best coffee and tea

Everything Is Better With Coffee & Tea

Afternoon tea, a hand crafted coffee, a fresh baked cookie…what more could anyone want in life!?!  We can think of a few things, but not many.

We are big coffee connoisseurs and love several brewing methods so we’ll start with that obsession first.  Our set up isn’t up to super coffee snob standards but its coffee snob worthy and chosen for of our mobile life.  We’re not coffee experts but our friend Ben, of Crema Coffee is and he offered up these three tips for a great cup:

  • Weigh your coffee and water, use a 16:1 ratio (16 parts water to 1 part coffee; for example 30 grams coffee, 480 grams water).
  • Invest in a great grinder, makes a world of difference.  It’s all about particle size & consistency.
  • Use great coffee that’s relationally sourced by the roaster and roasted with respect and expertise.

Crafting the perfect cup is all about the science behind it and if you really want to geek out, there is loads of coffee education here: crema-coffee.com/allaboutcoffee/

As for us, here is our coffee/tea bar set up aboard S/V Curiosity:

Espresso

I stumbled upon the Rok years ago and loved the manual, no electricity needed idea of it. It looks awesome, its made of heavy duty stainless steel, it uses ground coffee (not pods) and it makes a good crema when the espresso is pulled nice and slow.

Areopress is another fantastic hand operated, no electricity required method that falls somewhere in between an espresso and a coffee.  It’ makes a strong, concentrated coffee.

Pour Over Coffee

The kalita wave dripper is highly rated but it requires special filters that are expensive and sometimes hard to find so that didn’t make sense for us. Right now we have the Chemex which is great but it also requires special filters (albeit easier to find).  It hasn’t been an issue yet as we simply stock up when we find them.  We like that we can make five cups of coffee at once no problem (good for the whole crew).  The Hario V60 seems to be the favorite of many of the coffee farmers and roasters we’ve met and will most likely be our next purchase. It’s nice because it uses standard #4 coffee filters that can be found anywhere.

French Press

French Press isn’t our go to method of brewing but it is the easiest when underway in heavy seas.  We found this insulated french press several years ago and have absolutely loved it!  I can’t tell you how many glass french presses we have broken over the years.  No longer an issue with this stainless steel version and it stays hot for sooo much longer than the glass version.  Plus, our french press is a two fold device for us, we use it to brew tea as well as coffee.

It’s all about the Grind

We had a Bodum Burr Grinder for years and it’s been great.  However, it recently bit the dust.  Luckily we managed to track down a Cuisinart burr grinder in Panama.  It’s not our top choice but it is a burr grinder, working well and beggars can’t be choosers.  You would be shocked how hard it was to find a good coffee grinder in Panama (I know, home of the most expensive coffee in the world)!  We’re seriously thinking of ordering a hand grinder and have listed our top choices below.

Coffee Beans

We’re all about buying locally crafted or locally grown anything, its one of the joys of traveling. Sometimes finding a decent coffee much less locally roasted coffee can be a challenge depending on the area.  Coffee for us is a treat and we drink it because we enjoy the experience, not because its a survival necessity (at least that’s what we tell ourselves). So, we have no desire to buy cheap, mediocre or mass produced coffee.  There would be no enjoyment in that for us.

We keep a small stock of our faves in the freezer and always keep our eyes out for a good local roaster wherever we are. Which is why you see us visiting coffee shops frequently in our videos and posts.  That’s how we found Crema coffee a while back when we were road tripping through Tennessee. The coffee was solid, baristas weren’t snobby and we were really impressed with their commitment to their farmers.  Almost a year later we connected on Instagram because Ben, one of the owners, is fellow traveler and RV’er. Go figure, it’s a small world after all! Since then we’ve swapped travel stories, learned more about how we can perfect our traveling cup and even had the chance to meet some of their coffee farmers in Panama.  See the story here:  Experiencing Geisha, Most Expensive Coffee In The World

Anyway, Ben is a super nice guy and if you have never had specialty coffee before, order some from him and treat yourself. Crema Coffee Website

Afternoon Delight

Keep your pants on, I am talking about afternoon tea.  A proper British afternoon tea among friends is a delightful thing. However, we like tea anytime of the day, hot, iced, herbal, or the all out British way with scones and clotted cream. Yum!

We prefer loose leaf tea so we don’t have the extra waste or storage space that individual bags require.  We use the french press mentioned above to steep our tea.  If we want iced tea, we simply brew it double strength and add ice.  Again, we try and visit a local tea shop (so fun to smell all the different teas) if there is one.  When there isn’t, we have a few go to brands and faves we can stock up on.  This isn’t all of them by any means but are some to check out if you never have tried them.

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