For me, there’s not many things that are better than starting my day off with a hot cup of coffee — it’s one of my morning rituals. Get up, shower, shave, and then have a cup of dark coffee or espresso with breakfast. It’s not so much to wake my ass up, than to enjoy the rich taste of a quality roast. Coffee is one of the things I wish I could have had on several winter hikes or field exercises in the past–a hot beverage that warms you up when you and everything feels frozen solid. Sadly, most coffee makers are either too pricy, heavy, or take up too much space for my liking.
I was fortunate enough to be given the GSI Outdoors Mini Expresso (for those coffee connoisseurs and fans of espresso, no, that’s not a mistake in the spelling) by my girlfriend this Christmas. Like everything from GSI Outdoors, it is well built with solid materials. It is made of stainless steel and with very little plastic, all manufactured in Italy. This is not some Chinese piece of junk that will fail after a couple of uses. Of course, my main concern as expressed earlier, is size. This one fits in my hand, and at 7.7 ounces, I barely notice it in my pack.
I am a big fan of the more robust coffees offered by percolators, and I am pleased to see that the GSI Outdoors is exactly that—a miniature percolator. This coffee/espresso maker will give you 2.5 ounces of deliciousness. Since Mini Expresso is quite compact, the “straw” (for lack of a better term) from which the coffee pours is quite close to the cup stand, you will need a small metal cup to collect your precious brew.
As a warning, duly follow GSI Outdoors‘ instructions for boiling the water over low heat. I got a little excited when I first got to use it and touched off my Primus burner in full force. Let’s just say the plastic meant to be used as a handle now bears my fingerprints. I used it again with more moderate heat from my burner with zero problems. About five minutes on low heat yields a tasty cup of black human fuel!
At a retail price of $40, this outdoor coffee maker is really affordable. Should you desire a larger coffee maker, GSI Outdoors offers a four-cup model for about ten bucks more. I highly recommend Mini Expresso for those who desire a quality brew on the trail or deployment, but only want to pack a light and affordable product.