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Jetboil French Press and Companion Cup REVIEW

Two accessories to add utility to your Jetboil Personal Cooking System.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-11-29 03:00:00-07

Introduction

Jetboil French Press and Companion Cup REVIEW - 1
The Jetboil Personal Cooking System with French Press (lower left) and Companion Cup (right).

The Jetboil integrated canister stove represents a major technological advance, giving Jetboil a firm foothold in the canister stove market. Now Jetboil is introducing accessories that make the Jetboil Personal Cooking System (PCS) even more versatile. For Jetboil users who take their camp coffee seriously, the new Jetboil French Press delivers freshly brewed java with a nominal increase in carry weight. And for group cooking, the new Jetboil Companion Cup provides a strategy to save a little weight by letting one burner do double (or triple) duty. I evaluated the logistics and efficacy of these new gadgets, and report my findings in this review.

What's Good

  • French Press is lightweight and makes great fresh-brewed coffee
  • Companion Cup saves time and weight by sharing a burner

What's Not So Good

  • Cup readily boils over (making a mess) if filled with over 2 cups of liquid
  • Coffee grounds are messy to clean up
  • Proper disposal of coffee grounds in the backcountry requires a special effort

Specifications

Jetboil French Press

Jetboil Companion Cup

Model year

20052005

Weight oz (g)

Lid 1.2 (35)
Press 0.8 (22)
Total 2.0 (58)
Lid 1.1 (30)
Cup 6.7 (191)
Measuring/drinking cup 1.0 (27)
Total 8.8 (248)

MSRP

$19.95$29.95

Performance

Jetboil French Press and Companion Cup REVIEW - 2
The Jetboil French Press comes with a special lid with a hole in the center for the shaft. The press fits snugly in the Jetboil cup.

In our first look and review of the Jetboil Personal Cooking System we were delighted with its integrated design, wind resistance, and low fuel consumption. I found the Jetboil French Press to be lightweight, increasing the carry weight only 0.8 ounces if you substitute the press' special cap for the original one. Basically the process is: boil water, turn off stove, add coffee, wait a few minutes, push the press down, enjoy your freshly-brewed coffee. It's very tempting to fill the Jetboil cup above the 2-cup fill mark in order to brew a bigger batch of coffee. If you do, be advised that it will readily boil over, so you have to watch it carefully. (Note: overheating the fuel canister with boiling liquid is a potentially dangerous situation!) With repeated use I found that the French Press loosened up some, resulting in some coffee grounds in the bottom of my cup.

I know it is hard to tell this to a coffee fanatic, but you pay a price for that special cup of joe. Cleaning up the Press and Cup requires some extra effort, and don't you dare rinse it out in a nearby stream or lake! The proper Leave No Trace technique is to dig a 4-6 inch deep hole and bury the grounds, or pack them out.

With a Companion Cup or two, cooking is a continuous process with one burner, which saves time and the weight of one burner (6.1 ounces). I found it convenient and relaxing to share a beverage with my spouse (using the cup that attaches to the bottom of the stove), while our dinner or breakfast cooked in the Companion Cup. We use the "boil and set" cooking method, where we boil water (usually about 2-3 cups), add our dehydrated food, bring it back to boiling (watching carefully so it doesn't spill over), then turn off the stove and let it set for 10 minutes. This system works great with the Jetboil. The cup barely has enough capacity to hold dinner for two, but plenty of capacity for one. This approach utilizes the full capacity of the Jetboil cup without a spillover.

The Jetboil burner (along with a 4-ounce fuel canister) can be stowed in one cup, while the French Press can be stowed in the Companion Cup. A 4-ounce fuel canister fits inside the Jetboil cup, but the larger 8-ounce canister does not. The plastic measuring/drinking cup is difficult to remove from the bottom of the Jetboil pot, so you can save a little grief and weight (1 ounce) by leaving it at home if it is not needed.

Overall, the Companion Cup strategy works. You can share coffee from the Jetboil cup while your oatmeal is cooking in a Companion Cup. Then you can brew another cup of joe when the oatmeal comes off, etc.

Using a Companion Cup with the Jetboil PCS lets you easily cook for two or more people and reduces the weight per person to 10.8 ounces. The extra weight of the French Press (0.8 ounces) is also more justified when it is used for two or more people.

What's Unique

First, accolades to Jetboil for developing the first integrated canister fuel cooking system. The Jetboil PCS raises the bar for wind resistance and fuel efficiency that traditional canister fuel burners cannot match. These new accessories help expand the utility of the Jetboil PCS.

Recommendations for Improvement

While we praise the Jetboil's integration, wind resistance, and fuel efficiency, we also note that the system is heavy at 14.9 ounces, compared to a conventional burner and cook pot. One of the major limitations of the Jetboil PCS is its 1-pint safe fill capacity, which basically makes it a solo cooking system. Why not offer another Companion Cup with twice the capacity, so the Jetboil can cook for either one or two people? That would really increase its utility - take the smaller cup to cook for one, take the larger cup (or both) to cook for two, or take multiple larger cups to cook for a group.


Citation

"Jetboil French Press and Companion Cup REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/jetboil_french_press_and_companion_cup_review.html, 2005-11-29 03:00:00-07.

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