Coffee On Board Your Boat

posted in: Preparing to Go Cruising | 2

Coffee is a critical necessity for many of us as we sail around. There is nothing, simply nothing, better than sipping a cup of coffee while you sit in the cockpit and survey the anchorage. Early morning, of course. So quiet, so peaceful.

On a boat , making the coffee becomes a new challenge. I certainly can’t indulge in a Keurig coffee maker on the boat ( yes, I use one at home) – takes up too much space and where would one store all of those little k-cups?? True sailing/coffee diehards will insist on using a percolator. I tried that. I do not like timing the perc and then cleaning it all out. I tried a French press, another method that many testify is the absolute best. Didn’t like that either.

16 years ago, I gave up and went to an electric drip coffee pot on board.  How does one do that without electricity? We do have electricity through our inverter. And coffee is the primary reason we use the invertor. We joked that the first cup of coffee cost about $700, the cost of that first invertor on our Catalina 34.  Over time, each cup of coffee cost less, except for the amp hours used by the drip pot – 25. For our land family and friends, this may mean nothing. For our boating friends, you know that this eats into your battery, especially when you also account for the freezer and refrigerator. With our solar panels we have always managed just fine.  🙂

Fast forward to now and our plans to cruise and live aboard for 10 months. I am now looking at our power usage with new eyes. Our friends, Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class, told us about a glass drip coffee pot – Chemex. Really? Is that coffee or some scientifically engineered drink? I researched it and decided to give it a try. The cost was reasonable enough to invest in this method. The Chemex is really just a non-electric drip method, but designed by a chemist (oh yeah – there’s the science part) for the “best” coffee flavor.  What appealed to me is how attractively designed this pot is.  It is really quite nice looking with the glass, wooden and leather handle. I tried it this morning. The coffee tasted very good!! Not at all bitter, just as they said. I think that keeping it hot will be an issue, so I poured the coffee into a thermos. Our Chemex makes 6 cups, 5 ounce size. I thought that was the most reasonable compromise for size and cups. That will mean we each get to have two cups.

The pot -Pouring the water over the coffee  -Allowing the grounds to "bloom" - Ready to drink!
The pot
-Pouring the water over the coffee
-Allowing the grounds to “bloom”
-Ready to drink!

One final question – our cooking fuel is CNG (compressed natural gas), not propane like most boats. (Quick lesson – CNG is safer than propane, but harder to find and does not get quite as hot.) Boiling water on the stovetop will use CNG, using the drip pot will use amps.  Which will be more precious on a long trip????

"Custom" cover for the Chemex :-)
“Custom” cover for the Chemex

UPDATE on the coffee making — A glass pot on a boat seemed a bit risky; I guess that might be obvious. I made a padded cover for it out of a dish drying pad. I can now store in a cupboard without worrying that it will roll or tip over and break.

There is a reason for the title of this post, “Coffee onboard your boat.” If you spend time in Salt Pond at Block Island, you know all about Aldo and his boat-to-boat service. For 40 years, he has cruised around the Salt Pond bringing baked goods, fruit, hot coffee, and warm breakfast sandwiches right to the boats. And for years and years, I have insisted that he cries out, “Cofffffeeeeee onboooarrrrrd  your booaaat…..” My dear friend, LeeAnn, has gently corrected me over and over again, informing me that he is not yelling “Coffee onboard your boat”. He is calling out “Andiamo…..Andiamoooooo”  In Italian, that means “Let’s go!” My ears do not hear that, no matter how hard I try. All I hear is “Coffee onboard your boat!

Aldo's boat, Andiamo
Aldo’s boat, Andiamo

And here is me, delivering my hot cinnamon buns to a friend’s boat, calling out, “Coffee onboard your boat.” So there!

MY boat, calling out "Coffffeee onboooard your booooat"
MY boat, calling out “Coffffeee onboooard your booooat”

2 Responses

  1. Jim Ingalls

    This sounds like the way to go. (as long as you REALLY think it tastes OK) !

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