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Old 11-26-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
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Shopping: Electric vs. Propane

Okay, in general, is it better to get bits and pieces (like coffee makers, espresso makers, teapots, etc.) that make use of propane or electricity? Do you find one to be more efficient of resources than another?
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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Okay, in general, is it better to get bits and pieces (like coffee makers, espresso makers, teapots, etc.) that make use of propane or electricity? Do you find one to be more efficient of resources than another?
I think this is highly dependent on the setup in your rig and how you are planning to use it. For instance, I am buying a propane-powered coffee maker to permanently hook up in my trailer because coffee is a very important part of our camping process and yet we boondock all the time, which would require a lot of electrical power, battery capacity, or a generator, etc. Instead, we can just sip some propane out of our (2) 20# tanks and it will not touch our batteries.

So, what are you planning to do? Looks like you have a new rig if your profile is current, and that means you likely have a decent electrical center. Full hookups common? Are you comfortable with opening a window and vent when you run your propane coffee maker?

You can also do a dual option: Small electric coffee maker for when you have hookups and a stovetop percolator that is placed over a burner when you want to use propane (assuming 08's have propane stoves?).

EDIT: I first wrote "coffee-powered propane maker" which would be awesome. Somebody should work on bringing that to market.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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EDIT: I first wrote "coffee-powered propane maker" which would be awesome. Somebody should work on bringing that to market.
Dude, that would TOTALLY be awesome!

I'll have to see how this pans out in reality, but I suspect it'll be full hookups at least 50% of the time, off grid the other 50%. Caffeine-powered 100% of the time, though. Coffee is not an important part of our camping process, coffee IS a way of life for us, I'm afraid!

Is it inefficient to use the cooktop to use a backpack espresso maker, maybe? I'm trying to keep things as small and light as I can, as there's just not a whole lot of room in a 19' Bambi, but I'm too spoilt rotten to do without my morning espresso.

P.S. Yes, I'm comfy with venting...old backpacker here...
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:07 PM   #4
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Dude, that would TOTALLY be awesome!

I'll have to see how this pans out in reality, but I suspect it'll be full hookups at least 50% of the time, off grid the other 50%. Caffeine-powered 100% of the time, though. Coffee is not an important part of our camping process, coffee IS a way of life for us, I'm afraid!

Is it inefficient to use the cooktop to use a backpack espresso maker, maybe? I'm trying to keep things as small and light as I can, as there's just not a whole lot of room in a 19' Bambi, but I'm too spoilt rotten to do without my morning espresso.

P.S. Yes, I'm comfy with venting...old backpacker here...
I use a backpacking lexan backpacking French press when not on electric. Water either heated on propane inside or on a Coleman white gas stove outside.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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Fab - I'm totally doing it. Thanks guys!
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:18 PM   #6
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Make my coffee with propane. Heat a kettle on the propane stove, filter the hot water through a Melita paper filter with ground coffee propped in a collapsible silicone funnel-like coffee dripper. It is easy to dispose of the grounds too, because they are contained in the filter. And my coffee maker stores flat in the drawer with my cooking tools.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zlee

Is it inefficient to use the cooktop to use a backpack espresso maker, maybe? I'm trying to keep things as small and light as I can, as there's just not a whole lot of room in a 19' Bambi, but I'm too spoilt rotten to do without my morning espresso.

P.S. Yes, I'm comfy with venting...old backpacker here...
We use the French press as well, especially when we need to make more than two cups. But for just one or two cups I prefer the old fashioned Italian percolator type expresso maker. The first thing I do in the morning (OK, maybe the second) is put the expresso maker on the stove and turn on the propane. Very efficient.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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You know, that's a really good point, FlashSilver. I was going to get both a french press AND an espresso machine, but really, I can drink Americanos instead of coffee. Maybe just the one. I'll have to weigh the options out, I'm trying to keep all weight down to the very minimum.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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I think they still make COFFEE pots. Back in the last century they sat on top of the stove. Which is fired with propane. Probably won't work for Expresso though.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:57 PM   #10
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Heat water, pass through ground up coffee of chickoree or tea. How you heat it is the basic question. Or don't heat the water for a more energy efficient system.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:14 PM   #11
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Academic question: will cold water actually brew coffee through grounds? I never even thought to try that.

Yes, electric or propane was sort of my question. I think it sounds like propane is the answer, so now it's just what's lightest but still gives me a decent cup of joe. The heavier Italian espresso maker will probably last longer. The backpacking version is a lot lighter. Hummm.

And, on the other hand, I can use the titanium french press as a kettle as well, so another hummmm...
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:29 PM   #12
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Ooops, you got me. Experiment on cold water coffee under way, results in a few...days yet. I know a fellow that brews an expresso coffee, refrigerates it and only drinks it iced.
Electric is usually much less efficient boodocking, but more efficient if you're wired to the grid. You maybe need to carry your favorite, and also the alternative. And sometimes there's no alternative, like I haven't seen too many propane powered blenders; except maybe for the chainsaw margaritia makers.
Remember to make it Your Bambi with your tools in it, not what an "EXpert" likes them selves.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:36 PM   #13
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How's this then, I'm dying to get one just to see if it works. But maybe not at that price. (And maybe only if I finally start making margaritas rather than my standard G&Ts.)

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Old 11-26-2011, 03:45 PM   #14
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So, I think, given the input, that it might be good to have a small (no more than 4 cup) electric kettle, which I can use with a french press (the titanium, because I can boil water in it on propane if not on electric), and then perhaps the backpacking espresso maker. I might try a trip without the electric kettle, though, to see how it goes.

Oh, the whole world should have my problems.
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