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Gear Review – GSI Personal Java Press September 5, 2009

Posted by thetrainerscorner in Uncategorized.
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Hello fellow Scouters,GSI_Java_Press

For my first ever gear review, I will look at the GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press. If you’ve listened to one of my recent podcasts, you will know that I’m fairly obsessed about coffee, maybe at an unhealthy level. As I’m changing my camping gear from car camping to backpacking gear, a lightweight coffee press is one important item I needed,  so I went out and purchased the GSI Personal Java Press for this.

First, a warning: I am not a backpacker, at least not yet. So I don’t know the in’s and out’s of how gear works on the trail. Also, this was not tested in the outdoors, but in my kitchen (but you could consider our home’s air conditioner as a simulation of a fall morning!).

Here are the pluses:

  • It was easy to use.
  • The coffee was fantastic. It really tasted good!
  • The mug and press are both insulated, to keep the coffee warm longer than if they weren’t insulated.
  • The mug and press are both plastic, keeping them light.
  • The mug fits inside of the press, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room in the backpack.
  • The mug didn’t dribble at all when I drank from it.
  • Per GSI’s website, the carrying weight is under 11 oz.
  • The press rod is steel.
  • It’s only $20 at Amazon.com, which is really affordable.

Now, for the minuses:

  • The mug and the press are plastic, and is therefore breakable. I would hate to drop my backpack and have this break. It’s not cheap stiff plastic, though, so it might take a fall and not break.
  • After 1/2 hour, the coffee wasn’t very warm (in comparison to my Thermos 34 oz. coffee press, which would keep the coffee piping hot after a half hour). But if you are planning to drink this right away, then this wouldn’t be a big deal.
  • The plunger has two rings on it, similar to a car’s piston rings. I noticed on clean-up that coffee grounds were in the rings, especially the gap. This made clean-up a bit of a pain, and could affect the amount of grounds in future cups if this isn’t fully disassembled and cleaned out.
  • There were some grounds in the last drink I took out of the mug. This is fairly common with coffee presses.
  • Clean-up is a real pain, especially from a Leave No Trace point of view. Getting the grounds out is a messy job. But this is a problem with all coffee presses, not just this one.

The biggest minus:

  • When I first poured coffee out of the press, a considerable amount of coffee dribbled down the front of the coffee press, staining the insulating sleeve and spilling on the counter. I read on the one review on Amazon that they had this issue too. This could be a deal killer to some. After cleaning the coffee press, I tried pouring from it again with water. I noticed that this dribble is from the lid, on both sides of the spout. If you press down on the lid while pouring it, this greatly reduces the dribble. Hopefully GSI will note this and correct this with future Personal Java Press designs.

Overall, this is a great coffee press for the money. For only $20, you get a lightweight insulated coffee press and insulated mug, which stores compactly for backpacking. And there’s enough room in the mug to store your coffee grounds (the steel rod from the press stores in the mug, so you would probably do best with two sandwich bags of grounds that you could fit around the rod while stored). This gives you about one and a half cups of coffee, and the coffee I made tasted great!

GSI Personal Java Press – official site

Here’s to great camp coffee!

In Scouting,

 – Scouter Jeff <><



1. Craig Cherry - May 13, 2011

I used my GSI for 8 days in the Siberian Altai mountain wilderness last summer, and I loved everything about it except for one thing. The plunger is threaded into the screen, which means that it can become un-threaded… I was rinsing a few remaining coffee grounds off of the plunger-screen next to a fast-moving stream with a rocky bottom, and was unable to recover it when it became unthreaded and taken somewhere far away down an icey, violently flowing mountain stream. It was one of the really frustrating things about the trip, because I lost the coffee maker – had to just let the grounds settle after that!!

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