Recently our power went out (at home) for some 12 hours. The gas grill did the trick getting water up to temp. but it soon dawned on me - how the heck do you grind beans with no electricity? I made a feable attempt to do a mortar & pestle type thing with the back of an ice cream scoop and a ceramic bowl. Not one to mind the lack of luxuries in life but this was serious. I wonder how others grind coffee in the absence of electricity? What do folks do when camping (I mean real camping)? Is there a decent hand grinder out there?
Hmmm good thought, I just take mine ready-ground in a cool box when camping, but recently my friends took their whole coffee machine (and it's a NICE one) and ran it off some sort of generator...talk about desperate measures ;-)
Well, we have in the past used the pestle and mortar system. Both are made locally from a very hard stone...apparently the fine bits of stone that may end up in the coffee adds to the taste! We can get a gr9ind as fine as turkish using this method, however it is time consuming and would not necessarily meet standards set by your local health authority.
I use one of the Travel Burr grinders that espressoparts.com offers paired with a plastic french press while backpacking/camping. It grinds very consistently and is super light. I'll be honest though, its not hard to work up a sweat grinding enough for a full press or two. It sure makes the coffee taste that much better after putting all that effort into it when out in the woods though.
I bought mine from Barismo several months back. While I don't use it all the time when electricity is available, I think it's wonderful to really get a good whiff of the dry aroma from the freshly-ground grounds while they're still in the glass container. Definitely helpful when cupping, but absolutely indispensable when without electricity.
For what it's worth, I also own a Zass Turkish Mill, but the Hario has grown on me...*shrug*.
Just to show how truly "spoiled" I am, when I packed our stuff to go to the hospital to assist my wife in giving birth to our 4th daughter, I packed one of those burlap Gavina bags from SCAA-Atl with my Black & Decker burr grinder, a 2-cup measuring cup, 1 Tablespoon, a coffee mug, the sugar dispenser, #2 brown cone filters, a Melitta pourover funnel, and my bag of Intelli Black Cat. It was tedious, as I had to go down to the "Employee Only" Nurses Kitchen to microwave the water to boiling, then carry it back to my wife's room to brew. I got some good reactions from the nurses coming into the room. The smell was great.
The best part was fixing a cup for one of my best friend's, whose wife had gone into labor about 12 hours after mine. I saw them in their room across the hall, and offered to fix him a cup, cause he looked like he NEEDED it. When he took the first sip, his eyes got big, and was like, "Whoa, that's rich!" I told him that's because he had never really had a good cuppa before.
Actually, I think MacGyver would have used his Swiss Army knife, a pair of pantyhose, a bicycle frame with pedals, and he would have fashioned burrs from Red Bull cans. And after he'd had his French press of coffee, he would have tweaked his grinder to also propel robusta beans like bullets at the bad guys.
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