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GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press Review

This brewer is a score for the French press lover that camps, but there are other options that make better tasting coffee
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Price:  $38 List | $37.45 at Backcountry
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
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8
  • Group Cooking - 15% 6
  • Portability - 10% 6
  • Weight - 10% 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. This little dude makes your morning routine simple and fast, so you can get on with your day, fully caffeinated, and raring to go.

Updated Look

GSI gave the Personal Java Press a new exterior look, but otherwise this press remains identical to the version we tested. The updated product is pictured above.

April 2020

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The GSI Outdoors Personal Java Press is a fantastic option for camping and backpacking with friends. It is a bit on the heavy side, definitely not ideal if you are trying to go ultra-light, but it does come with a mug so that you can share coffee with your compadres.

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 the price includes a cup as well! 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 just 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.

Ease of Use


A French press is easy to use to make coffee, you 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 heading into the backcountry.

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.

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.

The GSI Personal Java Press is big enough to serve two and it comes with its own mug.
The GSI Personal Java Press is big enough to serve two and it comes with its own mug.

Portability


The Personal Java Press comes with a separate cup that stacks conveniently inside the press (though you have to disassemble the screen and rod first). We dig on this feature because it means that the mug and press pack down neatly. Despite this rad feature, the press is still bulky and a little heavy for stashing in a backpack.

All the pieces of the GSI Personal Java Press. The fact that the filter disassembles and the cup can nest inside makes this a smart choice for activities where you're on the move and space is limited.
All the pieces of the GSI Personal Java Press. The fact that the filter disassembles and the cup can nest inside makes this a smart choice for activities where you're on the move and space is limited.

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.

Value


This press and mug set offer a decent value. It's certainly not the cheapest option to be had, but the fact that it includes a mug and doesn't require filters gives it a big leg up. It's also durable, insulated, and quite packable — even for its size and weight — so, for the right user, this is a slammin' deal.

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.

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.

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett