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Campsite coffee: Bellman Espresso and Steamer CX 25L review

Coffee
© Amy Fraser

Coffee-lovers, don’t freak, but back when I lived in the UK I’d be pretty happy with a cup of instant coffee in my tent. I know what you’re thinking … ew. Well, luckily you lot introduced me to the real stuff and well, now I just can’t go back.

That was until we started road tripping around Australia and the daily hunt for a decent cafe began. You’ll know just as well as me that those hunts can sometimes be impossible, especially when you’re camping off-grid (I mean, you literally have no chance). To avoid having to opt for the instant petrol-like stuff, last year we bought ourselves a Bellman Espresso & Steamer CX 25P. Want to know how we’ve found it? Read on to get the low-down.

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Why we chose it 

Campmaster stove and coffee maker
The Bellman Espresso & Steamer CX 25L on a Campmaster stove © Amy Fraser

We wanted something that could produce a rich espresso; a coffee that’s just as good as what we’d get from our local cafe. We also needed something we could take camping and it looked perfect for adventures on (and off) the road – you can even put it on the fire. We don’t really use the milk steamer, but it’s nice to know there is one when we feel like testing our barista skills. Finally, you can make three to nine cups from it – anything from a long black to a flat white – which is pretty cool if you’ve got company.

How does it work?

The Bellman is a stovetop espresso maker so first things first, you’ll need a stove! You will also need ground coffee which you can buy, but I recommend buying beans and grinding them yourself – it’ll put your coffee in a whole new league. Once you’ve got your ground coffee ready, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Add water to the maker (choosing your preferred yield depending on the number of coffees you want to make).
  2. Add the ground coffee to the filter basket (the quantity depends on the strength you’d like and how many brews you’re making) and press the coffee down using the basket reducer.
  3. Put the Bellman on your stove at a high temperature and tighten both the espresso and milk valves.
  4. While it’s on the heat, monitor the temperature gauge. Once it hits green, begin to loosen the espresso valve, allowing the espresso to pour out.
  5. Top tips: If you’re only making one or two coffees, wait until the dial hits the middle of the green section (not the start). I also recommend opening the valve sooner to allow some pressure to be released before you start pouring the espresso. This reduces the chances of any coffee spurting out later!
  6. Once all the coffee has been poured, open both valves to let all of the pressure out. Take off the heat to cool.
  7. Enjoy your coffee or pop the Bellman back on the stove for milk. The temperature gauge will need to be at the top of the green zone for the best results.

Why we rate it 

Filter basket filled with coffee
Filter basket © Amy Fraser
  • It’s easy to transport 
  • Makes a delicious coffee, even at a remote campsite
  • You can make multiple coffees (up to nine)
  • Option to make cafe-style milk 
  • It works on gas, electric, ceramic and most induction cooktops, as well as fire 
  • If you lose a part you can purchase another one easily

How it could be improved

  • It takes a little bit of getting used to brewing 
  • It takes about five minutes (but that’s me being impatient)
  • The espresso can sometimes spurt coffee out. If you use my technique above, you should avoid that!
  • It’s expensive ($349 AUD) 

The verdict

Coffees and the Bellman Espresso & Steamer
Campsite coffees © Amy Fraser

Overall, the Bellman Espresso & Steamer was probably our best purchase last year. We use it all the time, whether at home on a lazy Sunday, camping or cruising around in a camper. I really recommend this to anyone who loves both brews and adventures.

How to purchase

Cost: $349 (however, it is currently on sale for $279)

Where to purchase: Alternative Brewing

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