Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Twelve Days of Prepping - Day Three

On the third day of Prepping, my Prepper gave to me,

... a French coffee press;
... black turtle beans;
... and a sapling apple tree.

I imagine that there are those who would not consider a French Coffee Press a prepping item, but if you will indulge me for a moment ;).

For those who are unfamiliar with the coffee press, it is, essentially, a glass (or sometimes plastic) pitcher with handle. The lid is attached to a mesh frame that fits securely inside the pitcher. Coffee grounds are put in the bottom of the pitcher, and then, boiling water is poured over the coffee grounds. The lid with the mesh screen is placed on the pitcher and a plunger is pushed down. The screen keeps the grounds on the bottom of the pitcher, and after four minutes of steeping time, the coffee can be poured, ground-free, into the mug or cup of one's choice.

No electricity is needed to make a cup of coffee - only hot water, which can be had by filling a pan with water and putting it over a heat source. The press should not be placed on a burner or over a heat source.

Of course, for some of us, coffee may be a luxury, exotic treat in a lower energy future, but the coffee press works equally well for brewing teas, and we're not talking about only the types of tea that come from the equally exotic camellia sinensis plant (which doesn't grow in Maine without some heroic efforts on the part of the gardener - and then for the amount of space required, perhaps not well enough to actually produce a decent tea crop).

When it comes to talking about tea, I know, most people are thinking, "just use a tea bag", and yeah, perhaps, but what most people probably don't realize is that the tea in those bags isn't a very high a quality tea compared to loose-leaf tea (and might contain the "tea dust" that is produced when the leaves are cut and shoved in the disposable bag) ... further, the loose-leaf tea, even the highest quality gourmet stuff, is cheaper than the stuff in the bags ;).

And if one uses loose-leaf tea, one can add other herbs for a custom taste. One of my favorites was a blend of (organic, fair-trade) green tea with peppermint from my garden.

There are some quite lovely substitutes, in every environment, for both of the familiar and well-loved tropical beverages. One of the coffee substitutes we've been trying is roasted dandelion root, and a tea substitute we've been using is polypore (tree mushrooms).

We've been using a coffee press for a couple of years, now, and couldn't be happier with the product. It's easier to use than a camping percolator, which will occasionally spit grounds into the coffee, and it's non-electric, which makes it more useful for a low-energy lifestyle.

Plus, for those non-prepper minded family members and friends, the coffee press is actually a pretty nifty gift, and looks like something that should be in a gourmet kitchen. Those non-prepping friends might not think us so crazy when they receive this sort of gift ... and we don't have to tell them it's for prepping ;).


  1. I never thought of using a coffee press for tea, but I can see how it would work. What a great idea!

  2. We enjoy our coffee press--it makes a great cup of coffee. Perhaps you would like to clarify that the plunger gets pushed down to isolate the grounds *after* the coffee or tea is as strong as you like it.

  3. I've been using a coffee press for years. Mine was a gift so I'm not sure the origin, but it is made for backpacking and the body is metal, not glass.

    BTW, I bought your book this weekend and couldn't put it down. Thank-you for all your effort in writing it.
    SJ in Vancouver BC

  4. @ SJ in Vancouver BC - thank you! You don't know how much you just made my day :). I'm so glad you're enjoying the book.

  5. BTW, the little screen in the French press can, after many years of use, get bent out of shape and start leaving yucky grounds in the drinking portion of the coffee.

    Howsoever, you can easily purchase a replacement screen for about $4 thus extending the lifetime of your French Press forever. It requires no skill at all to replace.

    I know, because that is what I have been doing for fifteen years now.