In follow-up to our recent post on gear you can easily take on the open trail, Gail gives us her recommendations for what coffee accoutrement she recommends for back country excursions.
Gail prepared her standard Aeropress brew and then whipped up a batch in a Bodum Shin Bistro French press. We taste them and compare them side by side to determine how they differ — and which tastes better.
When it comes to great coffee or espresso, it doesn’t always mean it has to come out of a fancy shmancy high-tech espresso machine. Check out 2011’s most popular gear that didn’t require an outlet.
A specialty tool approved by many newbie espresso lovers and coffee connoisseurs alike, the Aeropress is a one stop shop to make that caffeinated drink you love when you’re on the go. Simple, easy to use and with minimal necessities, all you’ll need along with the Aeropress are coffee filters, grounds and hot water and you’ll have a cup o’ joe as good as (or better than!) your local cafe.
#2: Hario Coffee Coffee Dripper V60 – White Ceramic – Medium 02
Perfect for that single serving or a small group of friends, Hario pour overs are simple to use but produce an excellent cup. All you need is a coffee filter, your favorite coffee grounds and hot water and you’ll be sipping on a quality drink in a matter of minutes.
#3: Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker – 6-cup
Want that strong cup of coffee without the hassle of plugging it in? The Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop just needs hot water, your favorite coffee grounds, a few minutes on the stovetop and it’ll be percolating a rich cup of coffee in a flash. (And if you really want to avoid electrics, throw it on your wood stove!)
#1: Sowden Soft Brew Coffee Maker with scoop – 27 oz.
Some like it hot while others like it cold, and the great thing about the Sowden Soft Brew is that it’ll brew both kinds of coffee. Using a micro-thin metal filter with half a million microscopic holes, the Sowden Soft Brew brews up a smooth cup of coffee with no need for plungers. All you need to do is measure out your preferred amount of coffee, pour in hot or cold water, brew for four to eight minutes (for hot coffee) or overnight (for cold coffee) and you’ll be sipping on rich and smooth java.
#2a: Chemex Handblown 6-cup (30 oz) coffee maker with wood collar and tie
Not your average looking coffee maker, the Chemex uses a chemically corrected method of brewing to extract the most flavor out of your favorite coffee beans. Using glass that is both heat resistant and does not absorb odors or chemical residue, you’ll be drinking a more natural cup of coffee with a full, rich-bodied flavor.
#2b: Frieling Insulated Coffee Maker French Press 1-2 cups
Frieling has taken the french press process up a notch by giving their press double wall insulation, keeping your coffee hotter four time longer than your average glass french press. Multipurpose and seasonal, not only can this stainless steel press be used to make coffee but take out the plunger and it becomes a stylish pitcher for cold drinks on hot summer days.
#3: La Cafetiere Thermique Cafetiere – 8 cup
Sleek yet sophisticated with a little whimsy to it, the La Cafetiere Thermique Cafetiere changes up the average french press by giving the press a new look and style. Taking a cue from other upgraded presses, the Thermique keeps coffee hotter three times longer with its double wall stainless steel body. And unlike other presses made of glass or stainless steel with a round look, the Thermique has a unique angular design.
#1: Bodum Santos (Pebo) Stovetop Vacuum Coffee Maker
Why not combine coffee and chemistry — or at least a little mad science? While you’re really crafting a delicious cup of joe, it will feel like you’re mixing chemicals to make some crazy concoction with this vacuum pot. But fear not! Watch the magic happen as you place the Pebo on the stovetop, and see the water from the bottom orb get sucked up into the top orb, then saturate your favorite coffee to produce an excellent brew.
#2: Handpresso Portable Espresso Machine – with Domepod
Whether it be at the top of the mountain while you’re hitting the slopes, out in your tent in the middle of the forest or at the airport before you catch your flight, owning the Handpresso means there’s never a place where you can’t scratch that espresso itch. An easy to use portable espresso machine, it’s also lightweight and small, so can fit almost anywhere.
#3: Espro 3-cup Press
Can you really improve on the well-designed, classic press pots of yore? Espro thinks you can! Their Single Serve Press outshines other presses by micro-filtering and preserving your coffee’s flavor twice. With a unique metal filter, it keeps grounds out of your cup and lets the oils in so your cup o’ joe is richer with a full-bodied flavor.
#1: MyPressi TWIST Portable Espresso Maker 2.0
New gadgets are always fun to find, but they’re even better when they make life a little simpler. For coffee lovers who are always on the go, the MyPressi TWIST provides excellent espresso shots no matter their locale. Using N02 & C02 capsules to facilitate extraction, your shots will rival those of the cafe’s down the street.
#2: Walkure Karlsbad Porcelain Coffee Maker – 12.5 oz/28.5 oz
Straight from Germany, this innovative coffeemaker will amaze you! Who would’ve thought you’d get a smooth clean cup of coffee through a ceramic filter?! The Walkure Karlsbad Porcelain Coffee Maker uses a two chamber method, allowing you to brew your coffee like a pour over with its crisscross ceramic filter. Customers love it because it’s easy to clean, easy to use and — unlike other pour overs that use paper filters — it’s less wasteful.
Watch as he talks to us about how Bodum’s vacuum coffee pot works and demonstrates brewing a cup of smooth java.
As soon as we saw this at SCAA, we could envision it in dorm rooms everywhere! This dual purpose french press or tea maker from Bodum will heat the water and pour over your coffee grounds or tea leaves. You let them steep, then either remove the filter or press the grounds down and serve.
Watch as Gail demos making a cup of tea and a pot of coffee with the Bistro Coffee & Tea Dripper.
We posed one simple question to Gail, Rob and Allison: Using whatever tools and beans you want, how do you make the best french press coffee? Watch as they each explain their approach, feverishly compete and then stand the taste test of Jessica, Sally and Brandon.
How do you make your amazing french press coffee? Please share!
In response to a few customer requests, we performed the following tests related to french press / press pot coffee. First: Which of the insulated stainless steel press pots retain their heat the longest? Second: How does the coffee taste at different steeping intervals?
#1: Insulated Stainless Steel Temperature Testing
We took the 8 cup versions (roughly 35 oz.) of the Bodum, La Cafetiere and Frieling double-walled stainless steel presses and filled them with hot water. We then measured their start temp and checked in on them at regular intervals — 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours and 24 hours. Watch the excitement unfold:
Since you don’t actually want to keep your coffee in your press pot for hours on end (the ideal way to prepare and serve coffee this way is to pour it out right after the desired steep time has completed, either into serving cups or an insulated pitcher), arguably the most important interval in the test was the first one, right after 30 minutes. In that round, the winner was the La Cafetiere, which lost only 19.1F degrees, as opposed to the Frieling’s 21.4F and the Bodum’s 21.6F. But still, these were all pretty close so selecting any of the three models will still be a good choice.
#2: French Press Steep Test
Next, we wanted to find out how press pot coffee tasted when steeped at different durations — 4 minutes, 6 minutes or 8 minutes. We loaded up three 8 cup Bodum presses and then tasted them. Possibly a bit more scintillating than the video above — and this time with 100% more Allison!
You know us: We’re always game to take a grinder out for a test drive. Bodum’s Bistro didn’t catch our eye at first (despite its vibrant hue!) but we decided to give it it’s day in court to see if it would make a good budget option for folks not pulling traditional espresso extractions. Watch Gail as she tests it out and we determine how well it performs. And while we won’t be offering the orange color any time soon, we will be adding the black version to our site soon.