Editor’s note: this Espro Ultralight travel coffee press review is compliments of Dan Zeppelin, who works as a dentist during the day and explores Colorado by foot, bike and ski when not working.
It’s amazing the feelings a great cup of coffee can stir up when enjoyed in a beautiful setting. The Espro Ultralight travel coffee press brought the taste and aroma of great quality coffee to some remote spots many miles away from the nearest barista.
Initial reaction & testing location
Normally when heading off on an adventure, my caffeine fix is relegated to impatiently waiting at the drive-through window of a soulless corporate coffee chain, choking down a dreaded cup of stale gas station coffee, or boiling up water on the camp stove to be mixed with instant coffee powder. These options deliver the caffeine fix I may be looking for, but they never bring up the feelings I get from a truly great cup of coffee. The Espro Ultralight Travel Coffee Press and travel mug changed all that. This travel coffee press allowed me to enjoy great tasting fresh coffee while hiking to view Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, on a gravel/ single track bike adventure, and while fly fishing the Gold Medal Trout waters of Colorado’s Blue River. In addition, it has become my go to coffee cup for my daily work commute.
- Espro touts the Ultralight as “the lightest double wall stainless insulated hydration bottle in the world.” The Ultralight weighs 210g; almost 10% lighter than the competition.
- It’s the lightest double wall stainless vacuum-insulated coffee or tea brewer ever made. Keeps beverage hot for hours or cool for hours.
- The Ultralight travel coffee press makes barista quality coffee anytime, anywhere. It incorporates a double filtration system.
- Holds 16 oz as a travel mug
- Filters are BPA, BPS and phthalate free
- Stainless steel container, double-walled, vacuum-insulated
How did the travel coffee press perform?
The Espro Ultralight Travel mug and Hydration bottle is the right size to be slipped into the water bottle sleeve of any backpack. The press size fits securely into a standard bicycle water bottle cage. The leak proof lid securely seals the bottle. A strong loop-shaped handle integrated in the lid nicely held a carabineer for hooking the bottle onto a waist pack gear loop for quick access.
The travel coffee press holds an internal volume of 16 ounces. This size provided the amount of coffee I would generally look for if ordering from a café (comparable to a ‘Grande’ cup at your local chain). A bigger item would be cumbersome to carry along for a hike or ride. Smaller would leave you yearning for a few more sips than it could deliver. The item’s name showcases the other great feature of this size. Espro brands this as the ‘Ultralight’. With a reported weight of only 210 grams I did not hesitate to slide it into my backpack or bottle cage. I have been hesitant in the past to bring along other insulated bottles on previous adventures due their weight.
The dilemma used to be choosing between a heavy insulated thermos and cold coffee. The Ultralight provided a double walled insulated bottle with a minimal weight penalty as compared to a non-insulated water bottle. The double walled insulation kept drinks hot or cold until they were ready to be enjoyed at a scenic rest spot along the trail. The packaging stated you could keep drinks hot or cold for up to 8 hours. I drank my hot beverages long before this, but they did prove to still be piping hot 2+ hours into a cool morning ride.
Using the Press
The French Press system was easy & reliable to operate with just a few simple steps
- Place 3-4 Tablespoons of your favorite coarse ground coffee into the bottle
- Pour in hot water & stir
- Slide in the filter and drinking lid
- Wait 4 minutes
- Slowly press down the filter
- Seal with the leak proof lid until your are ready to enjoy
The Espro Ultralight has a patented double filter system with extra fine screening to keep grit out of you drink. This system seemed to work well and I never felt like I was chewing through grounds or wiping them off me teeth after drinking. The double filter system is also designed to be used with loose-leaf tea, or with a paper filter for those that prefer a pour over style of coffee. Once you press down the plunger, extraction stops, which keeps flavors ideal even if the coffee or tea is enjoyed several hours after being made.
Cleanup was as easy as pouring out the grounds, rinsing out the smooth interior walls of the container, and spraying off the separated double filter mechanisms. If used on a camping trip away from running water one could easily clean the filters by submerging in just a few ounces of water.
In addition, it helps the environment by keeping disposable cups out of our landfills. With a retail price of $39.95 it will pay for itself quickly by avoiding expensive and time wasting trips to your local coffee drive through. I think you will find it a great addition to your list of go to gear for your next adventure.
Room for improvement
As someone that enjoys a great cup of coffee, but hadn’t had much experience with a French Press I was concerned with not knowing how to use the system properly. It proved easy once I found the instructions integrated into the packaging. Finding the easy to follow instructions was the only bump in an otherwise great experience. This delay was more due to my haste in opening the packaging.
The Espro Ultralight travel coffee press comes packaged with a nice looking marketing sleeve wrapped around its mid-section. Excited to try out my new toy that had arrived in the mail, I quickly pulled off the sleeve and set it aside. The easy to read and follow instructions were printed on the inside of this sleeve. After a few moments of confusion I went back to the original packaging sleeve and found the detailed instructions. The instructions said to fill the ‘MAX’ line. I did find it difficult to see where this line was unless the lighting was perfect. Perhaps future versions can have this line scored into the lining a bit deeper. Espro’s website has great how-to videos on use of the mug, but I would have appreciated an easier to find copy of the printed instructions.
The Espro Ultralight comes in four different exterior finish colors (Black, Grey, Chalk White, & Stainless). The cup I demoed was chalk white. My only gripe (and it’s stretch to call this a gripe): the chalk white finish attracted dirt and scratched up easily. Users planning on using the cup in muddy or gritty environments should opt for the stainless finish. Painted finishes should be plenty durable for the typical/indoor use.