Tested in the Cairngorms

Used extensively by Cairngorm Treks throughout the Cairngorms, surrounding areas, and also a recent mutli-day expedition throughout Skye in Autumn and Winter

When considering what pieces of kit to take on a lightweight expedition, a coffee press probably isn't high on the 'essential' list. But then again, we are into those colder months and as guides our job is provide our clients with as much comfort as possible. So, at a mere 44 grams, the MSR Windburner Coffee press has made its way into our kit on many occasions. Freeze dried coffee just doesn't always hit the spot, especially those early starts, while a rejuvenating cup of 'proper' coffee perfectly compliments those morning mountain views.

It uses a very simple design, with the complete kit consisting of three separate parts; a two-part plunger that screws together, which then attaches to the sieve to create a cafetière type press. Each component is made to a high quality and sits together with ease, feeling strong when attached. On other models with a similar design we have noticed weak areas which over time might wear and become unusable, but with the MSR version it is a solid unit that we believe will last a very long time.

As with a cafetière used in the home, it follows exactly the same principle. Boil water, add coffee (we found 3 teaspoons the perfect amount of coffee for a full pot), place plunger on the top (you can place the plunger through the hole on the Windburner lid to retain extra heat whilst brewing), wait a few minutes to brew, press down the plunger, pour into cup. Anyone who has used a cafetière before will be at ease with this product and over time we all adapt the process to suit our personal tastes. With this integrating seamlessly as part of the Windburner system, any remaining liquid will stay warm for easily enough time to have a second cup when spending time round camp.

A couple of points to raise when using the coffee press would be not to fully push the plunger to the bottom of the Windburner, this can make the unit hard to remove and there is some embarrassment when you pull the press back out with enough required force for the coffee remains to spill out and onto your nice mountain top. The other point is that when dismantling the press to store within the MSR Windburner system, (which can be placed at the bottom of the pot inside the cup) we found it much easier to place the MSR coffee press in your dedicated hot drinks bag as it can often be hard to remove the cup on the bottom of the stove, especially if carrying a little bit of moisture from previous use. Also, although the plunger has an attachment point for storage, it can often become separated so placing everything in a secure place keeps it all safe and ready for use.

It's safe to say that we find this type of system for making coffee whilst out on the hill to be our favorite, with it quickly becoming one of our most liked luxury items enjoyed by ourselves and whoever we would be guiding. There is a small sticking point, and this would all come down to personal choice, is what to do with the coffee remains? Although burying the remains would be an easy option with little damage, we tended to find that is was more responsible to scoop out and bag as much of the remaining content as possible minimizing what would be left to clean with water. This obviously leads to a further point, which is choosing a location to use the press and finding a location near to a water source, or the carrying of extra water for cleaning.

Our Verdict

Quite simply the best solution we have used to make a pot of proper coffee whilst out in the wilderness. Simple in design, simple to use. An instant hit with ourselves and everyone who has joined us on our recent adventures. At only 44 grams and working as an integrated part of the stove system we typically take with us for multi day trekking, it's a luxury worth taking. MSR also make similar versions for the 1L Windburner Pot and Reactor Stoves.

Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...