GSI Outdoors JavaDrip
August 29, 2009
By Anderson Bowman
When I ripped the GSI Java Drip out of the box I was very surprised at what I found. Rather than just a simple portable coffee filter, there was a complete coffee making system. The Java Drip consists of a 30 ounce plastic carafe (including an insulating neoprene sleeve and a webbing handle), a double-wall lid, a silicone drip cone, and a cloth filter.
I am rather amazed at how this thing is supposed to work. The lid goes on the carafe and the silicone drip cone snaps onto the lid. There is a hole in the bottom center of the drip cone that lines up with a hold in the lid. Next the cloth filter or regular #4 paper filter can go in the drip cone and to end things you add fresh ground coffee. After that it is as simple as pouring hot water through over the coffee and it filters through and drips into the carafe.
It sounds a bit complicated and at 14 ounces in weight it is a bit heavy for a lot of light weight folks, but I know people who would kill for the chance to make REAL fresh coffee on the trail or even at a camp site. From what I can see so far, this system allows real coffee to be made with a minimum of hassle. I am excited get to try this out and despite not being a whole hearted coffee drinker, I am planning and trying coffee, yerba mate, and loose tea in the GSI JavaDrip before I am done. Please stay tuned to see how my experiments turn out.
October 15, 2009
I have been using the GSI Java Drip quite a bit over the past month or so all over Southeast Texas. I have paid visits to Burroughs Park, W. G. Jones State Forest, Sam Houston National Forest, and Lake Conroe (all north of Houston) while using this item.
Right out of the box I was intrigued by the fabric filter that came with the GSI Java Drip. It really did scare me a bit so I left it at home for a long while. I know it was supposed to work, but I just worried that it was going to be more trouble than it was worth. I went with the old back up of an unbleached #4 paper filter instead. There were plenty of these in the pantry, so I would just grab one before I hit the road and I was ready to go.
My first lesson that was learned the difficult way was that the stuff sack is very important to proper usage of the silicone drip cone. The drip cone fits nicely inside the carafe, but it can be a bear to get out again if not wrapped in a nice mesh stuff sack that has a draw cord/string attached to allow it to be pulled out easily. In other words, put the silicone drip cup in the mesh bag so that it can be pulled out of the carafe so that you do not appear to be a raving idiot as you pry, pull, and curse loudly to extract it.
The second lesson that I learned about the Java Drip is that the double walled lid is nice, but there is a hole in it. If the Java Drip turns over the hot beverage inside will not come out around the tightly sealed edges of the lid, but it will escape via the hole in the lid that allows the drip cone to filter fluids into the carafe. I am very glad that while the learning curve is fast on the Java Drip, my lack of common sense did not doom me to accidentally destroying it.
There have been three main hot beverages that I have brewed using the Java drip and paper filter. These are ground coffee, yerba matte, and loose gunpowder green tea. All three made great beverages, but each one was just a bit different in its brew time using a paper filter.
The ground coffee was the fastest and easiest to use. I simply put what I felt was a good amount into the filter/drip cone and then added water that I heated on my backpacking stove. The water did not run through as fast as I poured, so I had to fill the drip cone and then let the water settle out through the coffee and into the carafe. Every so often I had to add additional water to the drip cone till I was done. Coffee took about six minutes to brew a full carafe, the green tea took about eight minutes and it was nearly ten minutes for the yerba matte to fully filter into the carafe.
No matter which beverage I was brewing the filtering process would stall every so often and had to stir things up to get the water flowing again. This meant that I had to be careful with a paper filter, but I used my spoon to stir the grounds of what ever was in the filter/drip cone and break up the blockage that settled into the very bottom portion of the filter. The yerba matte seemed to do this most often and the tea the least.
One thing I have really liked about the Java Drip system is the viewing window that is cut in the neoprene of the cozy surrounding the carafe. Once I see that the beverage level inside the carafe has reached this window, and then I am done making coffee. It is a simple and easy way to see that the carafe is full and I ready to start pouring something warm into my belly.
