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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
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Price:  $30 List | $27.38 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
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 Penney Garrett and McKenzie Long  ⋅  Nov 20, 2018
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 17
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8
  • Group Cooking - 15% 7
  • Portability - 10% 5
  • 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. 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 want to experience the best French press system we've ever seen, check out our Top Pick winner, the Espro Travel Press. It has a patented double filter inside an insulated travel mug and delivered a shockingly clean and tasty cup. Our favorite taste overall though was the Aerobie AeroPress, our Top Pick for Gourmet Taste. And 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

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $27.38 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$8.16 at Amazon$6.13 at Amazon$6.92 at Amazon$16.95 at REI
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Pros Included cup nests inside press, press and cup are insulted by nylon sleevesGourmet flavor, well-conceived design, ceramic version available for home useLight, simple, affordable, design allows you to see level of coffee while brewingNo filter needed, tiny and light, consistently good tasteLightweight, easy to use and clean, durable, no waste, can use for tea
Cons Press tends to get stuck, flavor not as refined as other brew methods, messy cleanupSpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsNot as refined of a flavor as a V60, bulkyMust lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, poor for large groupDidn't produce the best flavor, difficult to control extraction
Bottom Line The GSI Personal Java Press is a score for the French press lover that camps, but our pour overs make better tasting coffee.The iconic pour over model in a light plastic package, delivering a consistently great flavor.The Melitta Ready Set Joe is a very light and inexpensive pour over option that provides solid taste and stellar value.The best option for light travel and backpacking, this savvy brewer will keep you caffeinated without taking up space in your bag.This simple and durable filter is easy to use, produces a decent cup of Joe, and can also be used for tea.
Rating Categories Personal Java Press Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Melitta Ready Set Joe Cone Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy MSR MugMate
Taste (40%)
10
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6
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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7
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
8
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
Group Cooking (15%)
10
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7
10
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7
10
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7
10
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5
10
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5
Portability (10%)
10
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5
10
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7
10
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9
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8
Weight (10%)
10
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5
10
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7
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
Specs Personal Java Press Hario V60 Plastic... Melitta Ready Set... Single Serve... MSR MugMate
Weight press alone: 8.16 oz, press + cup: 11.05 oz dripper alone: 2.95 oz, dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz 2.01 oz 1.1 oz 1.0 oz with lid/coaster, 0.7 oz for just filter portion
Brew Type French Press Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Filter
Main Material Shatter-resistant, BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene with removable insulating EVA sleeves Hard plastic Hard plastic Nylon filter Nylon/Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes Yes No No
Notable Features Included mug nests inside press Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side Can see cup without lifting dripper Rests on any mug Can be used for coffee or tea, compact
Notes Can be hard to push down, sometimes the press gets stuck Makes strong, smooth coffee Coffee is weaker than with the Hario dripper Filter hangs in coffee for most cups Super simple and versatile but need to have the right-sized vessel for it to rest on

Our Analysis and Test Results

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. If you want a press that gives a cleaner flavor, consider the Espro Travel Press.

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 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.

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.

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 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 AeroPress, 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