I don't know if it is viewable on the station's website. KOFY was one of the stations that stuck to the original Feb HD changeover date.

December 22, 2014
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