REVIEW: VSSL Java Coffee Grinder
Who says you can’t have a great cup of coffee while traveling or camping? Certainly not VSSL, whose Java Coffee Grinder was purpose-built for grinding beans on the go. This hand-cranked model works exceptionally well, churning out finely-ground coffee with minimal effort in under a minute. In fact, the rugged stainless steel cylinder is so good at its job that you’re liable to ditch the grinder you currently use at home. But this precision instrument doesn’t come cheap, although it is made with such quality and care, it is likely to become a family heirloom.
Design (5) ★★★★★
As with most of the products that VSSL makes, the Java Coffee Grinder has been precision crafted in every way. So much so, that the 6″ by 2″ cylinder looks and feels like a work of art, which may leave some questioning whether or not it should accompany them on their adventures. Rest assured, however, this is a product that is built to survive in the outdoors. The coffee grinder’s stainless steel body is practically bulletproof and all of its various parts fit together neatly, allowing it to deliver top-notch performance even when conditions are not always optimal.
VSSL has equipped the Java with what it calls a “clip and flip” top. In a sense, this is a built-in carabiner of sorts that allows the grinder to be attached to a spare carry loop on the outside of a backpack. This is not only a secure way of hauling the coffee grinder around, it also keeps it close at hand should you want to brew up a few cups throughout the day.
Because it is made from such high-quality materials, the VSSL Java weighs nearly 14 ounces (396 g). For ultralight backpackers, that’s probably too much additional weight for such a luxury item. But for anyone looking to treat themselves to an outstanding cup of coffee while camping in remote places, it is worth every one of those additional grams.
Ease of Use (5) ★★★★★
The Java Coffee Grinder couldn’t possibly be any easier to use. Simply pop off the top, pack the grinder full of beans, reseal the lid, select a grind setting, and start turning the crank. 60 seconds later those beans will have been ground into a fine powder ready to be filtered into a cup of coffee. Quite honestly, that’s all there is to it and after using the Java a time or two, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it in the past.
VSSL includes a small brush with the Java Coffee Grinder that aids nicely in clean up. With a little care after use, the product is always ready to go the next time you’re ready to make a fresh cup. A backcountry cup of joe never tasted so good.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
It is difficult to express just how impressive the VSSL Java Coffee Grinder is in every way. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you’ll still be impressed by the fantastic build quality and performance, even if you don’t quite understand all of the hype. On the other hand, if you happen to be a coffee aficionado who thought you had to sacrifice on quality while camping or traveling, you’re absolutely going to love this product. It is truly a game-changer and will likely may you very popular around the campsite when you break it out.
As noted, the main sticking point behind this well-crafted grinder isn’t performance and build quality, it is the price. At $160 it definitely falls into the luxury item category. At that price point it isn’t a product for everyone. But for the backpacker, camper, or traveler who doesn’t mind splurging and can truly appreciate the level of engineering that went into making the Java, it is certainly worth every penny.
Add one to your camping and travel gear here.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!