Hands-on Gear Review

GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press Review

The GSI Personal Java Press is a score for the French press lover that camps, but our pour overs make better tasting coffee.
GSI Personal Java Press
By: Penney Garrett and McKenzie Long  ⋅  May 30, 2018
Price:  $30 List  |  $27.95 at Amazon - 7% Off
Pros:  Included cup nests inside press, press and cup are insulted by nylon sleeves
Cons:  Press tends to get stuck, flavor not as refined as other brew methods, messy cleanup
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Group Cooking - 20% 7
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Portability - 10% 6
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

If you can't live without your French press coffee in the mornings, then this camp-specific press-pot is worth your while. The GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press is insulated to keep your coffee warm longer, and the included cup makes sharing easy. It is more convenient to use this separate press than one of the specific press accessories that compliment camp stoves like the Jetboil and the Reactor. Those press additions convert your stove into a French press which may save valuable space in your bag, but it means you can't make your coffee and oatmeal at the same time.

If you are looking for the best possible tasting coffee while camping, check out the Aerobie AeroPress, our Top Pick for Gourmet Taste. If you want a simple yet refined morning brew, try the Editors' Choice-winning Hario V60, which is easier to clean and less expensive.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:

The GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press is a fantastic option for camping and backpacking with friends. Though it is a bit heavy (certainly not in the ultralight category), it comes with a mug which makes sharing easier.

Performance Comparison


The GSI Personal Java Press and its included mug  both with nylon insulators to keep your beverage warm longer.
The GSI Personal Java Press and its included mug, both with nylon insulators to keep your beverage warm longer.

Brew Features


The Personal Java Press is a typical French press, but this one also comes with a cup. Both the press and the cup have neoprene insulators to keep your coffee warm longer on those frosty outdoor mornings.

Taste


Coffee brewed in a French press has a distinctively strong taste with a thicker (sometimes even muddy) consistency. Some coffee drinkers love it. Some hate it. When waking up early to a dew-covered sleeping bad, a picnic table, and the scent of pine needles, sometimes a strong press-pot is what you need. This coffee maker did not score particularly high in our taste tests, but if you prefer this type of brew, then this is a good choice for caffeine of the camping variety.

Mmmmm  a delicious morning brew from the GSI Java Press. This brewer did not come up on top in our taste tests  but the flavor is distinct and one that many people love.
Mmmmm, a delicious morning brew from the GSI Java Press. This brewer did not come up on top in our taste tests, but the flavor is distinct and one that many people love.

Group Cooking


This press can brew 20 ounces at a time, plenty to get two people at least partially going in the morning. Nylon sleeves insulate both the press itself and the additional mug, so your brew will stay warm while you break down your tent.

Since the GSI Personal Java Press comes with its own included mug separate from the press  it is easy to make coffee for two  sharing the coffee from the press.
Since the GSI Personal Java Press comes with its own included mug separate from the press, it is easy to make coffee for two, sharing the coffee from the press.


Ease of Use


A French press is easy to use to make coffee, you just throw some grounds into the bottom and pour in water. You can time how long you steep for a more consistent flavor, but this is not a necessary step. However, we found that this press seems to get stuck often, and can be hard to press down. On top of that, the truly annoying part of a French press is the cleanup. Scooping and rinsing out the grounds is messy, and it is hard to leave no trace with this method — the grounds usually end up somewhere on the ground. This is not allowed in bear country, so please do your research about the area you're heading into before taking off.

Pressing on a crisp camping morning. Sometimes the GSI Psersonal Java Press is difficult to push  or can get stuck on its way down.
Pressing on a crisp camping morning. Sometimes the GSI Psersonal Java Press is difficult to push, or can get stuck on its way down.

Portability


The Personal Java Press comes with a separate cup that conveniently stacks inside the press (though you have to disassemble the screen and rod first). We really liked this feature, as it means everything can pack down decently well. However, the press itself is still rather bulky and heavy for stashing in a backpack.

All the pieces of the GSI Personal Java Press. Having an included but separate mug makes it so you can drink your coffee sooner and easily share with others.
All the pieces of the GSI Personal Java Press. Having an included but separate mug makes it so you can drink your coffee sooner and easily share with others.

Weight


Including the cup, this system weighs 11.05 ounces, which is on the heavy side for coffee makers in this review. This is probably not the best choice for a backpacker, but it's still handy for a family that heads out on weekends with a well-stocked camp kitchen.

Conclusion


For the French press lover who wants a decently compact setup, the Personal Java Press with its accompanying mug is a solid choice. Due to its weight, it's probably better suited for car camping than backpacking, though for short trips it might be fine. For almost $30, this press is the same price as the AeroPress but doesn't produce as rich tasting coffee. For the money, we prefer the other Aero, even though the brewing process is more complicated.

Pouring water into the GSI Personal Java Press  using Cincinnati roaster Deeper Roots Coffee's La Armonia Hermosa for a special morning treat.
Pouring water into the GSI Personal Java Press, using Cincinnati roaster Deeper Roots Coffee's La Armonia Hermosa for a special morning treat.

Penney Garrett and McKenzie Long

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: May 30, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (2)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Backpacker

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Sep 18, 2013 - 08:48am
Slacker77 · Backpacker · Ontario, Canada

Overall good product - I prefer french press coffee when I can get it, so I chose this product over drip devices (which do have the benefit of being much more compact.

I like that the GSI press will make 2 cups of coffee, and that one cup and that it nests into the press along with the plunger with plenty of room for a ziplock containing the ground coffee, and one with some sugar. It's a sturdy product and makes a fine cup of coffee. The insulation and lid keeps the coffee nice and hot. In a number of years of using the product, I have never encountered the problem of the press getting stuck or hard to push down, which seemed to be an issue for the outdoorgear review. I don't actually find it hard to clean either, though it may be more difficult than other devices tested - I see this as a non-issue. It is also pretty indestructible.

There is one incredibly annoying issue with the product though, and that is the spout. It pours incredibly poorly, and no matter what technique I use, there is significant dripping down the side of the press. Not a deal-breaker, but it is poor design. I find a very slow pour works best. The only other drawback is the size - it is definitely bulkier than drip devices, but its worth it for the flavor I get.




Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...