Never mind fuel, overlanding trips seem to run on caffeine. We look at the coffee options favoured by Tracks4Africa users when they’re on the road. By Chris Davies
Back in March, travelling coffee-addict Melanie van Zyl shared her favourite coffee solutions for overlanding. We received some great feedback, including a few of your old faithfuls and a couple of nifty new gadgets you’ve been using on your travels.
First off, I have to say that Melanie’s GSI Java Press Plunger (bottom left) is also my favourite coffee gadget and never far from hand when I’m on the road. It’s lightweight, tough and doubles as a handy non-spill mug on bumpy roads. I’ve always been impressed with GSI’s coffee-making products in general, including the most recent addition to my collection – the Collapsible JavaDrip (centre) – which weighs next to nothing and flat packs to even less. (In South Africa you can get the similar Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper.) The JavaDrip and my trusty Sea to Summit X-Kettle (bottom right) are now my go-to combination for hiking, and the JavaDrip has also found a permanent spot in my camp box, as a fail-safe backup should my Java Press spring a leak.
Tried and trusted
Judging from the feedback, the trusty Moka pot (Bialetti) is still the Tracks4Africa users’ choice. This is the one T4A co-founder Johann Groenewald reaches for when it’s time to make coffee. Moka pots come in multiple sizes (two- to 18-cup versions are available) and I suspect, like myself, you own two – for small and larger overlanding group trips. My two-cup Moka Express has travelled from Cairo to Cape Town, but lately, I’m not always in the mood for a blast of pitch-black caffeine. My GSI French press and JavaDrip have been coming out more and more often and the faithful old Moka is gathering dust.
One excellent French press I’ve had my eye on for some time is the double-walled 8 Cup Legend Stainless Steel Cafetiere. It’s been in a friend’s camp box for years – it cost him R399 so that’s way back in the day. The best price I can find online at the moment is almost R1,500, but at least there’s no doubt that it’s made to last. If you like a large Americano then the stated eight-cup capacity is a stretch, but it manages five decent mugs, which is good enough for the first round. You can also keep the coffee warm by placing it directly on the gas stove (low heat), though the double-walled insulation works very well.
Espresso on the go
If you are the kind of coffee lover who likes it short and strong, then perhaps one of these two reader recommendations is for you.
The first, recommended by Martin P, is the Wacaco MiniPresso. Small, light and by the looks of it, very easy to use, this clever little espresso machine needs no electricity and produces a single, large shot of coffee (70ml) in a few quick pumps. It looks very impressive, although perhaps a little tedious if the whole camp wants a shot. At 17.5x6x7cm and only 360g, it’s certainly very compact and if, as I understand it, load shedding is set to return as soon as lockdown ends, then it should be an excellent little addition to the kitchen drawer too.
Another recommendation, from reader Nathalie Cachin, is the slightly bulkier Handpresso Pump. It’s 22x10x7cm and weighs 480g, but looks a little sturdier and is more versatile, using either ground coffee or lightweight, easy to carry ESE Pods. From the same manufacturers and also recommended by Nathalie, the Handpresso Auto Set looks like a fantastic and very fancy little gadget. With its handy no-spill case and cigarette lighter plug, it’s specifically designed for car use and delivers piping hot espresso from cold water in two and a half minutes. It’s also designed to use ESE Pods so spilling coffee grounds everywhere needn’t be a worry.
Whatever your preference, there’s really no reason to go without a good quality cup of coffee when overlanding.
Also read: The Best Coffee Solutions For Overlanding