Coffee by the Lake
As the sun rises on the peaceful lakeshore of Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, I take in the beauty of the world around me. The symphony of soft sounds, the stillness of the lake, and the cool morning chill reminds […]
As the sun rises on the peaceful lakeshore of Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, I take in the beauty of the world around me. The symphony of soft sounds, the stillness of the lake, and the cool morning chill reminds me to cherish the gifts nature provides us.
A warm cup of coffee in my hands – made with my travel setup of an AeroPress and a Knock hand grinder – grounds me in the present and allows me to disconnect from the fast-paced world I left behind in Toronto. It is a true moment of zen, a true moment of inner calmness.
This experience is truly nostalgic, harkening back to my childhood when my family would go camping every summer. The smell of the fire, the sound of the loons calling in the evening, and the feel of the cool morning air – they all come rushing back to me.
The coffee I enjoy only amplifies the experience. I sit and contemplate how that aspect of coffee “off the grid” has really changed for the better since the past decades of my youth. There’s a certain romanticism about “cowboy coffee” (the kind of coffee made in a pot without a filter, on top of a Coleman stove or an open fire), but in reality, it was never really good. The circumstances surrounding that coffee is what made it good.
My parents didn’t have access to quality manual grinders like we have today. They didn’t have access to pocketable water heating systems like the JetBoil I used this morning. They certainly didn’t have access to portable, easy brewing devices like the AeroPress or my latest toy, a Staresso portable espresso maker.
It’s amazing that we now have the capability to create third wave quality coffee anywhere, even while disconnecting from the grid. With the right tools and supplies you can experience the joy of creating a cafe-worthy beverage using nothing more than a few small appliances in your backpack, along with some freshly roasted, high quality beans.
It’s not difficult either. Indeed, if it was more difficult to get this great tasting coffee off the grid, it would detract from the experience. Sure, my parents would fish out the big tin of pre-ground Folgers, dump a few scoops of coffee into a big pot, place it on the stove, and walk away. Can’t get much simpler than that.
My own steps aren’t that much more difficult. Fire up the Jetboil, heating up a litre of water. Fill the Porlex hand grinder to the rim with beans and find a seat to enjoy the view as you grind the coffee. If anything, the cranking action by the lake side is therapeutic.
By the time I’m done, the Jetboil is almost done. Add two scoops of the fresh ground to my inverted AeroPress, add the water fresh off the boil, stir it, seal it, flip it, and press. My artisan, cafe-calibre coffee is done, ready to enjoy.
Just like my experiences as a youth, there’s something about drinking coffee in the great outdoors that makes it taste even better. As I take that first sip, I am overcome with a sense of contentment and gratitude for the simple pleasures in life. It’s amazing to think that I can enjoy this incredible cup of coffee while surrounded by the splendor of the great outdoors. This moment is a reminder to always take a step back, slow down, and appreciate the wonderful blessings that life has to offer.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the importance of slowing down and appreciating the present moment. But here, surrounded by nature, with nothing but the sound of the morning chorus of birds as I drink this fantastic Ethopian coffee, I am in my full zen.
Ethan worked in the coffee business as a roasters apprentice and barista until his late 20s, but never gave up a love for coffee. He’s an accomplished outdoor enthusiast and runs an adventure vacation business in Toronto.