Picture the scene: Blue sky, 28 degrees, sun gently setting over the sea, an empty beach with golden sand and the roar of the Indian Ocean waves crashing on the shore. Perfect time to grab the Mkettle for an evening brew.

But what do you do when your fire starting skills are lacking? (let’s blame it on the wind…) In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how we got creative with objects for the bin to create a beautiful cold brew coffee ready for the morning.

After enjoying the sunset in spite of the lack of coffee, we went back to our shack and scoured around for things that we may use to create the crudest of coffee steeping devices. We weren’t going to bother writing a how-to until we tasted the coffee the next morning. Now we feel that we have to share this.

We have previously enjoyed cold brew coffee in local coffee shops, such as Tamper coffee, Sheffield. So after looking at similar DIY devices online, we got elbows deep in the bin.

Remember that we are backpackers with one 40l bag each, so our equipment is extremely limited. In fact, the only equipment we had was a broken knife and a couple of spare filters for the sea to summit java drip.

Let’s go through this step by step. We encourage you to give this a go at home. It really is rewarding and aside from the coffee that you are using……it’s free! If you do give it a try, send us your photos and we will post them.

up cycle cold brew coffee

step 1.

Step 1. We took a 1 litre water bottle and chopped the bottom off. This would later be inverted in the structure to act as a brew chamber.

We kept the cap of the bottle and put a very small hole through it to allow the coffee to drip through into the bottom container very very slowly. The hole that we made allowed for 10 droplets per minute roughly. If the hole is too big, the coffee will drip too quickly and will result in a weaker brew. Our best advice is to aim for a slow drip – if the end product is too strong, you could always dilute.

Step 2. We took one of the paper filters (no.4 size) that we usually use for our Sea to Summit Java Drip and tore it in half.

Step 2.

Step 2.

We unscrewed the cap from our “brew chamber” and placed the filter over the drinking hole, then doubled the thickness with the other half of the filter. The grind that we were forced to use was quite fine, so we thought it best to double-filter to make sure that our cup was clean. No doubt that this also helped to slow down our drip slightly, allowing the water to steep the flavours from the coffee for a good amount of time.

We then very very gently screwed the cap back on to the bottle, taking very good care to not tear any part of the filter paper as we now have a very limited supply.

Step 3.

Step 3.

Step 3. We took the top cone from a 2.25 litre coke bottle and also sawed off the screw cap just enough so that the screw cap from our “brew chamber” would fit in snug and tight.

This would act as a cradle to support the chamber as it would later be inverted and suspended over our container during the dripping process.

Step 4. We sliced the top off a 2 litre water bottle as this seemed to be an appropriate size for our “cradle” to sit in.

Step 5.

Step 5.

Step 5. Having already secured the “brew chamber” to the “cradle” by inserting the cap into the smaller part of the funnel end, the two parts were inverted and sat neatly into the 2 litre container. We gave it the wobble test to make sure that the construction looked sturdy.

Step 6. Admittedly, we fell flat due to lack of scales, a grinder and decent, fresh beans. We had no option other than to use our pre-ground Kerala coffee that we bought a month ago from a fella’s shop down the winding backstreets of New Delhi’s main bazaar. With this, we had to guess at what a suitable dose might be. I suppose we used a good 8 heaped teaspoons.

If you want to be a little more particular (and I hope that you do) you can find a decent guide on brew ratios at Black Bear Coffee.

If we had more option, we would have also opted for a coarser grind.

Step 7.

Step 7.

We suggest something more in line with a drip coffee maker.

Step 7. We added a good amount of bottled water (not Indian tap water) into our “brew chamber”. Again, this could not be less scientific, but we will allow ourselves to be smug and say that we thought we got it pretty bang on.

Step 8. In the words of Bob Marley, stir it up. we don’t want no clumps. got it? We made sure that all of the grounds were saturated to ensure that they could interact with the water like god intended.

Step 9.

Step 9.

Step 9. Ask a local stray cat to stand guard of your structure while you go about your days business.

We are fortunate to have a fridge in our current digs, so when it finished dripping, we decanted the coffee into glasses to chill.

We thanked ourselves in the morning.

The finished product

The finished product

Tell us your thoughts. Can you offer suitable improvements? have you tried something similar? Have you ever used a plastic bottle for something more awesome?

We want to know. Write us a comment below, follow our instagram (@thevagabondbeans) and find us on Facebook.

Thank you so much for reading. Lots of love,

~The Vagabond Beans~

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