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Good coffee and off-the-grid bikepacking expeditions have always seemed like an unobtainable goal. Camping, particularly when you’re hauling all your gear on the bike, requires paring your kit back to the absolute essentials. In the past, this has meant making do with some instant sachets of what’s laughingly called “coffee” or foregoing your favorite hot brewed mug of joe. Shudder…
But sometimes this new-fangled world that we live in has some upside and sometimes this also involves good coffee. In this case, both are true, thanks to Stanley.
We’re going to take a look today at the Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over set. Sure, that’s a mouthful of a name, but it’s also a mouthful of some of the best-tasting coffee I’ve had on a bikepack trip in a long time. I think you’re going to love this fancy single cup pour over coffee maker and I’m sure it’s going to find a place in your bike saddle bags and a place in your heart.
“Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over set: some of the best-tasting coffee I’ve had on a bikepacking trip in a long time.”
We’ll dive into the details of this camping coffee maker first. Then we’ll go step-by-step through the process of making a mug of coffee with it. I’ll then sit back and enjoy that mug of coffee. Sorry, but you’ll need to wait till you’ve got your own brew set before you can enjoy your fresh coffee. Life’s tough like that.
The Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over set – the details
I’ve been testing out the Pour Over set in the Polar white colorway and it’s also available in Matte Black or Hammertone Green (THE original Stanley color). I love the minimalist look of the Polar white set, though the Grandpop on my left shoulder is whispering “Shoulda gone for the classic Hammertone green” whilst the ninja on my right shoulder is also whispering “Choose Black. Black is the only color worth having”. Tricky color selection aside, the set consists of four components:
– The Pour Over jug
– Filter that fits into the base of the jug
– Lid for the mug
The jug is roughly 20 oz / 590ml and is made from stainless steel, making it light but with a sturdy feel. The filter is stainless steel with a screwfit attachment. The jug and filter are easy to clean (as is the mug) – either rinse and clean as normal by hand or pop them in the dishwasher. You know, the one you take with you on bike camping trips… 😉
The mug is 12 oz / 350ml and also made from stainless steel. The lid is made from clear plastic and fits snugly inside the rim of the mug – low enough that you won’t bash your nose on it as you take a swig from the mug. You can fill the mug fuller than this but bear in mind that, if you do, then you won’t be able to fit the lid on as well. There’s an inner rim that the lid sits on inside the mug, so it won’t fall into your brew.
I’m a big fan of the mug. Why? Well, there’s a few reasons. Firstly it’s got a double-wall of stainless steel that gives a layer of vacuum insulation for your drinks, keeping them hotter (or colder) for longer. The clip-on lid also helps seal the heat in too. The handle itself is comfortable to hold and (this is a biggie) it passes my famous 3-finger test. This is a special test that I apply to all handled drinkware – if you can fit three fingers through the handle then the mug is good. One or two fingers, like a dainty lil’ teacup is silly and all four meaty digits is verging on the ridiculous. See, you learn something new every day.
You’ll see a difference in the capacity of the jug and mug. Fill the jug to the brim and you’ll find that the coffee keeps on pouring out when you’ve already got a mugful. Not sensible. My advice is to add your required amount of ground coffee and then top up with hot water to just above the second mark up on the scale of four inside the jug. That should give you the perfect sized mug of coffee.
Couple of negatives to mention before we look at how to brew with the pour over set. Firstly, the set can’t pack into itself. Meaning that you could have wasted space in the jug and mug when you stash them in your panniers. The way I’ve got around this is to fill up that space with some of my other gear that can benefit from a hard protective layer, such as soft food or the new PowerPump pad inflator/battery pack from Haven Tents that I reviewed recently.
Secondly, there’s no tap on the base of the filter, so it will continue to drip coffee through after you’ve lifted the jug off your mug. So make sure that you put a mugful-only of hot water in the jug so that the last drop through the filter is the last drop you need in your mug.
Are these deal-breakers? Absolutely not. This pour over coffee set is a camping essential so far as I’m concerned. Let’s take a look at how to use it.
3 Steps To The Perfect Camping Coffee Pour Over
Step 1: Assemble your pour over set
First up, you need to fit the parts together. This is incredibly simple. Simply screw the filter unit into the base of the jug – a quarter turn is all that’s needed here. Then place the mug on a firm level surface and center the jug on top of the mug rim.
Step 2: Add your coffee grounds and hot water
Once you’ve got everything assembled, spoon in the amount of ground coffee you’d normally use for a single mugful. Then add in hot water – my friend, Michael (a coffee geek), tells me that he likes to go with water at 185 F / 85 C. That’s great in the kitchen, though I do find it a little trickier to judge when you’re camping in the middle of a muddy field…
When you’re filling up with hot water I find that it’s best to fill up to just above the second mark up on the inside of the jug. Once this has filtered through you’ll find that it’s the perfect amount to fill your mug up to the underside of the lid.
Then…sit back…and wait for your fresh coffee to drip through the filter into the waiting mug. Couple of minutes is all it takes.
Step 3: Enjoy your fresh coffee
Lift off the jug and set aside (be careful if it’s still dripping that you don’t put it on a surface that will be damaged). Then put the lid on your mug (if you want to). Sit back and enjoy your coffee as you watch other campers struggle with fiddly coffee makers or gag on disgusting instant ‘coffee’.
The Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over set gets a three-fingered thumbs-up from me.