How to Make Good Coffee in Bad Places, According to Evan Hafer

Making coffee is not strictly relegated to your kitchen or the local coffee shop. People all over the world find ways to enjoy a hot drink in the high-altitude mountains in the middle of the ocean, and everywhere in between. A good cup of coffee can make harsh conditions more tolerable, but cup quality often suffers without the frills of your home coffee kit.

evan hafer, CEO of black rifle coffee company, found a way to make great coffee in one of the most extreme environments in the world: war.

Reading: How much black rifle coffee per cup

Hafer served as a US Army special forces non-commissioned officer and as a CIA contractor, with assignments that took him to combat zones around the world. Even during the invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, he found a way to grind and brew his daily dose of caffeine, without sacrificing quality.

See also: How To Make The Perfect Iced Coffee

coffee or die magazine caught up with hafer recently to learn about his battle-tested methods for making good coffee in bad places.

carry good coffee beans with you.

during the invasion of iraq in 2003, hafer took premium coffee with him, and his special forces teammates were often awakened by the sound of a coffee grinder in the back of their armed truck. “I think we were probably the only ones having good whole bean coffee with us. In the mornings, we always started the day by grinding fresh coffee,” hafer said. he recommends finding single-origin high-altitude beans; he prefers Panamanians or Colombians.

roast your own beans.

In 2006, Hafer was working with the CIA, but was surprised to find that the coffee options left a bit to be desired: “You’d think the agency, especially with its Gucci reputation, would have amazing coffee. but they didn’t. So she started roasting in her garage and taking a duffel bag of beans overseas for her 60-day deployments.

a French press is good, but pouring over is better.

“I did the french press for a long time, until I broke so many,” hafer said. “I eventually found a double-walled stainless steel one and went through quite a few of those because people would literally steal them, they were in high demand.” These days, Hafer doesn’t leave home without a custom travel pouring system he invented, which is much more compact than a French press and has simple, durable components.

know the boiling point of the altitude you will be at.

See also: 10 Charming Upper West Side Cafes Guaranteed to Satisfy

You usually want the water to be around 200 degrees Fahrenheit before you pour it over the coffee grounds, but figuring out the water temperature can seem tricky if you don’t have a thermometer. “I know roughly what temperature the water is going to boil at based on elevation; it’s going to boil faster or slower,” hafer said. “You don’t have to put a thermometer in it because you’ll know exactly what the temperature is based on the boiling point.” When planning your next trip, go to to quickly find the boiling point for your desired elevation.

get the right coffee to water ratio.

according to hafer, you want a coffee to water ratio of about 1:16. this breaks down to roughly 1 tablespoon of ground coffee for every 8-ounce cup of coffee. “I know it by eye because I’ve been doing it for so many years. it’s what you do every day [at home] that will allow you to master coffee preparation in the field,” hafer said. “all that skill translates when you’re in shitty places.”

don’t be intimidated by the process.

As much as the science and logistics of making a great cup of coffee may deter the average person from putting in the effort in austere settings, hafer stressed that it’s all very doable, and will only take 10 minutes of your time. “At the end of the day, if you have a manual grinder or maybe you’ve pre-ground some coffee, have an indestructible pourer, and a means of boiling water, you’re going to make a great cup of coffee.”

Full disclosure: In case you didn’t know, coffee or die is the sole property of the black rifle coffee company.

See also: Honda Cd 50 Độ Cafe Racer Cần Bán, Honda Cd50 Cafe Racer


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