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GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set 1 Cup review: coffee lovers, rejoice

A neat, portable espresso maker that delivers constantly great shots of coffee at camp

GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set
(Image: © GSI Outdoors)

Our Verdict

This nifty little set up is easy to use and quickly pours you a tasty jolt of java at camp, or at home

For

  • Great tasting coffee
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Comes with its own carrying case
  • No disposable filters needed

Against

  • Can be a little messy to scoop coffee into filter
  • Needs time to cool down between brews

GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set 1 Cup: first impressions

The folks at GSI Outdoors have identified a problem for outdoors lovers – that missing jolt of java to start the day – and put all their energy into solving it with the MiniEspresso Set. This compact, stainless steel set comes with three simple components (base, filter and funnel) which easily screw together, plus an adorable little espresso cup, and it all works quite like a Moka Pot. This camping coffee maker comes neatly packed in its own carrying case that keeps it protected in transit and makes it extremely packable. 

When you’re ready for a morning buzz, simply add a predetermined amount of coffee grounds and water, place the whole set up on your camping stove or grill, then sit back in your camping chair and watch it brew in under three minutes. If you want another shot, you’ll need to wait a few minutes for it all to be cool enough to handle, but they do make a 4-cup version for just that reason. You can easily pack this for car camping and bikepacking as it only adds 11 ounces to your pack. This espresso set makes a brilliant gift for any outdoorsy coffee lovers in your life and you can even use it on some stove tops at home.

Specifications

• RRP: $39.95 (US) / £47.50 (UK)
• Weight: 11oz / 311g
Materials: Stainless steel
• Brew capacity: 2.5oz
• Dimensions: Carry case: 3.6 in x 3 in x 5.9
• Best use: Car camping, glamping, bikepacking, road trips, home use

GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set 1 Cup: round the campfire

GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set

The folks at GSI Outdoors have identified a problem for outdoors lovers – that missing jolt of java to start the day – and put all their energy into solving it with the MiniEspresso Set (Image credit: GSI Outdoors)

I fall into the category of people who will happily camp in the desert wearing the same clothes for a week and miss nothing from civilization except for my morning coffee. Still, carrying a french press and messing around with it all has always seemed like far too much work, so I usually just go without and hope that we’ll be driving through a small town with a cafe at some point. Those days, however, have come to an end now I’ve got my hands on GSI Outdoors MiniEspresso Set.

I love everything about this gadget – it’s neat and compact and easy to pack in my backpack. It is really easy to operate using the same amount of coffee and water each time which is massively important to me as I’d definitely rather go without coffee than suffer through an instruction manual (though it comes with clear instructions for those of you with patience). It’s so simple that I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw my lovely espresso pouring through the spout after only a couple of minutes, and best of all it tasted absolutely delicious. It doesn’t necessarily deliver a lot of the crema that many people love atop their espresso, but I still gave it 5/5 for taste – strong and not bitter. Being made from stainless steel, I just let it cool off, dump out the grounds and give it a quick rinse or wipe before packing it away again.

Being meant for a single shot, it does have its limitations. If there are two of you, or you like a couple of shots to get going, you’ll need to wait for it to cool off before you handle it again, but you can always get the bigger version. 

It works well with my camping stove, and I was delighted to discover that it works at home on my enamel hob too, so that’s saved me about three grand in buying an espresso machine. I’ve already ordered one of these for my coffee-loving mum and won’t be suffering without coffee on any upcoming camping trips.

Here’s how it performed:

Coffee

Brews a really smooth and tasty single shot.

Ease of use

Simply screw the three parts together, add water and coffee, place on top of your stove and you’ll have a shot in a couple of minutes.

Durability

Made from stainless steel, this is built to last and extra protected by a robust carrying case.

Portability

This is lightweight and you can carry it in one hand so it is no problem for car camping and you can make it fit in your backpack if you prioritize coffee.

Capacity

Only brews one shot at a time; needs to cool off in between brews.

Value 

Great value for what you get, and you won’t blink at the price if you love coffee.

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.