If you’re looking for a “camping coffee” solution, you might’ve already come across the Takeya cold brew maker. Nothing about it screams “camping!” And Takeya doesn’t mention anything outdoorsy in the product descriptions, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve as your go-to camping coffee maker, does it?
In this guide, we answer that very question! First, we’ll talk about a few of our favorite ways to make coffee on camping trips, then we’ll switch gears to our own experience using the Takeya cold brew maker followed by a quick review. By the end, you’ll have a pretty good idea if this coffee maker is the right choice for you.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Click on any of the links below to jump to the desired section!
- First Off: Is Making Good Coffee While Camping Even Possible?
- There Are a Lot of Ways to Make Coffee on a Camping Trip…
- Our Favorite Way to Make Coffee While Camping: Takeya’s Cold Brew Maker
- How Do You Use Takeya’s Cold Brew Maker?
- Camping Gear Guide: Takeya Cold Brew Maker Review
- Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Camping Coffee FAQs
- Our Verdict…
First Off: Is Making Good Coffee While Camping Even Possible? (Duh!)
Before we start talking about our Takeya cold brewer, let’s answer an important question: of course you can make coffee while camping! It might not be the most convenient experience, but convenience isn’t always the point, is it?
Oh, And Yes, We’re Talking About Good Coffee
Let’s establish that we, the Renegade Camping & EDC team, wouldn’t call ourselves coffee snobs. However, we appreciate the difference between a good brew from a local coffee shop and instant coffee from an MRE (are MREs good for camping?).
We like good coffee, and while we’re camping, we try to make something as close to what we’d get at home without overloading our kit with coffee-related gear. In other words, we’re okay with sacrificing the perfect cup to fit our budget, space, and yadda yadda.
There Are a Lot of Ways to Make Coffee on a Camping Trip! Here Are Our Favorites:
A lot of campers love coffee, so naturally, there are a lot of ways to make coffee on camping trips!
We’re not going to cover every single one of those methods—at least for now!—but we are going to mention a few of the more popular camping coffee solutions.
But First, We Need to Explain Why We Prefer Cold Coffee (and Why It Benefits Everyone)
We’re based in Southern California, where cold weather is sort of an abstract concept. Sure, our founder has Mid-Atlantic roots, but even before he moved west, he was sipping Dunkin’ Iced Coffees during blizzards. Our point: we prefer cold coffee.
Of course, there are practical reasons to “prefer cold coffee,” too. Most obviously, it’s easy to warm up cold brew but very difficult to cool hot coffee without diluting it with a bunch of ice.
Our Original Go-To: A Camping French Press
Before we started using our Takeya cold brew maker for camping, we used a mini French Press because it was cost-effective, compact, and made good coffee. Ultimately, the convenience of the cold brewer and our preference for cold coffee encouraged us to make the switch.
How Do You Use a French Press for Camping?
To use a traditional French press, place the coffee grounds at the bottom of the carafe and then slowly pour near-boiling water over them in a spiral motion. After a few minutes of brewing, simply press the rod down to separate the coffee from its grounds—and that’s pretty much it.
Most camping French presses function the same way, but there are also versions where you can boil the water directly in the press so you don’t need to pack a separate kettle. As far as hot coffee goes, this is still our preferred method, but it’s not always as practical as the next option…
Instant Coffee Isn’t a Bad Option (But It Does Produce Less Waste)
Taste-wise, instant coffee is…well, let’s say it’s controversial. Waste-wise, there’s no better type of coffee for camping.
We’re not that picky though, so instant coffee tends to be our go-to option when we’re not able to bring more gear, like our Takeya cold brew maker. The big problem with instant coffee is that it has a reputation for tasting, well, not as good as regular coffee. We’ll admit that it does tend to have a weird bite to it, but it’s also better than no coffee.
Oh, and we go for cans or jars of instant coffee instead of single-serving packets, which generate a lot more waste.
As for options, we haven’t tried Starbucks instant coffee options but the word around the camping community is that they’re not that bad.
Single-Serving Pour-Overs Are Good (With Drawbacks)
If you want “real” coffee in a manageable fashion, single-serving pour-over coffee isn’t a bad choice. They’re essentially tea bags, but with coffee. Duh.
The appeal is that they’re easy to use, taste good, and a box of them is easier to pack than a French press or any other coffee-brewing thing (plus coffee grounds).
There are a couple drawbacks to this method too, though: 1) the cost-per-serving ratio is much higher than instant or regular ground coffee, and 2) they create a lot of waste (e.g., packaging and wet coffee bags).
