Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coffee Cravin'

I drink coffee.  I Love Coffee.  I crave coffee. OK? OK!

So, here we go on a short backpack trip.  What's one of the first things a Coffee Cravin', Coffee Lovin' Coffee Drinker to do, huh?  Why, make certain we can get our Coffee Fix each morning we're in The Canyon.  Each of the photos has a caption below and there is more narrative below all of the photos.
Believe it or not, Wal-Mart sells the best instant coffee at the best price anywhere.  Of course saying it's "the best" is subjective but lookie there at the price--ONE DOLLAR for enough instant coffee to make 32 eight ounce cups!  You may disagree that it's the "the best" but you can't possibly disagree that it's the best price!
This instant coffee is made in Mexico.  The Mexicans have a LONG Love Affair with instant coffee and those people South of The Border really know how to make a potent freeze dried dose-o-caffeine.  When you're looking at instant coffee, you definitely want to see "100% Instant Coffee" on the label.  As everyone knows, the trouble with ALL instant coffees is that taste like, well, instant coffee.  So what to do?

Enter our Dear Swiss Miss.  This Miss has been a mainstay of our Camping Coffee for longer than we can remember.  The best way to mask the instant coffee taste is to mix the granules with Good Ol' Swiss Miss.  Trust me, use the full sugar mix--not the sugar free mix.  You will be amazed at how wonderful instant coffee becomes when mixed properly with hot chocolate.
As most everyone knows, typical hot chocolate is essentially caffeine free.  Bummer.
If you look at the hot chocolate label, there's a lot more than sugar in there.  It's that saturated fat that really is a Game Changer and makes a cuppa camp joe so danged much fun in the morning.  Hot chocolate is also a nice bonus source of potassium, which we consider an essential Hiking Mineral.

So, now it's time for the Mad Coffee Scientist to get to work.  Here are most of the tools of our trade.
The first task is to CAREFULLY cut off the top of a hot chocolate envelope making sure you are at the tippy top of the opening.  Second, pour the powder into a quarter cup measure.  Stainless steel works better than plastic.  Then gently bang the bottom of the steel on the counter top to settle the chocolate powder as much as possible.  Then, top off the quarter cup measure with instant coffee and use a knife to make sure it is a level measure.
Then pour this mix into a bowl.  Imagine using a mortar and pestle to get a better mix that goes into solution easier.  That's the goal here.  Mix thoroughly.
After a VERY thorough mixing of the two ingredients, the coffee should have Become One with the Cocoa.
Next, we carefully spooned the mix from the bowl back into the original envelope, carefully rolled down the top much the way a river runner rolls down the top of a dry bag and sealed with a small piece of transparent tape.  The weight of each package varied slightly.

Finally, we have enough for two cups each of our two mornings.  With a Zip Locl sandwich bag, the net weight calculates out to precisely 4 ounces.  The weight of the waste to hike out with will be 5 grams.
Our trusty 1.7 ounce cup and our little six ounce pot. (Weights--not capacities.)
And, the fruit of our labor!  A steaming cup of really yummy, fully-charged coffee.

We did quite a bit of mathematics on this process.  First, we weighed the unopened packet of hot chocolate.  It calc'd to .80 ounce. (Eight tenths of an ounce.)  Then we weighed each packet afterwards and then weighed all four packets together to get a true average weight.

Then we studied the two websites below.  Basically, without going into farther detail, we will be getting at least 350 milligrams of coffee each morning and that's plenty for us.  We are very pleased with the fruits of our labor.

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