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How to Make Coffee in a Paper Bag

YouTube/adam fleisch

Can you really make coffee in a paper bag?

Not much beats a hot cup of coffee on a frosty morning while camping. Except, you left the coffee pot at home. Now what do you do?

It's not like there are coffee machines, grocery stores or coffee shops way out in the wilderness. You'll have to come up with a DIY solution.

Fortunately, if you have water, coffee beans (or ground coffee),  a couple select bags, and a way to make boiling water, coffee drinkers won't have to go without!

Boiling water in a bag

This is an oddball way of brewing coffee, but it should work. It may not be particularly good coffee, but it should be drinkable. Having some high-quality coffee grounds on hand is probably your best bet of success.

The focus to this method is going to primarily be on making hot water.

If you're a seasoned camper, you've probably heard of the old scout trick of cooking bacon and eggs in a paper bag over a fire. It's a similar principle when it comes to boiling water in a bag. All you do is pour the water in the bag and then place it directly over the flame, and it should heat up.

It may take a little longer than normal, but it can be done. Alternatively to a paper coffee bag, you could use a folded paper cup like in the video above, a plastic bag or even a plastic container of some kind.

You may be wondering how this is even possible. Well, sciencenotes.org says it all comes down to the heat capacity and the heat conductivity of paper. That heat that is gradually warming the water is also keeping the paper from igniting into flames. Crazy right?

What's next?

Once you have your water heated up, the only question then is how to prepare the coffee. Probably the easiest method would be to make drip coffee using paper filters. Pour your grounds into a coffee filter suspended over your coffee cup and then add your hot water. Simple enough, right?

If you have a French press, simply pour your hot water from the bag into the press with the grounds. Stir and then press and pour and you're done.

Of course, the even easier method would be to heat up your water and then just use instant coffee.

Cowboy coffee

We can't really talk about how to make coffee in a camp setting without mentioning this method. There are a few ways you can go about doing this. The simplest way of making cowboy coffee is to simply pour the grounds in your cup and then add the hot water and drink.

Yes, this will result in a lot of grounds in the coffee. There are two rather strange solutions to this. The first is to drop an eggshell into the water as the water is beginning to boil. Which is supposed to help draw the grounds and make it easier to pour.

The second and probably more common method is to add a little bit of cold water to the cup. This will force the grounds to the bottom of the cup.

Now, we're not sure if anyone has ever tried it, but we are wondering if the cowboy method would work for making the coffee directly in the bag. There really seems to be no reason it shouldn't. Add your grounds and water and then heat the bag as we've outlined earlier.

Add a little cold water once the coffee is ready and pour. We'll admit we haven't tested this method, but it seems like it should be plausible. If you can cook bacon in a bag, why can't you brew coffee?

The only thing to keep in mind is that cowboy coffee is notoriously strong. It isn't for everyone! Try at your own risk!

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis Youtube channels

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How to Make Coffee in a Paper Bag