Living in an RV does not mean that you have to miss out on your favorite coffee.
Although it’s not practical to take large coffee machines with you on your RV, there are still plenty of options when it comes to brewing high quality coffee on the road.
Here we will go through what these RV-friendly coffee making options are, what you should consider when choosing which coffee making device to take on your trip, and how to make the best coffee using each of these devices.
Your options when making coffee in an RV
The key features of a coffee making device that make it practical for RV use are:
- That you can make good quality coffee with it.
- That it allows you to make coffee without electricity (assuming you have a means of heating water).
- The coffee making equipment does not take up too much storage space.
- The coffee maker can be easily cleaned with nothing more than dishwashing liquid and water.
If we go by these criteria, then there are four coffee making devices that are suitable for using in an RV. They are:
- French Press
- Pour over
- Moka pot
I’ll now go over each of these coffee making devices in more detail so you can decide which one is most suitable for you.
French Press: Best for families of coffee drinkers
What is a French Press
A French Press is a large cylindrical pot where you steep coffee grounds in boiling water before plunging it. If you are familiar with drinking coffee at all then you should recognise a French Press immediately from the image below.
French Press coffee is also commonly known as plunger coffee.
Who is a French Press most suitable for?
The advantage that a French Press has over the other types of RV friendly coffee makers is that you can make several cups of coffee in one go.
It is therefore most suitable for RVers who regularly want to make coffee for several people.
A standard sized French Press can make four cups of coffee with one brew making it perfect for families of coffee drinkers.
What are the drawbacks of using a French Press in an RV?
The main drawback of using a French Press in an RV is that these coffee makers are generally made out of glass. They therefore need to be stored securely as if they move around in transit and fall on the floor they will probably smash.
If you prefer espresso style coffee, you may find French Press coffee to be quite weak and watery.
How to make the best possible coffee using a French Press
To make the best possible coffee in a French Press you want to use coarsely ground coffee. Coffee of the coarseness that you want for a French Press is usually specifically labelled for French Press use.
Other than coarseness, the other variables in making coffee in a French Press are your coffee to water ratio that you use and steeping time.
Ideally you want to use a coffee to water ratio of 1:14. This roughly means that for every eight ounce cup of coffee that you want to make you should use three tablespoons of coffee.
You should brew your French Press coffee for 6-8 minutes. The longer you brew, the stronger your coffee will be.
Aeropress: Best for solo travellers
What is an Aeropress?
An aeropress is a large plastic syringe-like device that you fill with coffee grounds and boiling water.
When you plunge down on an Aeropress it forces the coffee and water through a filter at the bottom of the device.
You can see someone using an Aeropress in the image below. Please note that the metal cup at the bottom is not part of the Aeropress, rather you place it on top of your cup before you press down:
Who is the Aeropress most suited for?
Aeropresses are most suited for solo travellers in smaller RVs as they are very space efficient.
Since it’s possible to make both filter coffee and espresso style coffee with an Aeropress they are the best portable option for more serious coffee aficionados.
What are the drawbacks of using an Aeropress in an RV?
If you are travelling with several coffee drinkers in your RV you should not have an Aeropress as your only coffee making option.
Aeropresses can only make one cup of coffee at a time and need to be cleaned before making a new cup. This will make making multiple cups of coffee an arduous task.
How to make the best possible coffee in an Aeropress
Since one of the key benefits of an Aeropress is that you can use it to make many different styles of coffee, there is no one “best” way of making coffee with one.
However if you have not used an Aeropress before then a good brewing time to start with is 4 minutes and a good ratio of coffee to water is 1:14. This again means that one eight ounce cup of coffee should use three tablespoons of coffee.
Aeropress works best with finely ground coffee. Coffee labelled as for use in espresso tends to work well with an Aeropress.
Pour over coffee: Best for couples
What is pour over coffee?
Pour over coffee is the closest you can get to using a filter coffee machine in your RV.
Pour over coffee involves pouring boiling water through coffee grounds held in a conical coffee filter that is either made out of paper or wire mesh.
You can find an image of this below:
Although the above image uses a paper filter, a wire mesh pour over coffee filter is better for using in an RV as it can be cleaned and reused meaning that you never have the problem of running out of filters on the road.
It’s also worth noting that Chemex is a common brand of pour over device. These are often just called Chemex rather than pour over, but they are essentially the same thing.
Who is the Pour over most suited for?
With the pour over method you can usually make two cups of coffee without needing to replace your grounds or change/clean your filter.
It’s therefore most suited for couples RVing together who both drink coffee.
What are the drawbacks of using a pour over?
There are not any obvious drawbacks to using pour over coffee, however it should be noted that unlike with an Aeropress you can only make filter coffee with a pour over, and unlike with a French Press you can’t make several cups of coffee quickly.
Therefore if you want to make a diverse range of coffee drinks, or if you want to make many cups of coffee quickly you might want to opt for another device when RVing.
It’s also best to buy a metal pour over coffee maker as non-metal ones are often made out of glass and can therefore smash when dropped
How to make the best possible coffee with a pour over
To make the best possible pour over coffee you should wet your grounds with a small amount of boiling water before you start pouring water through them. This is called “blooming” the coffee and will cause the ground coffee to release some of its oils which enhances its flavor.
Once the coffee has bloomed for 30 seconds, simply pour the water through the coffee. Try to pour with a swirling motion so the water is not concentrated on a certain part of the coffee grounds.
Again, a 14:1 water to coffee ratio is perfect for pour over coffee.
Moka pot: Best choice for espresso drinkers
What is a moka pot
A moka pot is a stovetop pot that forces boiling water through coffee at a pressure of 2-3 bars.
Since the defining quality of espresso is that it is brewed under a high pressure (ideally 8-9 bars), moka pots make coffee closer to an espresso than the other options listed here.
A moka pot has three chambers. To use it you fill the bottom chamber with water, the middle chamber with coffee grounds and then when it heats up the top chamber will fill with the espresso-like coffee.
You can find an illustration of this below :
Who is a moka pot most suited for?
A moka pot is most suited to RVers who are used to drinking espresso.
While a moka pot will not technically make an espresso, the coffee that it creates does have several espresso like qualities including a rich deep flavor and thick consistency.
You can make two double espressos in one go with a moka pot making it ideal for travelling couples.
What are the drawbacks of using a moka pot?
Coffees made in a moka pot need to be brewed on a stovetop. These need to be watched while you are brewing it to avoid burning the coffee, or for the coffee to boil over and make a mess.
It is therefore more work than any of the other methods listed here.
Moka pots are also an awkward shape to store and although they will not smash if dropped, they are unable to make good quality coffee if the lid-hinge breaks as this causes a loss in pressure. If a moka pot is dropped then it is likely that the lid-hinge will break and the pot will need replacing.
How to make the best possible coffee in a moka pot
You want to use medium fine ground coffee in a moka pot. Too fine and the pot will get clogged up, too coarse and the coffee will be weak.
You want to use a coffee to water ratio of 1:7, meaning that for a double shot of espresso you want to use two tablespoons of coffee.
To use a moka pot, fill the bottom chamber with room temperature water and the middle chamber with the coffee. Put the moka pot on a medium low flame on your hob. The coffee is ready when the top of the pot is steaming so vigorously that you can hear the lid shaking.
Planning your next RV trip
Knowing how you are going to make the perfect cup of coffee when on the road is just a small step in planning an RV trip. When planning your next trip, reach out to Mid Florida RV rentals for your RV rental needs.