Backcountry Tea – loose leaf, connoisseur style

Most hikers are used to caffeine in the morning. Interrupting that habit makes for grumpy hikers who are not the best trail company. Caffeine pills help, but do not provide the same emotional (some would say spiritual) comfort of wrapping your hands around a cup of soothingly warm liquid.

Coffee has the disadvantage of oily, hard-to-clean residues in your cup and pot. Ground coffee only keeps fresh for a few days at most (some believe it is only minutes or hours after grinding).

I make tea. Loose leaf teas like Assam, Darjeeling (black tea) or Sencha (green tea) keep for months in the backcountry and are a cinch to clean up after. Here’s a five minute tutorial video about making loose leaf tea in the backcountry (about 19 MB)

Backcountry Tea using the Trail Designs Caldera Cone Stove cooking system

 

 

 

 

4 replies
  1. Claire Marie-Peterson
    Claire Marie-Peterson says:

    I appreciate this thoughtful information. I mostly drink decaf coffee at home and am as happy with herbal, caffeine-free tea as with the delicious black varieties. I’m as habitual as anybody else about always having a cuppa *something* hot in the morning–indeed throughout the day in civilization. But remind me again why I need to bring *any* makings for hot drinks into the wilderness. I think it might simplify my meals tremendously, and lighten my load both coming and going, if I just leff all that at home and drank water with my meals. Has anybody else tried going without hot drinks on a multiday backpack? They certainly don’t pack much nutritional value.

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      Good Q Claire,
      And apologies for the late reply. I’ve been out trekking in Patagonia for the last two weeks. But no real reason for doing hot drinks unles it’s very cold and you need to warm up or wrap your cold hands around something to un-numb them. And caffeine aside,many people find the lack of a warm drink in the morning spiritually taxing. And for those accustomed to daily caffeine… interrupting this routine is one of the quickest ways to make a trip turn sour (although you can take caffeine pills). Hope this helps. Warmest, -Alan

      Reply
  2. Talia
    Talia says:

    Just fyi, for the tea, you can get reusable, washable silicone tea bags or infuser balls that will weigh less than the metal strainer you are using in the video.

    Reply
    • Alan Dixon
      Alan Dixon says:

      All good points Talia. I bet a fair number of backcountry tea drinkers would appreciate either of those options. I still find that tea free in the pot brews a little better than confined in a bag or ball. But then there is always the cleanup and pouring out thing to deal with. In general I skip the strainer and if I keep a steady hand I only get a few leaves into the cup. That works for me…

      All the best, -alan

      Reply

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