GSI coffee grinder and french press

I'm planning a several week trip in my VW camper to Baja. As my traveling companion is particular about breakfast, I figured coffee was going to be awfully important. I will trust Tonx for our beans but I wanted to make certain her morning brew was special. GSI's hand operated conical burr grinder and a 1L insulated press seemed a great answer.

Last night, I tried the grinder. It is simple and easy to operate, as a grinder should be. Remove the handle and turn the wing-nut to adjust coarseness. A few cranks 'n tweaks and I had it just right. The grinder is cleverly designed to fit on top of most round coffee presses. It slides around a bit on the GSI Glacier 1L press that I paired it with, but is no problem to use.

The press worked as expected and the insulation had coffee drinkable one hour later. The Tonx coffee was delicious.

GSI Outdoors JavaGrind

GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless 1L Java Press


  1. Many reviews at says it breaks easily and is a pain to use. Maybe bring a back up grinder? That’s the great thing about car camping – you don’t have to worry about weight. Or bring a hammer.

    1. Reviews on the source link are also very poor.  It is cheap though.  For twice as much you can do very nicely.

      I think if you want a really great grinder without spending > $400 on an electric one, you should stick to hario and kyocera.  I’ve had the small kyocera for 3 years or so and take it on trips along with a bialetti all the time.  I think its around $75 and was my primary before I got the Vario-W.

      That or check out some of the old-timey ones on orphan espresso.

    2. My recommendations that I mentioned in another post:



      I like the Kyocera because of its solid espresso performance, but if you are only doing pour-over and press, def go with the hario.

  2. I have (“had,” actually) the same grinder.  It’s unsteady to use and difficult to get the right leverage to turn the crank.  After a few uses, the weld on the bottom (attaching the grind mechanism to the central shaft) snapped off.  I was out camping and, at that point, had to resort to smashing coffee beans in ziplock bags with large rocks.

    1. Having had the same problem before (the person bringing the coffee had bought nice gourmet without realizing that it was whole-bean), if you have a nested set of cups or pans you can grind between them. Or an improvised mortar/pestle with the butt of a sheath(ed) knife in a cup.

    2. Hey, wait a minute, it’s like you’re telling my camping story with the GSI grinder.

      I didn’t find it hard to grind with, the bottom nut is definitely a weak point and the weld wasn’t very good and snapped off. I ended up with the butt of an axe and a plastic bag to do some grinding/crushing.

    1. The aeropress is awesome for camping – I’ve brought it on a couple of canoe trips. But I pre-grind the coffee (I have a vacuum sealer so can break it up into smaller portions. At home I want fresh ground, but there are limits to what I’ll carry over a 3km portage.)

  3. I recently got a Hario Mini Mill to use with my Aeropress and it does a great job of grinding, but it takes forever. My arms are going to be huge after using it for a while. I can’t imagine using it for anything more than one or two cups at a time.

  4. Yup, I join the chorus: the welding on the bottom gives out, and you’re left with yet another paperweight. Yeah, someone more butch could probably weld it, but I have no equipment for it. 

  5. I make my coffee special by getting a 34 oz can of Beaumont coffee ready ground for $5 at Aldi and brewing it with my $4 plastic over the cup cone filter holder, though I may upgrade to a ceramic one that coffee oils will be less prone to stick to

  6. With a bit of rubber to make the lip of the aeropress wider a hario will screw onto an aeropress.

  7. No. No. This is an awful, evil device. I had it and threw it out. The problem – it is round and your turn the crank. There is no way to get a grip, being just about 110% of my actual gripping width. The only way I ever got enough torque was to hold the top. Pleasingly, the crank would just scrape my knuckles every rotation.

    1. Yes, I can’t see where you are supposed to grip it. Looks like a bad design. For camping, I just use pre-ground coffee and a little MSR mesh filter. It isn’t really camping unless you’ve walked there, so carrying something like this grinder just isn’t an option for me.

  8. I don’t really drink coffee much. But I don’t really think its camping unless there’s percolator coffee. 

    1.  Percolators are neat, but you really really have to watch them closely, and use a lighter bean since they can ramp-up the bitterness. Also rather heavy (I’d rather have a non glass french press anyways).

  9. Horrid design.  I have HUGE hands, and they are too small to grip this giant, handleless nightmare.  Mine never broke, because I only used it 4-5 times.

  10. At first I thought this might be an interesting, more compact candidate to replace my lightweight Hario Slim grinder, but after looking at some reviews I’ve decided against it. After adjusting the gizmo to give me just the right grind for my V60 setup, I wouldn’t want anything to jostle the external adjustment wingnut and completely throw off the grind size. Plus, it looks awkward to use unless you’re resting it on a container.

    Interesting idea though.

  11. Requiring a bare minimum of shower, toilet with running water and yes, a bed would be nice, my idea of roughing it in Baja is to rent a cabin at Rancho Meling, Mike’s Sky Ranch or Alfonsinas in San Luis Gonzaga.
    All three places shut down their diesel generators at 10:00 pm and BOOM!, the sky explodes with stars.

    Inexplicably, the Alfonsinas’ web page seems to be in Latin, Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, and so on and so forth.

  12. I’ve been using the Hario MSS-1B Mini Slim for about a year now and I have been nothing but impressed by it’s performance.  I was especially glad to have it during the 5 days of no power from Hurricane Sandy.  Combined with either the AeroPress or a Moka Pot, I was pretty much off the grid for my coffee needs.

  13. I concur with everyone else, I have had that same MEC grinder for a number of years.  It has lasted, but it is a serious PITA to use.  It is very hard to hold in one position to crank.  Only my sheer desperation for canoeing coffee has made me keep it and endure the 15 minute grinding sessions.

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