Face it, we all have a love-hate relationship with our French Press coffee makers. I love the robust body and flavor of my favorite coffees but UGH! But I absolutely hate cleaning the used coffee grounds out of my French Press. And as a full-time RVer who boondocks with very limited water, this has become a huge issue! So, I set myself on a mission to find a way to make French Press coffee without having to worry about cleaning out the used coffee grounds.
It all started in 2017. We were first time RV boondockers at Quartzite, Arizona. For those non-RVing types, boondocking is dry camping off the grid without being hooked up to utilities (electric, water and septic). One of the biggest constraints of boondocking (and tent camping), is the limited resource of fresh water.
Now, I admit, we were first spoiled having our big beautiful Keurig. However, that alone came with moral and environmental issues (those stupid plastic K-cups) and needing enough electric to power that sucker.
While boondocking off the grid, each time I wanted a cup of Joe, we had to fire up our generator (before our solar and energy management RV upgrades). Oftentimes, that would be in the wee hours of the morning which is a huge boondocking etiquette disrespectful no-no.
Getting back our first RV boondocking experience in Quartzsite, my fellow RVer, Emily from OwnlessDoMore, showed me this cool glass contraption where you put a certain amount of coffee grounds and boiling water, then press this plunger thingie down to extract the full body richness of Java. She called this thing a French Press Coffee.
My eyes widened! I became instantly smitten. And when she poured my virgin cup of French Press coffee, little baby angels were singing above my head! That was the best damn coffee I’ve ever tasted.
In fact, that French Press serving of heaven was like tasting France, Italy and Brazil but in a cup! Comparing it to Keurig coffee that was much thinner, I honestly wondered what took me so long to find these French Presses. In fact, I considered myself a coffee snob then but man, I entered into a new realm of java snobbery!
In my best redneck fakery voice, I blurted, “I gotta git me one of them there French Presses!” And that’s how my love of French press coffee was born.
Now, years later, I’ve found some secrets I’ve picked up along the way to combine French Press coffee making with boondocking and camping off the grid! The amazing thing about making French Press coffee is you don’t need electricity!
So, grab your mug and let’s get down brewing!
How to Make the BEST French Press Coffee
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Making my first French Press coffee on my own
Now, I never used a French Press let alone dared to pour boiling hot water into a glass one. That just doesn’t sound right. Last time I poured boiling water into a mason jar (which is supposed to withstand that), the jar cracked and broke. Thankfully, it was in the sink and nobody got hurt.
But, I guess those glass French presses are made from some secret glass like Pyrex or something. Whatever, I was just happy I was going to replicate that wondrous cup of heaven every day from here on out.
So, as my five-cent lesson from Emily put it; “throw a couple spoonfuls of coffee in, pour in boiling water, let it sit for a few minutes, stir, press and VOILA!”. It was that simple!
It truly was good to the last drop!
However, that was short lived as tipped our cups to see the bottoms and set them down in the sink for cleaning. I also set my empty French Press in the sink beside my mug to be cleaned later.
Cleaning my French Press coffee maker
A few hours later, when I had enough dirty dishes to spend what little water I was rationed to wash them, those little baby angels weren’t singing so joyfully anymore.
Something wasn’t quite right. As I stood pulled out the plunger of my French Press, I stood there staring at the wet, caked coffee grounds in the bottom. There was no way I was going to waste my precious day’s ration of water rinsing the damn thing out.
Needless to say, I didn’t have a rubber spatula to scrape out every spent ground of coffee. Because the last thing you ever want to do is rinse coffee grounds down the drain in your RV.
That 99cent cup of heavenly bliss will turn into a thousand dollar RV repair to clean out the drain and our gray tank. And if you know me, you’d appreciate I’m not going to let that happen. So, I had to find a solution because I was not going to sacrifice good tasting coffee just because of boondocking with limited water.
So, what’s a girl ta do?
Finding a solution to French Press coffee disposal
I diligently set out on a quest because while I wanted good French Press coffee, I didn’t want to waste water cleaning the damn thing out.
So, while I was shopping on Amazon one night recently when I was supposed to be blogging, I found these French Press Coffee Brewing Bags.
At this point, I was eager to try anything. So, I ordered a pack of them. Their description reads…
We crafted these bags specifically for the daily brewer. Like you, we care about our beans, our grind, and our coffee. We spend our Saturday mornings with a quality brew, a page-turning book, and a trip to the park. Cleaning our presses seemed to get in the way of our favored activities, so we designed French Press Coffee Brewing Bags to make the process easier and faster.
Well look at that! I wasn’t alone in my plight!
