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How To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife

We all know starting the morning off with a nice cup of warm coffee is almost essential in vanlife. The van is chilly and having something warm can make all the difference! I have worked at a couple different small coffee shops, so I can say, I know “good” coffee! That’s why I am going to pass on my knowledge about how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife. 

How To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife coffee supplies

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Everything You Need To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife:

I am huge advocate for pour-over coffee. This is when you place a cone and filter directly over your mug, and brew each cup individually. Pour-over gives you the most control over each detail of the brewing process.

Note: We have found an electric kettle to be a great addition to our van set up because it is super fast, and we don’t have to set up our stove every time we want coffee or tea. Plus, we usually have plenty of power to spare, which might not be the case for your van electrical set up. But if you have a stationary stovetop or prefer to boil your water via stovetop, it will work just the same!  

We also use a Krup’s Electric Coffee Bean Grinder, because we have enough electrical power to run this every morning. But there are also some great manual grinders you can choose from too. I do believe that the key to the best cup of coffee in vanlife is freshly ground beans!

The secret to making the best cup of coffee

These are the secrets to making the best cup of coffee

  • High-Quality Coffee Beans
  • Beans Ground Daily!
  • Proper Ratios

High Quality Coffee Beans

The first secret to making the best cup of coffee is finding high-quality coffee beans. Whole coffee beans, not ground! I love to find local coffee shops that outsource their coffee from staple coffee countries. Some of my favorite coffee beans come from Colombia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia. But there are many other reputable countries that are known to grow legendary coffee beans!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Starbucks doesn’t have high-quality coffee. Because their company is simply too large, it would be nearly impossible for them to grow as high of a quality bean. So if you are just trying to get your caffeine fix, Starbucks might be your answer.

But I am assuming you are here to find out how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife, and the secret to finding high-quality coffee. High-quality coffee farms often need time and plenty of shade which is not as easy for big farms. 

Many grocery stores and eCommerce stores don’t sell high-quality coffee because they prioritize coffee products with a long shelf-life. That’s why I suggest stopping in local coffee shops that tend to keep their coffee fresh on the shelves and buy from quality farms. So do your research before picking up any ol’ bag of coffee if you want a great cup of joe to start your morning!

Beans Ground Daily

The second secret to the perfect cup of coffee is to grind your beans daily. When a coffee bean is ground up, the beautiful flavors and aromas begin to escape. So, if someone ground the beans beforehand, then you’ve probably already missed the window to brew the coffee at peak flavor.

Purchasing whole bean coffee ensures that you keep those flavors and aromas safe inside the bean until you are ready to unleash them. When you brew your coffee just minutes (or seconds) after grinding them, you are harnessing the full flavor potential of those beans.

Proper Ratio Of Water To Grounds

The last secret, isn’t really much of a secret, but you gotta have the right ratio of ingredients! A good starting place is 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water. 

Too much water or too many grounds and you can lose the formula for success. Generally, too much water results in a watery cup of coffee, and too many grounds can result in an potent cup that overpowers the subtler flavors of the beans. Luckily, if you’re making coffee nearly everyday then you will certainly find an easy way to always nail the right amount of coffee grounds and water.

But even the formula is just a rule-of-thumb. You can make changes to suit your particular preference.

I cover my golden ratio in the step-by-step section for how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife. So let’s jump into it.

Step By Step Guide For How To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife:

  • First step, gather everything you need (listed above) on the counter
Measuring the water to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife
  • Measure out filtered water (water is precious in vanlife, so only boil as much as you will use!) I usually just use the coffee mug I plan to drink out of as a measuring cup. (My favorite mug is my insulated 12oz coffee mug).
pouring the water into the kettle
  • Pour the water into the kettle
  • Turn on the kettle and let it come to a roaring boil
Grinding the beans to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife
  • Measure whole beans and add to the grinder. 

One cup of coffee is generally about 70 whole beans or about 2 tbsp of ground coffee for every 6 ounces. I usually make a 12 oz cup of coffee every morning, so for my Krup grinder, I fill the beans to just cover the blade.

Note: Make sure your inverter can handle the load of the grinder and electric kettle at the same time. 

Medium to find coffee grounds which makes the best cup of coffee in vanlife
  • Grind the beans to medium-fine (or your preference). But medium-fine makes the best cup of coffee!
pouring the grounded coffee grounds into the filter
  • Place pour-over ceramic on coffee mug 
  • Add a filter to pour over ceramic
  • Pour grinds into filter
Using a brush to get all the coffee grounds successfully out of the grinder
  • Then, use a brush to get all the ground beans from the grinder
  • Once the water comes to a boil, turn off kettle and let sit for about 30 seconds. 

Note: Water should be around 205 degrees. If you pour boiling water over the beans you can burn them, making the taste a bit more bitter. 

How To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife
  • Then pour water over the beans slowly
  • Continually pour the water in a circular motion till the water has fully filtered through to the cup

Note: The beans should all settle level toward the bottom. If the ground beans attach to the side of the filer, the flavor isn’t equally being extracted. That’s why it is important to pour the water in a circular motion. I sometimes will take the other end (plastic end) of the brush and swirl the beans in a circular motion, equally extracting the flavor. 

  • Lastly, add any additional creamer or sugar, but if you have good quality coffee, then you really shouldn’t need it!
  • Remove filter, and dispose of. (Preferably compost if you do that!)
  • Bam! Now you know how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife!

Last instruction: Enjoy your coffee with a beautiful view!

Emily enjoying a cup of coffee after learning how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife

Takeaway | How To Make The Best Cup Of Coffee In Vanlife:

Everyone has their preference for coffee, I personally like medium roast. I encourage you to experiment with different types to figure out your preference. But no matter what, try to seek out high-quality beans.

I find pour-over coffee to be easy for vanlife, because a traditional coffee maker just isn’t a good fit for living small and on the road. But it’s not just about what fits, pour-over coffee is actually great for achieving the best tasting cup. So it’s a win-win. Pour-over is very popular among coffee aficionados, and I too find that it makes the best tasting cup of coffee. So I hope you find this step-by-step guide for how to make the best cup of coffee in vanlife helpful. Enjoy this easy way to make a fabulous cup of coffee in your camper van.

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