How to Brew Coffee on a Beach


If you find yourself in the unusual and incredibly delightful position of waking up in an apartment with an ocean view and eager to brew your morning cup indoors, catch your yet-to-be-caffeinated and bleary-eyed self before you get brewing and consider your options. Instead of looking longingly out the window toward the glistening turquoise waters between your perfectly-timed gooseneck pours, why not pack up your brew kit, put the leash on your dog (if applicable), and move your morning coffee ritual out the door, down the elevator, across the property and directly onto the shoreline? 


What a great idea!


To make this kind of seaside brew possible you will need your standard pour over setup (I am assuming you already know how to brew coffee in your kitchen), pre-ground coffee, your favorite cup to drink out of, a cardboard box for portability, access to a beachside outdoor outlet, your camera, a witness (the dog), and, most importantly, a sense of adventure. 




First things first—on your way to the beach plug in and turn on your kettle. Next, kick off your shoes and find a safe spot on the sand to set up your pour over station. Far enough from the water, yet close enough to make the journey worth it. Once you have secured a comfortably distant spot affix your dog's leash to the chaise lounge, strap on your camera, and return to the mainland to retrieve your heated kettle—all while mentally preparing yourself for the brew ahead.


Remember: as soon as you lift that kettle off the base, the water begins losing heat and the brew clock starts ticking.




Pick up your heated kettle and return swiftly to the beach with a sense of urgency and determination. Once you get back to your cautiously-positioned set up you will instantaneously be plagued with doubt. You will begin to question your initial decision to pick a safe spot on the beach: "Why are you being so cautious? How many times in your life do you get to brew coffee on a beach? You made all this effort, don't be such a chicken? The photos are going to look a heck of a lot better if you get closer to the water." These rapid-fire thoughts coupled with the ticking time bomb of a cooling kettle, will compel you to make an impulsive and frenzied re-location of your brew as close as possible to the shoreline. 


Phew. Now you are settled and ready to begin.





As you know, when brewing coffee there are many variables to take into consideration—coffee to water ratio, grind size, brew time, flow rate, agitation, for example. However, even before your first beach pour you will immediately recognize an unanticipated and entirely unpredictable brew variable: wind. A gust of wind can easily eliminate your paper filter, reduce the number of grounds in your brew bed, influence the direction of your pour, and even contribute unwelcome inputs like dried seaweed, ocean spray or sand.


It's going to be a little trickier than you thought to get this going. 




By the time your second pour comes around you will be both exhilarated and relived that you paper filter and most of your coffee grounds managed to stay intact. With a fresh confidence about your beach side brew you will have the opportunity to turn some of your attention to your camera's view finder—so far the photos are looking great! You can go ahead and pat yourself on the back for taking the risk of moving closer to the water. It was obviously the right thing to do. 




Sometime around your third pour and just when your confidence is at an all-time high a larger than normal wave will suddenly lap up against the shore and rapidly approach your pour over. You will be thrilled by the incoming water—it will look great in the periphery of your photos!—until you realize it's not stopping short of your set up. In fact, the water is rushing so quickly towards your carafe you don't have time to move it. You jump back saving yourself from impact and leave your poor pour over to fend for itself all while capturing footage of its demise.


May day! May day! 






The good news is: once the ocean recedes all of your coffee gear remains on the beach. The bad news is: your scale is no longer displaying numbers. it is completely lifeless and non-responsive to your tender touch. Alas, there is no time for mourning a loss now. You remember being roughly one minute and thirty seconds and about 250  grams into your brew before your scale gave out. You've made it this far. The brew must go on. 




At this point you must continue to pour with vigor in honor of your scale sacrificing its life to the ocean gods. After four years of showing up every morning and devoting itself to monitoring the weight of your coffee grounds and water this brew will be its last.


It better be a good one.




Now is the time you will suddenly realize you neglected to notice a critical detail before you set out on this whole brewing extravaganza: your glass carafe actually comes with a water weight approximation decal. You could have made this work. You didn't even need to bring your scale to this silly beach party. 


Too little, too late. 




As the last of the water drips through your grounds for a regretfully undocumented and likely imprecise amount of time, you realize there is a silver lining to this circumstance...


C O F F E E !


Now is the time to pour your brew into your favorite portable cup and get ready to make a toast in celebration of what you have just accomplished. 




Oh, but the scale! 




And finally, you are presented with the opportunity to think deeply about what has happened, reflect on your life up until this point, and inscribe meaningful words from your heart into the sand using your fingertips... 


Make it count.



In case you are wondering how to brew coffee on an airplane, check this out!