I don’t know about you, but I cannot be without my coffee in the morning. Its not that I can’t wake up without it, I can, but it is just so comforting and good!
Here are the “fixin’s” quite literally sitting on a mountain road where I brewed my morning cup.
Here’s the story: A couple of weeks ago, I came home after dark and decided I wanted to go up in the mountains. So, I loaded up camera bag, sleeping bag, air mattress, snacks, pillow, and what you see here and headed up into the mountains for about 45 mins. A suitable wide spot was found in the road, the tailgate let down, mattress and sleeping bag unrolled, pillow fluffed, and I lay gazing at the stars. I kept thinking, “Man! I gotta get a picture of those stars!” Then I would tell myself why I should just lay there and look at them (…”just look at them” – To my friends in Texas :-)) The argument didn’t last long, I was out.
The next morning (?), it started to get light about 3:45 am so I lay there about 10 minutes and then got up to make COFFEE! (which is what this post is about). I wanted to share with you how EASY it was.
Beside the kettle or pot, you first need this. It is called a ‘backpacker’s stove’ or ‘Appalachian stove’, and possibly other names. It doesn’t matter what you call it you will discover it is simply AMAZING! Would you believe me if I told you that what you are looking at will boil water in a pot? It is made from two ingredients very easily. Pop cans and fiberglass insulation. That’s it! There are tutorials on YouTube I hear, have never seen them, on how to make it. You cut off the bottom of two pop cans, insert an equal size of fiberglass insulation between the two and press them together. I sanded the joint to take away any ‘burrs’. Next drill holes in the sides like a gas burner on your stove at home. I thought the fewer the better, but I realized that less is not better. There is a balance, but you need more and slightly bigger holes than you would think for gas/flames. You then have the option of a larger hole in the middle or several smaller holes as you see here. This is where you fuel this baby up!
That’s right HEET. A bottle of this will go a LONG way! It only take a couple of ounces to boil water. Simply pour it into the concave of the stove and let it drain into the ‘fill’ holes. The fiberglass began to absorb it so that it will ‘wick’ later when you light it rather than an extra large ‘poof no eyebrows’ scenario. As you can see there is a dime (I like a penny better) in the center. This is necessary. Sounds strange I know, but in spite of continual experimentation you have to have it.
Now to light it. I tried to get pictures of the awesome flames, but it was too bright out. Maybe later. Once you have filled up the stove twice, cover the fill hole with the coin; this is a MUST. Next, you need to dribble a little bit of HEET around the perimeter of the stove and down the side. The stove has to come to ‘temp’ before it will sustain a flame and heat and external flame wick out the fumes. Next simply light the HEET that you dribbled down near the base. Instantly, you’ll get a nice blue ball of fire (small, don’t worry). After several seconds you’ll start to see the ‘burner’ start to work as fingers of flame began to pop out of the holes and work their way around until you finally have your stove going full blast.
Yeah! You’re cooking with HEET now! Put your kettle of water on the burner, balancing to make sure it stays and sit back, relax, and wait.
You can see the steam accumulating on the side of my whistler, confirming it is heating up (I love my whistler). It will whistle, but you have to have good ears.
I prefer Starbucks VIA because it is consistent with brewed coffee and it is small, individual, and very packable. (While Starbucks didn’t pay for this advertisement, it can be supposed that it is such, I love the tinge of bitterness in the cup.)
After several minutes you are ready to pour away and enjoy!
If you use your imagination you can just see the steam rising from this cup! Actually, it was, but I couldn’t get it. Drat!
I know there are high dollar stoves that probably could melt mine, but I don’t care…I made this one and I like it. 🙂 Also, it is literally so light you don’t even know you have it! You can carry it in your pocket and hike up in the mountains with it. (Make sure the flames are out first…)
All you need to make this is three pop cans (two empty without any crinkles or blemishes and one full), a dictionary (or thick book, my book, The Two Schillings will work – its nice and thick), a sharp razor blade.
- Step #1: Lay the book on the counter top and find a page of adequate ‘height’ for your stove.
- Step #2: Insert razor blade with point pointing outward, close the book and press down hard on the book’s cover.
- Step #3: Taking the pop can, put your hand, with fingers pointing down, around the top, began to slowly turn it, turn it, turn it, easing it up to the razor blade. This first mark is important to get consistent as the blade will try to follow it later. Make it light and consistent. Do not tilt the can at all or it will ‘walk’.
- Step #4: Continue to turn ‘scratching’ the can over and over again, until it starts to break through. Do not press down on the can too hard or as the sidewall began to weaken it will crumple downward and you’ll have to start over with a new one. Do NOT get in a hurry. (I made that mistake). Take your time.
- Step #5: This is the most critical of the cutting process. Once the blade breaks through you will be tempted to try and simply slice it all the way through around the perimeter. Resist the urge and continue to spin gentle until the whole thing is broken through or very, very close. Only at this point can you make the final cut and spin it one last time.
- Step #6: Not moving the razor blade, repeat steps #3 – #5. Now you have two identical pieces.
- Step #7: Take a 3rd FULL can and began to press it into the base of ONLY one (1) piece, widening it out. You will have to ‘wallow’ it around a little until the sides are spread enough.
- Step #8: Take your piece of fiberglass insulation and put it into the smaller (2nd – not widened piece.)
- Step #9: Take the widened piece (1st) and fit it over the bottom (2nd piece) with the insulation in it. It is an amazing tight fit. You may have to spin it slightly to get it even while putting it on. Sometimes you have to take it off and widen it more with the 3rd can. Once you got it started it will become tighter, you want that. Now, press it together firmly with your palms until they are fully seated.
- Step #10: Now drill your holes like you see in the picture. I started with a 1/16″ drill bit, but you can experiment.
That’s it! Your are ready to roll. Time to brew some Mountain Coffee!!!!!!
I hope you have enjoyed this post and will have the fun of making and using your own. I am sure that you can easily search for it on YouTube or somewhere else for a tutorial.