moka

There are some aspects of the camping tradition you just can’t mess with. Campfires, s’mores, sleeping bags, and a hot cup of coffee on a chilly mountain morning. Take out any one of these elements and camping can hardly be considered camping.

While most of these elements are fairly straightforward and relatively easy to achieve on any outdoor excursion, the obligatory cup of coffee can sometimes prove to be problematic even for car camping trips. The drip makers built for propane stoves work well, if you don’t mind waiting half an hour for your first sip. The age-old percolators are a tried and true option, but the quality often leaves much to be desired. There are some who will argue that the percolator taste – complete with plenty of grounds to add a bit of texture to your java juice – is part of the experience. But if you’re one of those people who has no desire to sacrifice taste or convenience simply because there’s not an electrical outlet nearby, it turns out the Italians developed a solution for your dilemma more than 80 years ago.

The Bialetti Moka Express is an Italian-designed aluminum coffee maker that’s a simple and convenient way to make espresso style coffee on a stovetop or over a propane burner. The design is simple, yet elegant. Fill the bottom pot with water, add grounds to the filter funnel, and then screw the top pot into place. Ten, simply turn on the burner and voila! In a matter of minutes, the top pot is full of great tasting coffee. No wait. No grounds. No hassle.

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This handy little coffee pot is available at bialetti.com, and comes in sizes that range from 1 to 12 cups, a price of between $24.99 and $59.99. When ordering, keep in mind that these are Italian espresso cup sizes, which translate to roughly half of what most of us Americans consider a standard size cup of coffee.

Consider how easy it is to use, the Moka Express just might become the most essential piece of car camping equipment for those of us who think that a truly great camping experience can’t begin without a truly great cup of coffee.

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