camper pouring percolated coffee into friend's mug

How to Use a Campfire Coffee Percolator Step-by-Step

Many campers appreciate the traditional charm and rich flavor of percolator coffee. Here’s how to use a campfire coffee percolator…

Waking up to the serene beauty of the great outdoors on a camping trip is one of life’s simplest pleasures. But let’s face it, starting your day without a hot cup of coffee can feel incomplete.

For many people, coffee is more than a beverage; it’s a ritual, a way to welcome the new day. While some might settle for instant coffee for the sake of convenience, indulging in a delicious cup of coffee brewed over a campfire adds a special touch to the experience.

Enter the campfire coffee percolator—a timeless piece of camping gear that can elevate your morning cup into a delightful ritual. If the idea of campfire percolation seems daunting or you’re unfamiliar with the brewing process, fear not.

This step-by-step guide is designed to help you master the art of campfire coffee, turning you into a brewmaster of the great outdoors.


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The First Step: Choosing Your Coffee Percolator

GSI Glacier percolator
GSI Glacier Percolator

Before diving into the brewing process, it’s important to select the right coffee pot. Camping coffee pots come in various materials, but stainless steel percolators are celebrated for their durability and heat resistance.

The GSI Glacier percolator, for instance, is a crowd favorite among camping enthusiasts. Look for a percolator with a heat-resistant handle and a glass knob at the top of the percolator to monitor the brewing process.

The choice between a campfire percolator and an electric percolator hinges on your camping setup and whether you’ll have access to an electric source. For the sake of authenticity and the full outdoor experience, a campfire or camp stove model is recommended.

Gathering Your Supplies

– Coarse Ground Coffee: A coarse grind is crucial for percolator coffee. Fine grounds might slip through the filter basket, leading to a gritty cup of coffee. Investing in a burr grinder allows you to grind your own coffee beans to the preferred coarseness. If you must use pre-ground coffee, aim for a French press grind as a general guideline.

– Clean Water: The quality of water is an important factor in the outcome of your coffee. Always use clean water, ideally brought from home or filtered from natural sources.

– Camping Percolator: This includes the percolator pot itself, a filter basket (also known as a grounds basket), and often a glass knob for watching the coffee’s progress.

Step-by-Step Instructions

coffee percolator over campfire

1. Measure Your Coffee and Water: For a robust brew, a good rule of thumb is one tablespoon of coffee grounds per 8 ounces of water. Adjust according to taste preferences and the number of cups you’re preparing. Fill the percolator’s lower chamber with the required amount of water.

2. Prepare the Coffee Grounds: Fill the percolator’s filter basket with the coarse ground coffee. Avoid packing the grounds too tightly, as this can restrict water flow and cause uneven brewing.

3. Assemble the Percolator: Place the filled basket on top of the water-filled chamber. Ensure the tube is correctly attached, enabling the hot water to percolate up through the coffee grounds.

4. Start the Brewing Process: Place your camping coffee pot on a flat surface near your heat source. You can use a camp stove, hot coals, or open flame. The heat source doesn’t have to be intense; a moderate fire or heat setting works well.

5. Watch the Brew: The brewing time can vary, but a general rule for a great cup of coffee is about 7 to 10 minutes. You can often judge the progress by the color of the brew seen through the glass knob, aiming for a very rich, hearty camp coffee.

6. Serve and Enjoy: Once your coffee has reached the desired strength, remove the camping percolator from the heat. Let it sit for a few moments to allow the grounds to settle. Pour carefully and savor the perfect cup of coffee, ideally accompanied by a breathtaking view.

Tips for Success

male and female camper brewing coffee with a percolator

– Cleaning is Crucial: After each use, ensure your coffee maker is cleaned thoroughly to avoid stubborn stains and buildup. Soap, water, and a little elbow grease are usually enough to keep your percolator in top shape.

– Taste Test: Your first attempt might not yield the perfect brew according to your personal preference. Experiment with the amount of coffee, grind size, and brewing time until you find your sweet spot.

– Safety First: Always be mindful of safety when using an open flame or camp stove. Ensure your percolator is securely placed, and never leave it unattended while in use.

Happy Brewing!

Whether you’re a seasoned coffee lover or just looking to enhance your camping trip mornings, mastering the campfire percolator method ensures a delightful start to your day.

Remember, making campfire coffee is not just about the delicious result—it’s about embracing the brewing process and the joys of the great outdoors. Every sip is a reminder of the beauty surrounding you and the adventures that await.

More Ways to Brew Campfire Coffee…

how to make campfire coffee

From cowboy coffee to French press, here’s how to make campfire coffee 7 different ways. Plus, some tips for each method… Keep Reading…

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