The One We Haven’t Tried (Yet): An AeroPress Go
During our research, we found a lot of campers like to use an AeroPress to make coffee. We haven’t tried one out yet so we’ll reserve judgment for now. Although the idea of having to buy new filters isn’t exactly appetizing, the idea is interesting at least.
An AeroPress sort of functions like a French press, except you can use it to make cold or hot coffee. The company even makes a camping-specific version, the AeroPress Go, which costs about $40 and doubles as a mug.
Sidenote: If you happen to try an AeroPress out before we do, let us know your thoughts and we’ll include them in a future article (with credit)!
Our Favorite Way to Make Coffee While Camping: Takeya’s Cold Brew Maker
And we’re here! The Takeya cold brew maker is our favorite camping coffee maker for a few reasons (and we’ll get to them all). But first, let’s explain what it is.
The Takeya cold brewer is super simple. You have a jug, a reusable filter (that holds the coffee grounds during the brewing process), a handle, and a lid. Using it is as simple as loading the grounds, filling the jug with cold/room-temperature water, and then waiting at least 12 hours for it to brew.
Our First Camping Trip With the Takeya
Ironically, we had a Takeya brewer for years before we decided to take one on a Carrizo Plain camping trip. We brewed our first batch the night before the trip began, dumped the grounds the next morning (at home), and then loaded the brewer in our cooler.
The first batch of coffee lasted the entire trip (we only stayed 2 nights), but even if it hadn’t, a second batch would’ve been easy to make and stow again.
The Takeya Cold Brew Maker Comes in Two Sizes (And Both Are Good for Camping)
The Takeya cold brew maker comes in two sizes (1-qt and 2-qt) as well as three colors (black, white, and “stone”).
We prefer the smaller option for camping because it still makes 3–6 servings (or more, depending on how strong you like your coffee), and it doesn’t take up much space in a cooler.
How Do You Use Takeya’s Cold Brew Maker? (It’s Pretty Easy!)
Using the Takeya cold brew maker is straightforward, but here’s a quick guide!
1) Add Coffee Grounds
The first step is to add grounds directly to the filter insert. Takeya recommends adding 12–14 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the filter per batch, depending on how strong you like your coffee. However, we’ve found that the brand and type of coffee can impact the amount too, so, like any coffee brewing doohickey, you may have to play around with the formula a bit.
One of the best things about the Takeya cold brew maker is that it’s versatile. There’s enough space to make a concentrate, which can really stretch a batch (super helpful for camping), or you can even make a half-batch if you prefer (just make sure to shake the grounds well).
Pro tip: coarse coffee grounds are ideal for cold brewing because water can more easily saturate all the grounds. However, you can still use fine coffee grounds with the brewer, just make sure you shake the brewer well.
2) Add Water
Once the grounds are set, you just need to fill the container with cold or room-temperature water. In either case, we recommend slowly pouring water directly over the coffee grounds until the container is full. And again, once you fill the container, we recommend shaking the whole brewer to allow the water to evenly saturate all the coffee grounds.
As for the temperature: cold water will give you a smoother, less acidic coffee but if your access to cold water is limited while camping, room temperature water works too! The taste will be closer to traditional coffee, but if you’re not picky, you may not even notice a difference.
3) Keep Cold for 12–24 Hours (Ideally, Before a Trip)
Once you’ve added water to the grounds, all you have to do is wait. How long? Well, it depends on you, but we recommend starting at 12 hours and then adjusting accordingly. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the filter insert once you’re happy with the taste.
Obviously, this is a long time to wait for coffee, so ideally you want to start the process the night before. But once it’s done brewing, it’ll stay fresh for up to 2 weeks so long as it’s kept cold.
4) Serve Cold or Hot
We’ve touched on this before, but one of the best things about cold brew is that you can serve it hot or cold.
When we used the Takeya cold brew maker for our Carrizo Plain trip, some of our group warmed their coffee up on their camp stove and others drank it cold. Everyone got what they wanted, no problem (BTW, if you’re looking for a good coffee cup for camping, check out our Hydro Flask vs. YETI Rambler comparison!).
Camping Gear Guide: Takeya Cold Brew Maker Review
Now that we’ve covered how to use the Takeya cold brew coffee maker, let’s talk about how effective it is as a camping coffee solution.
For our review, we’re focusing on the 1-qt option.
Our First Impression: It’s Simple and Easy to Use
The best thing about the Takeya cold brewer is that it’s easy to use, clean, store, and so on. There aren’t any moving parts and it doesn’t need heat or electricity to function. Moreover, it feels well-built and none of the parts are cheaply made.
Yield: It Makes a Good Amount of Coffee (Especially for 1–2 People)
Unless you have more than 5 or 6 people in your group, there’s enough capacity for each person to have at least one cup of coffee the next morning.
