Coffee is the nectar of the gods. It’s the distilled essence of Kipling, of cigarette smoke after a hump outside the wire, of good Scotch, a soft woman and your dog grinning at you when you pick up his leash; bitter or sweet, bold or mellow black or brown, in a mug or a canteen cup, doesn’t matter. Except over ice – then you just deserve a beating, WTF are you thinking? We love coffee with a fierce and terrible love, as you might be able to tell – that’s why we were happy to learn Mad Duo Nate was checking out Nature’s Coffee Kettle. Read his thoughts below. The Mad Duo
Nature’s Coffee Kettle
Walking through an outdoor gear retailer, an interesting product caught my eye. “Nature’s Coffee Kettle”, a new means of making coffee in the field. The mylar bag featured a pour spout, promised 100% Columbian beans and four bold cups by simply adding hot water. I figured I would give it a try, and see if it’s worth the effort. The system seemed pretty straight forward and simple, so why not?
Bear in mind that the Mad Duo and their minions have brewed and drank coffee just about everywhere, from the cities of North America and Europe to little villages in Africa. In South American jungles and on Afghan mountain tops and of course many Iraqi wadis. They’ve sipped coffee in the cafes of Rome and Paris as well as in the middle of barren, windy deserts. We love a great cup of Joe, and will still reluctantly drink a bad cup of Army coffee. It’s not that we are coffee snobs; it’s more that we appreciate taste and quality. Caffeine, nicotine, and hate power us through the day. At the very least we rely on a minimum of two of those three to get the job done. Of course then the booze flows like a waterfall after we secure from our duties.
The coffee from Nature’s Coffee Kettle comes in a bag, into which you pour boiling hot water. The water drips through a coffee bag, much like your drip filter set up at home. After it brews for a while, you open the nozzle and pour a hot cup into a canteen cup or mug. Easy enough. The bag only weighs 1.2 oz, so it’s not going to break your back hauling a bunch. Ounces equal pounds, and pounds equal pain. But going without Java equals pain for everyone around us, so it’s important we have enough for any evolution.
A few of us were out in the field a short time after I picked up the coffee, so we fired up the stove and boiled the water to get the day started. After about five mikes, the water was at a rolling boil and it was time to brew. Pouring the water slowly into the top of the zip-lock type closure bag, the small coffee bag compartment over filled quickly and ran over the side. Slim burned his trigger pullers and stripper-bangers, but held fast. We poured the coffee in even slower, but Slim had to pinch the walls of the bag to keep the compartment open, resulting in more burns and laughter.
“Damn it Dick! Pour slower!”
Probably the first time he ever heard that.
After filling the bag, Hondo inverted the bag so it could brew through again. We did this about five times. Slim commented that it reminded him of when we use to make “Iraq Espresso”, which was when we would brew a pot of coffee and pour the pot back into the water reservoir to brew again. It came out like mud, tasted like hell, and was great at keeping us awake. After waiting the appropriate amount of time, it was time to have a taste. As a self-proclaimed Field Barista and acknowledged coffee snob, I was selected for the taste test.
“WTF is this nonsense?” said I, after that first sip.
The company says that the price (about $ 6.00 depending where you buy it) is equal to the cost of 4 cups of quality coffee. At $1.50 a cup, that’s about what you will pay at the gas station. The company also instructs to fill the bag, and then invert it so the water flows the through the coffee bag again to acquire a stronger, bolder brew. We like our coffee strong, so we did this. Several times. We were unfortunately very disappointed, me being the MOST so.
That coffee came out as weak as a 5 year olds punch, despite us following the directions exactly and inverting the bag repeatedly. At a $1.50 a cup, it was equal to watery gas station Joe, so we guess the value is matched at the very least. We drank the whole bag, but made some real field brew afterward to get our morning going cyclic. The Natures Coffee Kettle might be fine for some Sierra Club tree huggers and people that prefer light beer, but it wasn’t for us. The taste wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t satisfactory either. The Duo told me it is not Swingin’ Dick Approved.
Oh well, to each their own. You can check out the company’s product line here, and give it a try for yourself. If you do, let us know how you liked it. Maybe your experience will be different.
Mad Duo Nate
About the author: Mad Duo Nate, one of the Mad Duo’s most trusted tactical cognoscenti, is a former Marine turned nasty civilian who enjoys treating hipsters cruelly. He’s an avid outdoorsman and ardent shooter, and he really is our duly designated Field Barista. You can read his punditry here on Breach-Bang-Clear, over on Military.com, in RECOIL magazine and on many burn-shitter walls in Iraq, Africa and other places. Learn more about him here on his author page.