The Perfect Mountain Brew

Dan Robbins shares his secret to the best outdoor cuppa you'll ever have...

By Daniel Robbins

Crisp mountain air, a gentle breeze, the chirp of hidden birds, and the sounds of sends at the crag. These are all experiences we love and crave; and what better to accompany these experiences than a hot, steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee? 

There are many ways to brew a cuppa in the wilderness, from the rudimentary straining of coffee grounds and boiling water through a sock, to the delicate, precise recipes of an Aeropress. Today I’m going to share my favourite method – it’s easy to make, light to carry and just as good as any cappuccino you’ll find in a coffee house. 

Dan with his doggo, repping those Docons and waiting for the water to boil (Note: no dogs were caffeinated in the making of this blog).


The Bialetti moka pot, invented by Alfonso Bialetti of the eponymous Italian company, works similarly to a percolator by straining boiling water through espresso grounds to create a smooth, strong brew. This contraption has been a staple of quality coffee making since 1933, and it remains one of the best ways to caffeinate on the go. Moka pots come in various sizes; I use a four-cup pot – this is just the right size to make two strong cups of coffee. 

Of course, you will need something to boil water. I use a Fire Maple gas stove with a small gas canister, these pack light and are more than adequate for boiling water.  A small canister will last about 20 boils. You will also need a pot/container you can boil water in; I use an old military canteen, which works perfectly.  


I’m not going to go into detail about what grinder settings to use and what temperatures to brew it at – personal preference is key here and no matter what you choose you’ll get a great end product. Keep it simple and buy some good quality, pre-ground coffee, ground for filter. Screw the top of the moka pot off and take out the filter basket. Fill the bottom chamber with hot water (very hot but not boiling) and fill the filter basket with your ground coffee. Then screw it back together. Now pop it on your stove on medium–high flame. It should start percolating after a few minutes. Once it starts sputtering, remove it from the heat and pour some lukewarm water over the bottom chamber to stop brewing (skipping this will result in a more bitter coffee). Next, boil roughly one cup of water with a stove-safe container. Once this is boiled, divide the moka pot contents into two cups (each cup will get two espresso shots with a four-cup pot). Top up with boiling water, add milk and/or sugar if you’d like, and enjoy!

Enjoy that tasty bean juice!

Coffee is not solely about getting your daily caffeine fix or simply quenching thirst; it brings people together. I have made countless memories over a simple cup shared with friends, and there are very few situations that can’t be bettered with a good brew. Add this ritual to your crag shenanigans or your hiking adventures and you (along with your companions) won’t be disappointed.