Blog by: Breanna Wilson
Traveling in Mongolia is not easy. You’re always battling something. The weather. The wind. The dirt road. The lack of running water, electricity, and the nothingness all around you. It’s what scares most people away. But that’s exactly what has drawn me here. And why I now call the country home.
While most people find the remoteness terrifying, I find it thrilling. Landscapes that change from deserts to lush green mountains and back to flat steppe never get old. Pair that with a basic lack of infrastructure and cellular data and you have a place lost in time. And where freedom is the currency of the steppe.
But, while I’m all about that off-grid life, I am not all about that off-caffeine life. I need my morning cup. And my afternoon espresso. And my occasional evening pick-me-up. (Espresso martinis, anyone?)
Especially when I’m exploring sunrises, driving through picturesque canyons, and taking one of my girlfriends on her first big car camping adventure to Mongolia’s famous Flaming Cliffs.
The Flaming Cliffs are an essential stop on any road trip in this part of the world. But not always an easy one. It takes almost 10 hours by car to reach them from the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where I live. After four years of calling Mongolia home, it was finally time I saw this natural wonder for myself. No matter what it took to get there.
While we stopped at other places along our journey, this was the place that stood out to me most. Bright and early 4:30 am wakeup and all. Something I was actually looking forward to as I watched the sunset through our rooftop tent’s awning as I laid comfy and exhausted from a day’s worth of driving in my sleeping bag.
Rising with the sun after a night of camping below the cliffs, excitement for the hues ahead could only fuel us so much. Coffee was necessary to fuel the rest.
Like everyone else who sees me brew with my Wacaco brewers for the first time, my friend was amazed when I pulled out my Cuppamoka and Nanopresso and started brewing. She may have been new to car camping, but she already knew the cardinal rule, the more dishes you dirty, the more you have to clean. Which is exactly what makes these Wacaco brewers so perfect for travel.
After brewing, and with my Cuppamoka mug filled with a fresh brewed pour-over in hand, it was time to hike up the cliffs from our campsite to the best sunrise spot we could find.
Fast forward to nearly 6 am, sipping my way through my first cup of pour-over of the morning, I was rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever experienced. Not only are the Flaming Cliffs one of the most incredible natural wonders in the world, they’re also one of the most important. Exactly 100 years ago the first dinosaur eggs were discovered at this very site.
This is also why I only travel with my Wacaco coffee brewers and why I always pack out my grounds, no matter where I am. Wacaco brewers create less waste, they are more efficient as I’m only brewing one cup (and shot), and I don’t have to worry about transporting or forcing myself to drink any unfinished brews. Which also means, Wacaco brewers require less water for cleaning. All those things mean I can be a better camper at sites like this. Sites that I hope everyone will experience for themselves one day.
Thinking about all those things as I watched the sun light up the cliffs in the most magnificent reds and oranges, I couldn’t help but be thankful to share such a memorable experience with a friend who I could see in this very moment understand why I love this type of traveling. And how important it is to have all the right tools to do it – single mug brewer and all.
After a few hours of taking in the views and appreciating the fact that we had this area all to ourselves, it was time to head back down to our camp spot, brew up an espresso for packing motivation, and continue our journey deeper into the vastness and diversity of the Gobi Desert.
Once the car was packed and my espresso was extracted, I took a few extra seconds for myself to appreciate these last few moments before setting off, once again fueled by Wacaco.
A Few Car Camping Brewing Tips to Sip On
The Cuppamoka’s shape is perfect for any car cupholder. Plus, it’s ability to keep brews hot for hours means that I don’t have to rush to finish my cup and can sip on it throughout my entire journey. This also saves me money as I’m not desperately stopping at every café spending money on overpriced cups of coffee.
The Cuppamoka and Nanopresso take two different grind sizes – either bring your beans whole and hand grind them on the spot for maximum freshness or be sure to pack your grounds ahead of time in airtight containers.
Keep your beans or grounds out of the sunlight and stored in a cool, dry place throughout your trip to keep them fresh.
Give your coffee gear a designated “home” at the beginning of your trip so you can easily access and find everything you need when it’s time to brew.
Pack out your used grounds when you’re in a protected area like the Flaming Cliffs. Not only are these environments delicate – there are dinosaur bones waiting to be discovered in this area! Preserving this ecosystem is extremely important for future researchers and archeologists.