Irene Worthington Baron


BLOG by Irene Baron



When sitting outside in a beautiful wild place at dawn listening to the sounds of nature with a cup of hot coffee has to be one of the best pleasures of camping.

To make a great cup of coffee when trying to eliminate extra weight in a /camping/recreational vehicle requires some creativity. I present some ideas to help campers in that process.

When traveling around the world, living abroad or traveling in the USA, I found there was a commonality with cooks preferences when it comes to making coffee. To have an electric coffee maker in places where there is no electricity is ridiculous. For persons living in underdeveloped countries where income can be less than $1,000 a year, buying expensive equipment is impossible. What to do?

A small ceramic coffee maker can be purchased at a kitchen store or online, weighs little, and can be used for years. You could just as easily use a large funnel. For use with mine, to save from buying boxes of paper filters, I purchased my net strainer which is at least 10-years old.

When camping, I used a metal mug to avoid accidental breakage. Whenever I bought anything breakable, I vowed to not be upset when it broke! My favorite mug was one from LLBean which is insulated steel. I use it daily at home to keep my coffee warm when working with one of my manuscripts, sitting outside with my rescue dog or reading. It also keeps ice cream frozen longer on a hot day!

For over 30-years, each time I went camping in my 1984 VW Westfalia camper, I changed cooking utensils, mugs, dishes, etc. That made cooking and eating more fun and an adventure. Some favorite mugs for friendly campers/guests included the Happy Face Mug, a VW mug, and even souvenir beer steins which hold more coffee or other beverages.

To make the coffee in a ceramic coffee maker, boil the water. For one large mug, I always boil 2-cups of water to make sure I have plenty. I can boil more for a large pitcher of coffee. Boil it on the fire, RV stove or microwave.

Note: A junior high student several years ago, during a science project, grew 2-sets of plants. One set was watered with water out of the faucet. The other set was watered with faucet water which had been boiled in a microwave. The microwaved water killed the plants. That was an eye opener for many who now never heat drinking water in a microwave. I haven’t read of resulting studies after that teenagers results. They were duplicate and found accurate. Think about that when heating water or foods high in water content.

During my 30+ years of teaching water purification, I corresponded often with the outstanding chemist and web designer of a prominent United Stated Geological Survey (USGS) site concerning water pollution across the United States. Learning of the different types of hormones and chemicals in ground water, I brought my daughter up on distilled water which I still keep in the kitchen for all drinking. You can buy distilled water for under 90-cents per gallon, compared to small bottles of “drinking water” from some unknown tap source for over $1.00 for 1 ½ cups of water.


I buy all types of grinds, preferring coffee purchased as beans, for the lower price. You can also buy a small coffee grinder. If you have electricity, you can easily grind them in the same small apparatus where you grind up dry herbs and spices or in a blender. To make the coffee in the ceramic coffee maker, place the amount of ground coffee into the filter according to how strong you like your coffee. I like strong coffee ground a little finer than usual and use about 3-tablespoons for a large mug. I don’t measure it, I just pour it in from the mason jar where it is kept sealed and dry after being ground.

If the coffee maker is too small for your wide mouth mug, just hold it. It takes only a few seconds for the coffee to run through the filter and into your mug. As soon as your mug has the amount you want, use a second mug to catch the remainder for another person or ice cubes. Hold your finger over the hole in the bottom when moving it to the sink so as not to mess up the food preparation area.

Then, decide how you want to flavor it. I like Spice Islands brand cinnamon. I don’t have any right now as Spice Islands spices are not available everywhere. I called them once and asked why. The person I spoke with said there is a concession fee to shelve them in the grocery stores and the going rate at that time was too high. Therefore, you may see a limited amount of that brand.

I mention cinnamon for coffee, for not only is it tasty, it is also healthy. In Indonesia one horrible flu year in the last ten years, the death rate was enormous. Funny thing … not one person in their county’s main cinnamon factory even got the flu! Food for thought!

Wood-coffee-grinder-image-by-irenebaron.comMy brother, Herb Worthington, before his passing said my beverage of choice wasn’t coffee, it was a concoction! True. I use cinnamon, vanilla, honey, and usually a powdered cream of some type. A dear friend of mine in Dallas, Jeanne Ball, suggested I put 1-TB of honey and 1-Tb of cocoa in a cup of coffee. I tried it and found it to be, surprisingly, very good. The chocolate and honey are good for your body anyway! In the picture of additives, I show several cardamom which adds an eastern European flavor. Experiment and see what you like. In the cooler months, I enjoy Irish coffee when sitting around a fire.

I don’t use purchased bottles of flavored sugar water as they break easily and are heavy. The more weight you have in your RV, the more fuel you use to transport it.

My coffee making apparatus with the ceramic and filter costs less than $10 at places like Walmart in the USA. That’s all you need to make a good cup of coffee. My changing coffees are from all over the world. Now living on a fixed budget, I shop often at Aldi’s international grocery store which sells coffees from France, Germany, Guatemala, Sumatra, South America, and other locales. I not only save a great deal of money, but enjoy having access to such an international assortment and affordable prices.

Give your palate some new flavors. As you age, your taste buds keep decreasing in their ability to taste foods. That’s why older people use so much salt, pepper and spices. They can’t taste bland food. With so many different tasting coffee and condiments, you can keep entertaining your taste buds with totally different flavors.

Have fun savoring flavors.  Let me know if you come up with a coffee concoction that is truly outstanding! I love to experiment too.  


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