Fall in Vail

The leaves are turning hues of yellow and soft gold and the heat from the summer sun has eased off leaving a crisp coolness in the air. There's a chill in the breeze that encourages sweaters and gloves, all while cupping mugs of hot drinks. Although we here at Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea in Minturn, Colorado relished a summer of camping beside mountain lakes, biking along dusty trails and moonlit campfires, fall is here. It's time to slow our steps as the seasons amble toward winter.

Camping in fall is especially lovely, as the backcountry in and around Vail shifts its palette and shadows grow longer. Hearty dinners and breakfasts are essential for energy, and so are our beverages. A stout beer is easy to pack and enjoy, but what about first thing in the morning when the air is crisp, and your eyes aren't ready for the day? A cup of coffee, the aromas alone sharpen your mind, and the warmth softens any stiffness from your sleep on the ground.

Camp coffee should not have to be an adventure, let the day that lies before you be the adventure and keep your coffee predictably reliable. Something to look forward to as the sun rises. Here's how you do it:

Selecting the Right Roast for You

Pick a roast that suits your camp taste buds. Keep in mind what you want while out among the trees might differ from at home. At Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea, the Costa Rican blend is a smooth, light blend. The Reserva Tarrazu is grown at altitudes of over 3500 feet, and that plus the rich, wet soil gives the beans bright acidity and a nutty finish. If you prefer a dark roast, try our French Roast, which never has the dark bitterness roast often has and, instead is full-bodied and smooth. For a taste somewhere in between those two, try the Meadow Mountain blend with its carmely taste and hybrid of Central American and Vienna roast blends.

Brewing

There are a few ways to brew those beans into the perfect camp coffee. Brew the coffee in advance, at home. Use the Toddy cold brew system, an efficient coffee maker that brews with 67% less acid. Store your brew in a bottle, pack and shuttle it into camp. You can easily heat this up on a camp stove first thing in the morning.

If you would rather brew the coffee there at camp, another option is to pack a shatterproof French press. The Bodum Chambord French Press is made from borosilicate glass, plastic, chrome- and gold-plated silicone. Also, the Bodum Coffee Maker is another press that's an excellent way to enjoy camp coffee. No need to brew at home first, simply bring one of the presses with you and your choice of coarsely ground coffee and you'll have a perfect cup of Joe within 3-4 minutes.

Camp coffee doesn't have to be tasteless muck you stomach only to get your caffeine high. You can easily brew a cup just as delicious as what you would at home in your kitchen. Or perhaps while enjoyed in the middle of the backcountry and surrounded by fresh air, it's even more delicious.