Every caffeine-addicted nature enthusiast faces the same conundrum: how do I make coffee when I’m camping? Inventor and entrepreneur Tim Johnson has the answer you Patagonia-clad coffee drinkers are looking for: the Sili-Dripper.
Full confession: even though I grew up on the Mogollon Rim in Northern Arizona, I’m not much of a camper. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the great outdoors as much as anyone. I just like to wake up in my own bed and immediately hop in a hot shower. That said, I have camped before and I was rather dissatisfied with the French press coffee we drank by the camp fire. So when Tim sent me a Sili-Dripper, I was more than excited to put it to the test.
The Sili-dripper is a collapsable coffee dripper made from silicone. Weighing in at only 80 grams, the Sili-dripper is by far the lightest coffee brew method we’ve encountered. When collapsed, the dripper could easily fit into a pocket or snap into a carabiner. In short, if space is an issue, the Sili-dripper is your huckleberry.
Put to the Test
But how does the coffee taste? The problem with traveling with a pour-over device is the arsenal of brewing equipment that accompanies it. We certainly wouldn’t recommend using a Hario V60 without a good gooseneck kettle. Recognizing that camping with a gooseneck kettle is neither practical nor desirable, I wanted to see how the the Sili-Dripper would handle an aggressive pour from a simple pot.
The Sili-Dripper can use a variety of coffee filters, but a Melitta #1 seems to fit best. It’s not a perfect fit, however, and the OCD amongst us will likely be annoyed by the ways the filter bunches up in places.
Like a Kalita Wave, the Sili-Dripper has a flat bottom with several holes to control the flow rate. Knowing that I would not be able to control the pour, I ground the coffee a touch finer than I normally would to restrict the flow. I used my go-to recipe for a single cup of coffee: 20 grams of coffee and 300 ml. of water.
I was pleased to discover the strategy worked. The brew took about 3 minutes, which is just about perfect for a 300 ml. brew. I was more than a little surprised to see how level the bed of coffee was after brewing. The result was a pleasant and enjoyable cup of coffee comparable to other pour over devices. I enjoyed this cup of coffee on my back porch- but I can only imagine how much better it would have tasted by a campfire.
Avid campers, jet-setting businessmen, or anyone who travels will love the Sili-Dripper. I doubt the device will replace my Hario V60 around the house, but the Sili-Dripper is by far the most practical pour-over device we’ve found for brewing coffee on the road.