There’s something about having a cup of coffee in the mountains that makes it absolutely unbeatable by any café experience in the lowlands. Whether it’s the altitude, the clean mountain air, or just a general feeling of being at peace, you can’t top a mountainside cup of coffee.
Whether you’re in the mountains or not, though, you want to make sure that every cup you brew is of the best quality possible. Above 15,000 feet or at sea level, there’s no excuse for brewing sub-par coffee. These five items will help make sure you have the best cup of coffee possible at all times, whether you have the time to brew a good cup at home or you need to grab one on the go.
You might not be familiar with Chemex, but they’re consistently rated very highly among coffeemakers for the quality of the coffee they produce. The instructions list eight different steps from grinding to drinking, but the process is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. And the coffee is really, really great.
As a bonus, the Chemex doesn’t take up much room and looks really nice in your kitchen, so it’s perfect for small apartments or people who like to keep their kitchen counter tidy. It’s also available in three-, six-, and eight-cup models, so you can pick the one that’s right for your addiction—er, passion.
Texas Coffee Grinder
Great coffee starts with high-quality beans and a grinder that releases the full flavors from them. Your tiny electric Mr. Coffee grinder will do the job, but does it really add to the overall coffee experience? You won’t know what you’re missing until you try out a nice burr grinder; it gives you a better grind and releases more flavor and aroma than a blade grinder.
These unique, handmade grinders give you the perfect grind; choose the right grade for your coffee and use the handcrank to turn your coffee beans into highly flavorful grounds without heating them up enough to affect the taste, like you would with an electric grinder. And, like the Chemex coffeemakers above, the super classy construction will add some flair to your kitchen (it makes a great gift for coffee connoiseurs)
Pour-over coffee requires hot water, and a kettle makes the process much faster than boiling a pot on the stove. Properly filtered water will make your coffee taste a lot better, too, so combining a quick-boiling kettle with filtration is a great way to improve the taste of your coffee. There are plenty of options out there.
If you want the ultimate in pure, filtered water, the Viante CAF-200 will provide it, with a filter that gets rid of chlorine as well as small sediments; but it will set you back $97. On the more affordable end of the spectrum is this Hamilton Beach glass kettle with a mesh filter. It won’t catch nearly as many particles, but it’s much better than using water straight from the tap.
If you only ever wanted coffee while you were at home, you’d have a much easier time of getting a great cup whenever you wanted. But because you’re often on the move and don’t have your grinder and brewer with you (like when you’re camping), you’re going to need another solution. One great way to go is the Grower’s Cup, which puts single-estate specialty coffee in an easy-to-grab pouch.
Just pour hot water into the pouch, where it will steep in the grounds, and then pour it into your cup. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Each brewer is good for two cups of coffee, so you won’t end up with more coffee than you can drink. Buy a box and head to the wilderness!
Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Mug
This company is making a name for itself by crafting really nice travel drinkware, from water bottles to coffee mugs to beer flasks. Their travel coffee mug is a great way to keep your coffee hot for up to six hours while you’re on the road or at work (it’ll keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours, too).
12-, 16-, and 20-oz. options and a bevy of great colors mean you can pick the flask that fits your coffee-drinking style and personality. Plus you can use it for cold drinks on hikes, alcoholic beverages at events, and really anything else you can think of.
Don’t Live with Sub-Par Coffee
Many coffee drinkers don’t realize what they’re missing by using sub-par equipment to prepare their brew. Upgrading to a nicer experience isn’t cheap, but it will make a huge difference in the quality of your coffee. It’s an investment in your morning, which is really an investment in the quality of your entire day. Don’t skimp on it!
What are your favorite coffee-brewing implements? Share them in the comments below so we can all check them out.