I am going to break down and use the fabric filter before I write my next update. As much as I fear its uniqueness, I do need to see how well it performs versus the paper filters I have been using. While the GSI Java Drip is never going to break a speed record on how fast I make coffee or tea, it actually does a pretty good job of making a large batch of warm coffee/tea and keeps it warm for quite awhile. I have not had any really cold mornings yet, but my drinks have not cooled too much while I drink the first cup or two. The lid and spout design also means that I do not spill while pouring which really makes me happy that I can keep my pants/shirts stain free for at least a few extra minutes.
Overall, I am very happy with how this system performs. While not small or super light, it is a great and easy way to make something hot to drink on the trail or in camp. Its function and ease of use definitely put it in the nice to have category and are leading me towards making it a permanent part of my car camping kitchen and a part of my backpacking kitchen on a case by case basis right now.
Just Drippin Away
December 12, 2009
By Anderson Bowman
When the Java Drip first arrived I was a bit put off by its size. I did not think it was something I would carry in my pack, but over the last few months I have really grown attached to this item.
I have gone from worrying about its weight to figuring out ways to make sure I got it in my day pack or lumbar pack. As the weather grew colder here in Texas, my desire to have hot drinks when outside has increased several fold. My usual approach to this change in weather and drinking habits was to putter around the kitchen getting tea bags, coffee bags, or yerba matte bags ready, find a larger bag to put them, recount, rethink, make more bags, and generally wind up confused short on drink making mixes or overloaded with drink making mixes.
With the GSI Java Drip in the back of my mind all I do now is throw about ½ a cup (4 ounces) of coffee, tea, yerba matte in a Ziploc bag for each pot I want to make and hit the trail. I even stuff the bag into the Java drip for easy storage and no worries should it unzip or break open while in my pack. Being able to stuff my drink making supplies (including paper filters) into the Java Drip so everything is stored together for ease of access is something that has made me even happier to be using this item.
I finally broke down and used the fabric filter that comes as part of the GSI Java Drip system. It works just the same as a #4 paper filter, but is made of some slick, nylon-like fabric that fits nicely into the silicone drip cone. The first thing I noticed was that it takes about twice the amount of time for water to filter through the grounds and the fabric filter as compared to a paper filter. Where I can easily filter a pot of coffee or tea through a paper filter in about 6-9 minutes it takes 10 – 12 minutes at the very least to do the same with the fabric filter.
The fabric filter does not alter the taste of the beverage as far as I can tell and is easy to use. It fits perfectly in the drip cone and does not slip down or deform in any way. My main complaint about the fabric filter is the amount of cleaning that is required.
So far I have used the Java Drip on day trips or short hiking trips (over night) in the Houston area where water is not in short supply. This made the cleaning fairly quick and simple, but it does require a large of amount of water to be poured over the filter or be available to dunk the filter in. In drier areas where water is in shorter supply, I can see that cleaning the filter after use might be a bit of an issue.
The cleaning of the carafe is something else that I have found easy to do. It has enough of a diameter that I can reach my hand inside with a rag or bandanna and wipe it clean. I have washed it at home with normal dish soap (without removing the neoprene sleeve) and warm water without any issues. Since the carafe does not seal completely (hole in the lid using for brewing does not close) I have found it easiest to drink all the contents, wipe the interior dry, and then wash at home. Leaving liquid in the carafe will result in the contents of a pack getting doused in left over coffee or tea.
Despite my opening concerns about size, weight, and functionality, I really think the Java Drip is a great addition to anyone’s gear, especially if they enjoy hot coffee or tea on the trail. While it is definitely something I would pack for day trip or family car camping trips, it is also something that I would find a way to get into my pack for longer backpacking trips. I like my hot drinks too much to give them up and I hike with people who have seen the GSI Java Drip in action and they are ready to steal it from me. After one pot of fresh coffee poured from the GSI Java Drip they do not care how much it weighs.
This was an interesting piece of gear that I did not think would impress me that much. After seeing how simple to use and care for it really is, I cannot believe that a serious coffee drinker would not be able to find a place for in their pack. For a more casual family camper or car camping expert, this is a piece of gear that never needs to stay home. For here in Texas, I can see that I am going to recommend this to a few of my non-camping friends who griped how hard it was to make a decent cup of coffee when their electricity was out for over a week during the hurricane last year.
I would like to thank GSI Outdoors for the chance to test their Java Drip System. It was an interesting and enlightening experience for me and the people around me who benefited from a hot cup of coffee before all those early morning fishing trips.