Review

Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker

Changing over to a lightweight bikepacking setup for South America forced us to shift a fair amount of equipment off the bike. This meant there was no room for our beloved Snow Peak, Titanium French Press (review here). Not that it was heavy, it was just an awkward shape and didn’t fit in our framebags. Goodbye old friend, it was time to try something new. Heading into one of the best coffee regions in the world, there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to brew some extremely fresh and strong Colombian coffee on the side of the road.

I had some REI dividends to use up, so off I trundled to our local shop to be greeted by an overexcited staff member who demonstrated every coffee making camping device in the shop in under three minutes. After what seemed like a few hours of humming and hawing, it was time to make a decision, the GSI Ultralight Java Drip was my choice of weaponry. How did it fair up? Is it better than the Snow Peak French Press? Let’s find out.

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The filter is light, it weighs little more than air (0.4 ounce if you’re really watching your weight). The filter is made out of a polyester fine mess which seems well made and durable. However, I found the legs which attach to the cup to seem cheap and flimsy. The GSI website it states that they are sturdy and strong, but i’m afraid I didn’t find this was the case, the clips look like they would bend when pouring in the water. They seem to be made of that cheap plastic you find in Chinese knock off electronics, you know the type i’m talking about. (more on the legs later).

On the other-hand. One of the best things about it is how easy it is to clean, just fold the filter in on its self to dump the coffee grounds out, then give it a quick rinse and you’re ready to go again. It’s really convenient in the backcountry.

Once you’ve mastered the pour, you’ll hit that coffee sweet spot, young Jedi…

So, how does one prepare a roadside brew on this hipster brewing apparatus? Well, you’re not in a Swedish inspired nitro brewing coffee shop now, oh no, your on the roadside, on an adventure, probably in the north west of America, smelling the ferns whilst stoking that artisanal fire you built with your ‘Lumbersexual’ hatchet that was purchased from a bearded gentleman in Brooklyn.
Here are my steps for using it:

  • Boiling the water as your other-half fiddles with the perfect Instagram filter. #OutdoorCoffee #CoffeeGoals.
  • Use fresh coffee that has been ground to a medium/fine grind, this seems to work best for me. If the grind is to coarse then the filter clogs and it takes ages to drain. If you’re using a Mini Porlex hand grinder then  7 – 8 clicks should be a good place to start. You’ll find the sweet spot eventually.
  • Once the water is boiled, pour just enough hot water to saturate the grounds, then let it sit for 20 seconds, this blooms the coffee. You’ll see the coffee has a froth, like it has rabies, a good type of rabies though. 
  • Start pouring the water slowly over the grounds, if you pour too fast and fill it up with too much water the legs will start to shift and buckle under the weight, this normally causes a coffee catastrophe as the whole thing is likely to fall over. You would have more control if you could use a goose neck kettle, but lets face it, who’s going to carry one of them on a bikepacking trip? If you do, I salute you and your coffee endeavor.
  • It should take a good 3/4 minutes to fill up a mug with your fresh brew. When it’s done, repeat the process for your Instagramming other-half.
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SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
I’m not going to lie, at first I really didn’t like using it, it’s fiddly because of the legs shift around and it’s likely to topple over if you pour too fast, however saying that, once you’ve mastered the pour, you’ll hit that coffee sweet spot, young Jedi. It really produces some surprisingly good outdoor coffee. I’m really impressed, I truly am. Though I’m not sure how long those legs will last, I guess only time will tell.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, all items in this post were brought with my hard earned cash. All opinions are my own.

Amazon links (Helps me keep the site running)
GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Coffee Maker – http://amzn.to/2r0b3uQ
Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder – http://amzn.to/2q3IfEB
Snow Peak Titanium Single Wall 450 Mug –
 http://amzn.to/2q3pO2Y

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