This is a rarity on this website - a guest post. It was written for us by our friends Andrew and Peta Murray from Top Wire Traveller, who travel all over Australia in their truck camper. They love their coffee, and were on the lookout for a compact coffee maker that was easy to use and easy to clean. This is what they discovered…
If there’s one thing we both enjoy, it’s a good cup of coffee. That satisfying flavor of quality ground coffee beans, not to mention the aroma. We have one small problem though… how do we make a great tasting coffee when we’re travelling full-time on the road?
Imagine you’re in the middle of the desert in outback Australia. No water for hundreds of miles in any direction and certainly no coffee shops! How do you satisfy your caffeine addiction?
Well, purely by chance we discovered the ideal solution. Our friends own Hennessy Coffee, a coffee wholesale business and gave us a Cafflano Klassic pour-over coffee maker to play with.
At first we were skeptical. It looks just like a large travel mug and fits comfortably in one hand. How could this possibly make a decent coffee, we wondered.
Turns out it’s an engineering marvel. Contained within this unit is a complete coffee “machine”!
Let’s have a closer look at this unusual beast.
The Cafflano Klassic hides an adjustable conical-burr grinder, stainless steel mesh filter, measuring cup, tumbler and tumbler lid within its compact frame.
This clever design means you can carry your portable coffee maker just about anywhere. It takes up no more room than a large travel mug and is easy to clean out.
So how do you use the Cafflano Klassic?
It takes a while to perfect. You need to experiment, to get the taste just right.
The first part is adjusting the grind. This simple feature is hidden in plain sight. You simply unscrew the handle and adjust the grinding jaws in or out to suit your taste buds.
Although obvious when you know how, we didn’t realize the grinder was adjustable until I stumbled across a Cafflano video explaining this feature.
And it makes a huge difference.
At first our coffees were too weak. By gradually closing the grind, we found the ideal setting to suit our taste.
How do we know the right amount of beans to add to the grinder? It’s dead simple… just fill the holder to the top then start grinding!
And this leads to the other built-in feature, which is so important to getting the best taste. You grind the beans as you’re making a brew. So you’re getting the best possible taste from your beans.
Speaking of beans, the age of the beans really doesn’t seem to make any difference to the taste…. within reason of course! Our friends supply us with 1kg (2.2lbs) bags of quality beans, which can take us a while to get through. We don’t notice any change in taste as the beans age.
And in case you’re wondering, we use what Hennessy Coffee call their Platinum Blend. This is a mix of three beans, quite mild and with a hint of caramel. Yum!
The second secret to a perfect brew is water temperature… and a bit of patience. Once you’ve ground the coffee, Cafflano recommend soaking the grinds in a small amount of boiling water for at least 45 seconds before adding the remaining water.
However, we also wait for a minute or so before pouring the first soak over the grinds. Otherwise the boiling water will make your coffee rather bitter!
After the initial soak, simply pour in the remaining water and let it drain through the filter then into the tumbler. This water takes a couple of minutes to leach through the grinds, which is probably not quite long enough to extract the full flavor of the beans.
If we closed the burr-grinder a fraction further, then the grinds would be finer and therefore the water would take longer to pass through them. So you can adjust the soak time to some extent.
We’re not too worried though.
Remember, we’re talking about a pour-through coffee maker which you can hold in the palm of one hand. We don’t expect café-grade coffee from such a simple device.
We both like white coffee, so we pour a small amount of milk into the tumbler before adding water to the grinds. This also seems to help temper any bitterness.
So why is the Cafflano Klassic such a good option for full-time travelers like us? There are a few reasons:
· It’s compact, taking up very little of our precious space.
· Even more importantly, we don’t use much water when cleaning it out. Water is precious when travelling though the Australian outback, so we simply can’t waste it on cleaning a coffee maker. Just a rinse of the grinder and a quick rinse of the mesh filter. The drinking tumbler can be rinsed out quickly and then washed properly with detergent later.
· The grinder is easily adjustable, allowing you to customize the brew’s strength to suit your taste.
· The system is easy to use. No filters, no additional bits and pieces to carry around with us.
· Once packed into its Tardis-like cylinder, this unit is pretty well indestructible. And it has to be, to survive the rigors of outback travel in Australia.
· Above all, it makes great-tasting coffee!
While the coffee possibly doesn’t taste as good as a full-blown commercial coffee maker, there’s no doubt it tastes a whole lot better than many of the domestic coffee makers on the market.
Considering the compact and portable design of the Cafflano Klassic, it really does punch above its weight in terms of taste and ease of use.
And now for the big question…
Keep in mind we were given our Cafflano Klassic as a freebie to test and figure out how it works.
Would we buy one though?
Yes we would. It is absolutely ideal for our full-time travel lifestyle. Sure, the coffee’s not to die for. But it’s an ideal compromise between ease of use, compactness and taste.
We’re yet to see another pour-over coffee maker that can offer such convenience and taste great.
If you’re thinking of hitting the road full-time or if you’re in search of compact and rugged coffee maker for camping or hiking, then check out this innovative unit from Cafflano.
They really have come up with a unique solution for caffeine-deprived travelers like us. And it’s a whole lot better than drinking instant coffee…