Testing out those French Press coffee brewing bags
Okay, so we’re not Baristas. We don’t have scales, timers, thermometers and all that get up, so all of that isn’t going to work for us. We just like a good Cup-a-Joe in the morning to kickstart our day.
So, how these French Press coffee brewing bags work is we put a few tablespoons (because as former sailers, we like our coffee strong) of our favorite blend in one of those sacks, tie it off at the top and throw it in the French Press. But, make sure you leave the string out so you can grab onto it for steeping and swirling.
Holding the coffee brew bag by the string, I just pour boiling water over it into our French Press coffee maker. I would allow the coffee in the brew bag to sit and steep a couple minutes. Because I get easily distracted.
After a couple minutes pass, I simply insert the French Press plunger thingie slowly and voila! COFFEEEEEEEEE!!
BUT WAIT!! It gets better…the coffee, that is!
Now, I have to admit, I’m always looking for ways to improve anything I do. And not that our French Press coffee was bad to begin with, I was looking for a way to get more robustness and body out of our coffee.
So, again, what’s a girl ta do?
I plunged repeatedly! Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down for about a full minute. And guess what? I did it! Our coffee was even more amazing!
I’d pour it into our stainless steel mugs and oh my word! Remember those baby angels that sang to me years prior? Well, they sing to me every time I make our coffee!
Cleanup is a breeze!
So, getting back the the cleanup, those baby angels sang even louder when it came extracting those coffee grounds! All I had to do was remove the plunger, reach in and dump the used French Press coffee brew bag right in the trash can. No more loose grounds. No more wasting water to clean it out.
Cleanup is as easy peasy as downing a whole pumpkin pie with a can of whipped cream!
About the French Press Coffee Brewing Bags
The French Press coffee brewing bags are made of food grade polymer. While paper is commonly used in other brewing methods, it does absorb the oils and acids of the coffee that are extracted during the brewing process resulting in different flavor profile of coffee. (I think I mentioned that above with the other filters).
Here’s some important information from the manufacturer of these coffee brewing bags:
- EASY CLEANUP – Hitting your French Press against the trash can will shatter your Glass French Press or dent your precious Stainless Steel French Press. Tossing grounds down the sink can clog your drain. These Brewing Bags solve this! Simply toss these disposable filters out after use and cleanup is done! Removes the headache cleaning your camping french press and serves as a great camping coffee filter
- HIGH QUALITY – Porous, extra strong, double-sealed, non-woven material traps bitter grounds during the brewing process keeping your Coffee French Press clean and always ready to use!
- CUSTOM DESIGN – Engineered by baristas to ensure your coffee completes the 3 crucial steps for a perfect brew: Bloom, Dissolution, and Diffusion. Take your french press stainless steel brewer to a new level! Ditch the old french press filters replacements and french press screen, these Brewing Bags do the filtering for you!
- VERSATILE – Designed to fit your standard 8 cup (1 Liter) French Press, but versatile enough to work as Cold Brew Filters, Mulling Spice Sacks, Tea Bags, Beer Hops Bags, Citrus & Fruit Water Infusion, Soups and Boils. Also great for your small french press!
- EASY FILL – Extra large opening can fit over most coffee grinders to make filling your Brewing Bag with your favorite coffee hassle free. Note* works with all coffee types
Our French Press Coffee Maker
As you may have guessed, our glass French Press broke into smithereens during transit. Not from banging it on the trash can as listed above. But because I was a moron one day and didn’t pack my glass French Press very well.
Besides being unbreakable, being that it’s double-walled stainless steel, the darn thing keeps our coffee hot longer.
It’s all about the mug!
We all have our favorite mug. Some are given as gifts from your kids or grandkids. Others may be picked up at a favorite store or souvenir shop.
They are so wicked awesome, I even blogged raving about these awesome stainless mugs. Coffee (and other hot beverages) stays hot longer like the French Press and oh yeah, they won’t break either!! So hey! Get them to make a set!
Now I suck at being a salesman. But, YOU NEED THESE!! You will LOVE them!! Get one! Get a bunch!
They make great gifts for your parents, boyfriend, wife, favorite hiker, scary biker, teacher, preacher and even yourself!
Oh, and one (okay, maybe two) thing. I love my coffee hot, light and sweet, much like a dessert. So, trying to be on a healthy kick, I found different flavored coffee sweeteners made with stevia!
And, to whip it up into a frothy heavenly morning treat (or evening decaf) or my bullet coffee, I use my trusty coffee frother. Okay, it’s a milk frother but who’s counting?
Drink up Buttercup!
Now you see that all of our coffee making problems are solved! If you’re planning on camping, boondocking, or even boating out there and want good tasting coffee without sacrificing the bold flavor you get from your favorite barista, here’s your sign!
If you love coffee, here are a couple more worth articles to read:
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