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GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip Review

A great ultralight backpacking option, as long as you pour carefully and aren't too rough with the contents of your pack
GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip
Photo: GSI Outdoors
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Price:  $10 List
Pros:  No filter needed, tiny and light
Cons:  Must pour carefully for bold flavor, delicate clips
Manufacturer:   GSI Outdoors
By Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Group Cooking - 15% 5
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip is one of the most compact and nearly one of the lightest-weight camping coffee options we tested. This rad little dripper sits above your vessel while brewing, so you don't have to worry about over-steeping your coffee. The overall design is on the fragile end of the spectrum, but the flexible filter does make it easy to clean. While other models may produce a tastier cup of coffee, this ultralight and compact device is a great option for backpackers and weight weenies alike.

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Price $10 List$9.05 at Amazon$10.39 at Amazon$29.95 at Amazon
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$39.95 at Amazon
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Pros No filter needed, tiny and lightGourmet flavor, well-conceived design, ceramic version available for home useNo filter needed, tiny and light, consistently good tasteAmazing flavor, versatile, very portable, simple cleanupExcellent clean flavor, double-filtered to eliminate sediment, press completely stops extraction, vessel can be used as a leakproof travel mug
Cons Must pour carefully for bold flavor, delicate clipsSpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsMust lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, poor for large groupA lot of little pieces to keep track of, on the heavy side for backpackingLots of pieces to keep track of, heavy, on the pricier side
Bottom Line If you are counting every gram in your bag, this is a great ultralight option - just be sure to pour carefullyGreat taste, easy to use, and lightweight - we love this plastic iteration of the classic glass and ceramic versionsDurable, light, and compact, this is a fantastic option for backpacking trips or any kind of light travelWhile this unique brewer has a bit of a learning curve, the final flavor is the best in our test suiteThe superfine double filter and extraction-stopping plunger of this press make for a very excellent brew
Rating Categories Ultralight Java Drip Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Primula Coffee Brew Buddy AeroPress Coffee Maker Espro Travel Press
Taste (40%)
6
9
7
10
8
Ease Of Use (25%)
7
7
9
7
8
Group Cooking (15%)
5
6
4
4
5
Portability (10%)
9
5
9
6
6
Weight (10%)
9
8
9
5
3
Specs Ultralight Java Drip Hario V60 Plastic... Primula Coffee... AeroPress Coffee... Espro Travel Press
Weight 1.1 oz Dripper alone: 2.95 oz
Dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz
1.1 oz Press alone: 7.98 oz
Press + spoon + stirrer: 9.39 oz
12.3 oz
Brew Type Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over/Press Hybrid French Press/ Pour Over
Main Material Nylon filter Hard plastic Nylon filter BPA-free polypropylene Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes No Yes No
Notable Features Collapsible to fit under fuel canister Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side Rests on any mug Easy to clean, re-usable filter Can be used as french press, pour over, or for tea
Notes Not sturdy or durable Makes strong, smooth coffee Filter hangs in coffee for most cups Eliminates bitterness while keeping a good flavor Brews a really clean cup, keeps liquids nice and hot

Our Analysis and Test Results

If space is a premium and you're counting every gram (and milligram) in your pack, the GSI Ultralight Java Drip is a great option. At just 1.1 ounces, this dripper is so compact it will nestle under a fuel canister.

Performance Comparison


The GSI Ultralight is the most portable filter we tested. Just fold...
The GSI Ultralight is the most portable filter we tested. Just fold the little plastic legs and this fits under a fuel canister.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Brew Features


The Java Drip has a nylon filter supported by three lightweight plastic legs. The clips are a little delicate, and you need to be careful to avoid spilling the filter, but the whole dripper weighs less than half an ounce without it's included cup and just 1.1 ounces with it.

Taste


This filter can produce great taste, but it requires a careful and slow pour. Add water too fast, and the coffee will likely be weak. When we used a gooseneck kettle, it was easy to offer a precise pour and achieve a good flavor, but out of something like a JetBoil, it is much harder.

Be careful how you pour into the Ultralight Java Drip - if you get...
Be careful how you pour into the Ultralight Java Drip - if you get impatient you might end up with a weak sub-par cup.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Use


The Java Drip is relatively easy to use, but, like all filterless cones, it requires some extra cleaning after each use. The larger surface area on this device makes this especially true. You also need the right cup to ensure the legs attach securely. If the rim of your cup is too thick, it's hard to attach the legs or ensure they are stable when holding a lot of water. While we appreciate the compact design and insubstantial weight of this brewer, we also find it rather finicky and don't recommend it unless weight is your primary concern.

While cleaning this nylon filter is straightforward, it does require...
While cleaning this nylon filter is straightforward, it does require more water than other models because of a larger surface area.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Group Cooking


The Ultralight Java Drip is so-so for group cooking. With a secure attachment, you can load up the filter with grounds and pour enough for 2-3 people. However, if your mug or carafe doesn't securely attach to the filter, it will tip over. Overall, this is best for just 1-2 cups at a time. Detaching and reattaching the legs to various cups in between uses also takes a bit of time and attention.

Portability


This is certainly one of the most portable options in our entire review. Once you fold in the legs, the filter is small enough to fit under any fuel canister. The legs are a little delicate, so you have to be extra careful when packing up, but for those that need small and light, this hits the mark.

Light and compact, this is an easy (though delicate) brewer to...
Light and compact, this is an easy (though delicate) brewer to consider for your next backpacking excursion.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Weight


At 1.1 ounces, the Java Drip is among the lightest weight brewers in our review, and that weight includes its own cup, which results in a potentially significant weight savings compared to other brewers in our review.

This dripper is certainly light, but it's finicky and delicate...
This dripper is certainly light, but it's finicky and delicate nature means it may not be the best for everyone.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Value


It doesn't get much cheaper than this for a dripper AND a cup! You won't even have to purchase filters. Granted, the Ultralight Java Drip isn't the most robust coffee maker, and breaking this delicate device is a real possibility. Some people will prefer to spend more and get something more durable, but if your main motivation is lightweight and compact, then this is a clear winner.

Conclusion


If counting every gram is critical for your next adventure, then the GSI Ultralight Java Drip could be a great coffee-making companion for your set-up. This brewer is extremely light and is the most compact in our test suite. It's is a little finicky and fragile for our taste, but if you are looking for ways to shave down some grams on your ultra-light kit, it may be ideal for you.

Some of our pour-over brewers, battling it out. Left to right:...
Some of our pour-over brewers, battling it out. Left to right: Primula Brew Buddy, GSI Java Drip, and the Hario V60.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett