The Perfect Cup of Coffee

5006001t_v1_m56577569831004650Salt Spring Islanders, of which I am one are coffee fanatics. How could we not with a coffee shop on every corner and not one of them is a Starbucks. Of that, I would say speaking loosely on behalf of my fellow islanders is a good thing.  I have switched loyalties in the past year to a new local coffee roaster who by chance is virtually a life-long friend that I have known since grade 4. He is CEO and head roaster of Mt. Maxwell Roasters and I was the test guinea pig for his new espresso blend. I was excited as it was going to be my caffeine treat for my Round Salt Spring Island paddle trip.

The first day was to be the longest of the three days I had allowed paddling to complete the circumnavigation. From the quiet still waters of Burgoyne Bay I would paddle southward through the narrows, riding the ebb tide surge that would push me beyond the bottom of the island and around to my first night’s camp on Prevost Island, literally straight across the waistline of Salt Spring from where I put in.

Though the tide was in my favour, there came a north wind that was to be my nemesis for the last couple of hours on the water. I arrived at James Bay on Prevost Island mid-afternoon, and ready for a stretch. With every rose (ebbing tide in my favour) comes a thorn or two (arriving at Prevost at low tide). Mud, sandal sucking mud which pulled on my kayak making it hard to move to the easier firmer muck nearer the beach. Time on my side and a lovely sunny afternoon made hauling boat and gear out of the mud easier to put up with, even more so because once the camp chores were done, I could make a brew.

Tent up, kitchen set, kayak secured above the high tide line and a sweet heritage apple tree orchard all to myself in the so-called off-season. It was as though I was sitting pretty on my own private island, and the only humans around were on a small sailboat moored in the bay with whom I waved to from time to time.

I changed into camp clothing and was warm, dry and rested and ready, oh so ready for a mug of coffee. I pulled out the espresso maker, my bag of fresh ground Mt. Maxwell Espresso and feeling overly proud of my first solo day on the water I took out my camera and snapped a picture just as the stove tipped and tossed hot espresso into the dirt. The horror, the horror!

I let things cool off and made a fresh brew and it was delicious and satisfying as I sipped while sitting in the elbow branch of an Arbutus Tree.

Of course, the GSI Espresso Maker I own is not just used in camp. I often use it at home on the stove top to whip a quick brew. It is portable, handy and very easy to use and even better, easy to clean up later.

I give it the Kayak Rogue Gear five stars as a piece of kayak camping kit you should not leave home without. Just remember to find a flatter spot for your single-burner camp stove. Oh the tragedy of it all.

Available at outdoor retailers such as MEC and ranging in price from $35-$50 depending on your desire for a single shot, or double shot maker.

GSI Stainless Steel Espresso Maker

■Made of stainless steel.
■Rugged, easy to use, and easy to clean.
■Base fits securely on most camp stoves.
■Body top un-screws for filling, emptying, and cleaning.
■Available in a four-shot or one-shot version.

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