coffee camping

Snow Peak French Press and Milk Foamer
Titanium French Press: 24 oz. capacity, weight – 6.3 oz., MSRP: $55.95.
Titanium Milk Foamer: 4.9 oz., MSRP $41.95.

By Al Kesselheim

How much do you care about your backcountry coffee? If you're a true addict, read on.

Thanks to Snow Peak, coffee snobs will never have to hate coffee camping again. Snow Peak's line of outdoor cookware includes several pieces for coffee lovers. The two-person French press and titanium milk foamer top the list. At first, even I thought it was a little excessive, and I take coffee very seriously. I mean, titanium? Then I took this gourmet coffee combo on Belt Creek, in Montana, in May. We spent the day in the bottom of a deep cold canyon. The Big Sky was gray and drizzly, and the creek had enough whitewater to keep us perpetually wet. It was good paddling fun, but a classic setup for hypothermia. Halfway through, chilled to the bone, we stopped and pulled out the goods. In ten minutes we were holding hot mugs of coffee topped with a head of creamy, frothed milk. Funny, it didn't seem so excessive any more. In fact, it warmed the complexion of the day right up. Ever since, the coffee set goes with.

Product specs list the French press at 3 cups, but it's really two mugs, and you want to serve them immediately, since the container isn't insulated. The milk foamer is surprisingly effective. Heat up the milk, plunge for 20-30 seconds, and you've got a head of foam that would make your local barista envious. In fact, we've incorporated the foamer into our kitchen at home and use it for everyday coffee or hot chocolate. The weak link, over the long haul, is the mesh screens on both the press and the foamer. In a pinch, you could make your own replacement with screening from the hardware store.