The GSI Collapsible Java Drip is a truly camp-ready brewing device — packable, lightweight, and durable, this pour over brewer will keep you caffeinated with ease in the backcountry.
The Java Drip providing delicious, precious caffeine in the High Sierras.
The Collapsible Java Drip is a standard pour-over coffee brewer. It uses a #4 coffee filter, though a #2 filter works as well, and can brew anywhere from 1-12 cups of coffee at a time. This flexibility gives it a higher capacity than any of the other coffee makers in this review, which is an advantage for group camping.
The taste from the Collapsible Java Drip was not as rich or pure as from the other pour-over brewers in our review. This could be due to the more bowl-like shape which allows pooling at the edges and, ultimately, over-extraction. Or it could be because the hot coffee comes in contact with silicone as it brews. A faint scent can be detected from the silicone when it is under hot water and while brewing, which is unappetizing. However, it still makes good coffee in the outdoors, so you don't have to (gasp!) consider abstaining.
Luke Lydiard making a backcountry morning brew with the GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor. Since this is one of the most portable coffee makers, it is conducive to bringing along on backpacking trips.
Ease of Use
The Java Drip is as simple as any pour-over coffee maker. It involves inserting a filter, adding coffee, and pouring in water. An additional aspect about this brewer that we loved was the wide base that allowed us to brew sturdily atop a more diverse assortment of pots and cups. The silicone material was also a breeze to clean, and the collapsible design meant getting packed up and back on the trail was a cinch.
The wide base of the Java Drip fits on the Fair Share camping cup where the other drip style's do not.
While this dripper may not look like a good candidate for larger groups, it's made to serve up to 12 cups at a time by simply filling the cone with more grounds. This doesn't always provide the best flavor, so you may prefer to do fewer cups at a time and repeat. But if you're in a hurry or filters are scarce, go ahead and load up.
Though the Java Drip doesn't provide as refined a flavor as the AeroPress or V60, what it does offer is a well thought out design with ideal features for camping or backpacking. The silicone cone collapses down into a disc that is not quite an inch thick and 5 inches across. This can slide into a backpack and cram into a small space much easier than ungainly rigid cones like the V60 and Ready Set Joe.
GSI Collapsible Java Drip and the MSR Reactor in action in the backcountry. Though it is not the lightest, it is the most packable.
This coffee maker is the most portable and packable of any that we reviewed, however it is not the lightest. Even though it packs small, it still weighs 4.76 ounces, over twice as much as the svelte Melitta Ready Set Joe and almost five times more than the fast and light MSR MugMate and the collapsible mesh Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy. While 4.76 ounces isn't much, it could discourage an ultralight backpacker from wanting to carry it. Keep in mind that it can be lightened slightly by leaving the cover behind and just bringing the cone, though remember you will also need filters.
Due to the round shape of the Java Drip, it works best with a basket style filter, though none of the filters we tried fit perfectly.
We loved the ease of use, packability, and capacity of the GSI Collapsible Java Drip. The small profile means it's great for the space-minded adventurer, and the number of cups it's able to brew at once makes it great for group outings. It can be collapsed and tossed into your camp box along with your headlamp, camp-stove, and tent stakes, and will be ready to use whenever you head out for the weekend. (Everyone has a box like this, right?)