Alternatively, it’s enough coffee for one person for 1–2 days, you know, depending on how severe your coffee addiction is (ours is bad).
Build Quality: The Tayeka Cold Brew Maker Is Durable Enough
Takeya doesn’t advertise the cold brewer as a camping solution, but it’s fairly durable. We’ve dropped ours a few times without issue; although, we wouldn’t say it’s built for ruggedness either.
For the price, it’s a solid piece that—almost four years later—still works without issue.
The Takeya Is Easy to Clean
Cleaning the Takeya is simple. All the parts are top-rack dishwasher safe (ours has survived countless cycles) or you can hand-wash them as you would any other dish.
One thing to note, it can be a pain to clean the filter in the field (without running water), but we’ve always managed without too much of a hassle.
It Makes Good Coffee (and It’s Easy to Adjust the Taste)
Again, we’re not coffee snobs but we do appreciate good coffee. And like any other coffee maker, the Takeya cold brewer’s performance depends on the type of coffee you buy. The brewer doesn’t magically make crappy coffee taste good or vice versa.
Generally speaking, we like the taste of the coffee the Takeya brewer makes.
Our Favorite Feature: It’s Inexpensive!
The 1-qt version generally goes for a little less than $30 on Amazon and similar retailers. We’ve also found that the 2-qt version tends to be the same price or cheaper (we suspect it’s less popular).
Considering ours is nearly 4 years old and we’ve used it almost every day since, that’s not a bad deal at all.
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Camping Coffee FAQs
Before we wrap up, here are a few answers to Takeya cold brew maker FAQs.
How Long Does Cold Brew Last in a Takeya Cold Brew Maker?
We drink a lot of coffee, so ours never lasts more than a few days. However, Takeya says that coffee will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
For camping, we’ll say that the coffee will stay fresh so long as your cooler stays cold. After that, we wouldn’t trust it after the first day or so.
Can You Use Regular Coffee Grounds to Make Cold Brew?
Of course! You don’t need cold-brew-specific grounds to make cold brew. Any type of coffee grounds will work; however, coarse grounds tend to produce the best results.
What Is Cowboy Coffee?
Cowboy coffee is basically French press coffee without the “press,” so there’s nothing to separate the grounds from the brewed coffee. In other words, it’s gritty and strong.
Sidenote: if you want to learn about bad camping hacks, check out the link!
Is There a Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee?
Yes, iced coffee is just hot coffee with, what else, ice. Coffee shops tend to brew this coffee stronger so that the flavors aren’t diluted when the ice is added.
On the other hand, cold brew uses cold water to slowly extract the flavor from the coffee grounds. If made properly, cold brew is much smoother and tends to be less acidic than iced coffee.
Is Cold Brew Stronger Than Regular Coffee?
A quick search on Google will tell you that cold brew is generally stronger than regular coffee, but it really depends on how much coffee you add and how long you let it brew.
Does the Takeya Cold Brew Maker Leak?
We have two Takeya cold brew makers and neither leak.
During our research, we found a couple instances of people complaining about this issue, but it doesn’t appear to be widespread.
Our Verdict: The Takeya Cold Brew Maker Is a Solid Solution for Casual Camping…
As far as casual camping coffee solutions go, the Takeya cold brew maker is great, especially if you prefer cold coffees. Moreover, it’s affordable, easy to use, and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space.
That said, we’ll admit that the Takeya brewer isn’t perfect. You’ll still have to deal with old coffee grounds (true for any coffee maker) and if you prefer hot coffee, you’ll need something to warm the coffee up.
These flaws are highly subjective, though. Waste disposal is a necessary part of camping (ahem, leave no trace) and it’s not like coffee grounds weigh a ton or take up a lot of space. Plus, just about any camping kit is going to include something that can heat up coffee.
…But It’s Probably Not Ideal for Backpackers
If you’re the type of camper that likes to maximize every bit of space, either because it’s fun or out of necessity, there are more practical solutions, like instant coffee, than the Takeya cold brew maker.
Overall, the Takeya cold brew maker is a solid addition to most (and especially casual) camping kits! It does its job well, and for a reasonable price. Beyond that, there’s not much else to say!
If you try one out, be sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media! And while you’re at it, give us a like, retweet, share—you get the idea. Cheers!
The operators of Renegade Camping may receive a commission for purchases made through links on our site. But that doesn’t mean we’re shilling random crap! We thoroughly research and/or own all the products we review on our website. We want to build unshakeable trust with our readers, and that means offering honest, transparent reviews and guides. Cheers!– The Renegade Camping & EDC team
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