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The Guide for making tea and coffee on the trail

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

Having something as simple as a warm cup of tea or coffee can greatly improve the experience of hiking on a multi-day walk or while out and about camping but most people don’t even know where to start. Making tea and coffee can be done in many different ways and some are a little less known than others, so here is our guide for making tea and coffee on the trail.

Finding the Cup

Making your pack as light as possible is always a top priority and that is why it should also be in your mind when choosing what cup to buy, you want to look at something light, a good size and suitable for hiking. Most of the options are either plastic or metal but plastic alternatives are often cheaper and lighter, making them far more suitable for hiking, these plastic alternatives can be picked up for as cheap as $1 AUD from some retailers like Target or Kmart.

Make sure the cup is big or small enough for your needs, make a test cup of coffee or tea before you leave to make sure it's the right amount for you, knowing how big your cup is also helps you determine how much water to boil, helping you plan ahead and save fuel on your camp stove or Trangia.

Boiling the Water

Water is a very important component of making tea or coffee but it's not as straight forward as you would think, it's very important to look for the right water source when looking at where to fill up your pot otherwise you could get yourself and friends very sick. When looking for your water, try find a place where there is either running water or somewhere like an lake that is fed from a river, because this water is constantly moving, it is never settled and prevents bacteria from growing very rapidly.

After you have got your water, you can place it in your camping stove or spirit burner and get it to the boiling point, boiling your water kills off any of the residual germs and bacteria left in the water and making it safe to drink or pour into a cup of tea or coffee.

The Tea and Coffee

Once you've got your cup and filled it with hot water, you can begin to make your cup of tea or coffee, when you’re at home enjoying a tea or coffee you might have some quite sophisticated ways to make it but when you're out on the trail you will need to think of some more simple solutions. Tea bags and coffee bags may be far simpler than a pot of tea or barista made coffee but that's what makes them perfect for tea and coffee on the trail.


For your cup of tea you will need the tea of your choice in a tea bag form and then you will need to place it and leave it in the cup for 2-5 minutes, this 2-5 minutes allows time for the tea to soak into the hot water and makes it taste better and richer.


For your coffee you can pick up some coffee bags to make your coffee, once you've placed the bag in the hot water leave it fully submerged for 3-4 minutes, allowing this time for the coffee to infuse with the water makes for a much better tasting coffee.

Adding some Milk

If you are someone who likes to add milk in their tea or coffee like myself then there are two quite convenient and different options for you to choose from but some may be better and more space efficient than others.

The first option for milk is to add some powered milk, when out on the trail, I often bring a bag of powdered milk with me to make oats in the morning and it can also be used to add milk to my tea or coffee. It can be good to add some of milk like texture but overall it doesn't work that well and tastes pretty bad, in addition to this it can be lumpy but it's not too bad for being in the middle of the bush.

The other alternative to powered milk is the little hotel milk portions that are around 15ml, these little plastic tubs provide a better taste and texture as it is the real deal but also has many flaws which make it in my opinion worse than powered milk. The two major drawbacks of this product is weight and purchasing, being in its non-dehydrated state it will weigh more than if it were in a powered form and you can only seem to buy them in bulk or get them when staying at a hotel. This means that they are not as practical as powered milk but do produce a better outcome for making the tea or coffee itself.

Keeping our parks clean

Remember that anything you bring with you must go home with you, all rubbish like plastic tubs, tea and coffee bags and anything else you bought with you must not be left littered on the ground, keeping our natural parks and waterways clear of rubbish will mean that more people will be able to enjoy that space long after you leave and you will know that your trip had no effect on the local environment.

So now it's up to you on how you make your tea and coffee but always remember to take weight, size and of course taste into account when making your perfect cup of warm goodness in the morning after a long day hiking.

Written by Josh Welch


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