Devon 21 Guide To…
Coffee In A Camper

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We’ve advised you before about how you can prepare cocktails in your camper, but this time we’re going to look at the finer details of preparing great coffee in your van. Welcome to the Devon 21 Guide To… Coffee In A Camper!


After a cold winter walk, here we are brewing a warming Moka pot of coffee on the stove of our camper .

Coffee In A Campervan from Devon 21 on Vimeo.

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Coffee At Home

For us having a morning cup of coffee is especially important when we are staying in the van. We often sleep less well than we would at home, due to the compact sleeping area, other noisey campers or maybe because we had too much red wine to drink the night before! So some strong coffee is just what we need to kick our fuzzy heads in to action.

We like our coffee served strong and ideally we’d drink a short double shot cappuccino. Unfortunately steaming milk is a techinique we even struggle with at home on our Gaggia machine [Pictured to the right].

So what are the alternatives? Fortunarely there a lot including some you might not have considered. But first lets talk about the coffee itself.

Beans or Pre-Ground?

While it is possible to grind your own beans in a camper, with either a hand-powered or an electric grinder, we would find the effort and mess outweighed the added flavour gained. This is especially so when our favourite coffee, Illy comes pre-ground and pressurised with inert gas to preserve the freshness.

Which style and flavour of coffee one likes is obviously a personal choice so if you find a supermarket own brand hits the spot then keep drinking it.

Pots and Techniques

Moka Pot

In Brief – Almost like an espresso.

The Italian Way. The closest you’ll get to a real espresso in your van. Just make sure your pot is sitting securely on the hob as they are liable to tip over on the gas hob. Another possible downside is that you need to start it from cold and can’t make use of boiling water you may already have in the kettle.


In Brief – Good if you like your coffee long.

The French way. Cafetierres give a decent brew that you can control the strength of by adjusting the time you let it steep, but they’re pretty messy to clean and it’s hard to get an espresso strength hit.


In Brief – Short, simple and strong.

The Vietnamese way. A low tech re-usable metal filter that makes a strong brew and can use the hot water you might already have boiled up. I bought mine in Vietnam but you can get them online. We’d recommend this method for its simplicity and compactness.


In Brief – Simple and disposable, but can be weak.

Simple and disposable for an emergency hit without the need to wash up a pot. We use some plastic stands reused from disposable ready filled filters you can buy. Filter papers are cheap and biodegradable, but you do need to use at least two large tablespoons per cup for decent strength. The resulting brew can be pleasantly smooth.

Campfire Coffee

In Brief – Rough and ready.

This method boils the grounds with the water. Use coarse grind coffee and pour the water on top of them. Put the pot on the fire and bring it to a boil. You could also put the pot on hot coals or a hot grill and boil slowly for a smoother flavor. Take it off the heat and let it steep three minutes. Add two tablespoons of cold water to help settle the grounds, and its ready to pour.

Useful Links

Illy – In our experience it’s the most consistently good quality espresso coffee to be widely available.

Ca Phe Vn – U.K. based Vietnamese coffee and metal filter supplier.

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