|The whole system, all buttoned up.|
Unlike other portable coffee brewing options like French press travel mugs and the like, Stanley's system packs everything you need to make some seriously great coffee into a neat, portable package. And I mean everything.
The pot, the filter, the mugs, storage for coffee grounds, and an insulated thermos to carry the brewed coffee in when you're done brewing are all a part of the system. Reminiscent of the matryoshka dolls I played with as a kid, the more you take the pieces apart, the more you'll find inside.
From the outside in, it's clear every piece of Stanley's Vacuum Coffee System was designed with a clear purpose. And boy does the system have a lot of pieces. The outermost layer, what we'll call the pot, (because that's exactly what it is), has a collapsible handle attached to it. The handle pops out when you're using the pot, then with the push of a small button, it collapses back down and lays flush against the pot for easy storage and transport.
The camouflage green colored lid doubles as an insulated cup, but if you're willing to share your coffee with a friend, unscrew the top and you'll have two separate cups. Underneath the cup, the thermos's lid is inscribed with the words "coffee grounds," which confused me at first. Careful inspection revealed the thermos lid also unscrews, and you can store coffee grounds inside. Absolute genius, especially given I always seem to forget where I put small key essentials when I'm camping, like a bag of coffee grounds. I found I could fit about as much coffee as I'd use for one full pot in the thermos lid.
|Clockwise from left, the thermos, one small cup, the pot, the press attachment, the lid with coffee grounds inside, and the second small cup.|
So, once you've identified all of the system's components, getting the coffee brewed is a cinch. Flip the pot handle up, fill the pot with up to a liter of water, put it on your camp stove, and take it off the flame when you see bubbles appear in the water. Dump the coffee grounds into the hot water, stir them up, and let them steep for three to five minutes. (I'll typically wait a bit longer than five minutes for stronger coffee. Don't judge.) Take the press attachment and drop it on top of the grounds, then carefully press down to filter out the coffee. Pour it into the cups or directly into the thermos for storage. Put everything back together, and you're good to go.
|Pour the water in, pour the coffee in, wait, |
drop the press in, push the press down, and voila!
The pot itself is a thin, which makes it light, but it loses heat quickly. I'd love a bit of a tighter fit between the press attachment and the pot; a few coffee grounds seem to sneak through every time. And the plastic seal came off at one point when I was washing the press attachment, though it was easy to get back in place.
Overall, I'd recommend Stanley's Vacuum Coffee System to any coffee lover, even coffee appreciator, with a penchant for traveling. It's a piece of cake to use, it's beautifully designed, and it makes a darn good cup of coffee. It's available in a 1 liter (35 ounce) if you're generous when it comes to sharing your coffee, and 0.5 liter (17 ounce) version if you're looking to save weight and brew a little bit less.
How do you normally brew coffee when you're camping? Think you'd be willing to give this a try? Thanks to Stanley for providing me with a complimentary system to test for this review. As always, the opinions expressed here are my own, and I have strong opinions about coffee.