GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip
What - Lightweight Coffee Drip System
Who - GSI Outdoors (US Based)
Weight - 9g
Cost - $19-22
Rating - 8/10
Lightweight and small
Easy to Clean
Real Coffee on the Trail
Dual Use For Tea Lovers
Takes a While to Finish Dripping
Will Have Other Hikers Asking You to Brew Them A Cup or Two
Review - Fresh coffee out on the trail need not be an early morning dream anymore with the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip making it possible to be both ultralight (or just lightweight) and enjoy a hot brew in the outdoors. While many hikers resort to coffee bags to get their morning fix, the result is a mix of ground coffee and instant coffee, not an ideal solution for those that enjoy the real thing.
Having toyed with the idea of taking my full AeroPress setup on the trail, although still lightweight it takes up a lot of space, something that is at a premium with my current setup. While searching the interwebs for various solutions I came across the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip and instantly I knew this was going to be a winner. At only 9g (yes that is right) it folds away into a compact circle that I tuck into my cooking pot that also houses my bowl, cup, spoon and lantern.
The drip system of coffee brewing is something I was already very familiar with having started my love affair with coffee in one of the best growing regions in the world, Costa Rica. Their setup involves a wooden or metal frame and a cotton sock/filter suspended over the pot or cup. Lamenting the demise of the one I bought while I was over there in 2008, this drip system makes a great replacement, albeit not as ornamental.
So how does it actually perform out on the trail? My first trip with this setup was on a seven day trek on the Bibbulmun Track between Northcliffe and Walpole and it performed amazingly well. Having ground up some beans before I left and only having one bag of coffee ground meant a lot less waste (I hate that coffee bags are individually wrapped and the bag contains micro plastic). The drip has a three legged system that clips onto any mug very well and the clips are sturdy enough that I didn't feel like they were going to break easily.
The joy of having fresh coffee out on the trail was amazing and the guy I met on the first night was very envious of my setup. Taste wise it is no different to my AeroPress, the only difference to home is I use condensed milk out on the trail. I even brought along some loose tea leaves and this was a great success too (be prepared for a slight coffee taste if not thoroughly cleaned), you just leave the legs dangling over the edge instead of clipping them on. The only real disadvantage I can report was the last little bit of water in the drip took a long time to drain but I simply removed the whole contraption and let it finish dripping on the ground (away from camp of course).
Final Thoughts - In a time when hikers are becoming increasingly aware of their single use plastic use, this system means you can do away with wasteful coffee bags or tea bags and get real coffee on the trail as an added bonus. Luxuries like real coffee don't need to be difficult with the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip.