I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Oh, I’ll go to Starbucks or Tim Horton’s in a pinch, but I will complain. But if I had my way, every cup of coffee I drank would involve a burr grinder (I’m telling you, the grind is the most important part of a good coffee), the right ratio of beans to water, the right water temperature, and the right amount of time. I’m mostly an espresso guy — a tiny bit of cream included — and we’ve got a decent enough machine on our counter that I’m generally pretty happy to wake up. But when I’m camping on a surf trip somewhere? Cowboy coffee with a bunch of grinds in the bottom of the mug? Uneven, burnt flavor created by a moka pot over a fire? French pressed until the only flavor in the coffee is bitterness? No thanks. For my money, an Aeropress has been the way to go when you’re out in the sticks somewhere looking for waves or chasing snow… or it was until a few weeks ago, when I got a little coffee kit from VSSL.
Now, this doesn’t matter in the slightest when it comes to the actual taste of coffee, but man, whoever designed VSSL’s Nest is on point. It’s a wonder of engineering in my books. About the size of a regular thermos, it’s half an inch under a foot tall. It weighs only 21 ounces — empty, of course — and when full can hold 10 fluid ounces. The whole thing is made from 80 percent recycled stainless steel so you know it’s not going to end up in the landfill after a particularly rugged adventure.
So here’s why it’s so perfect for outdoor adventuring: it’s a pour-over kit, first and foremost. That means you simply dump your ground coffee into a flexible mesh cone and pour hot water onto them. It’s a five-piece kit that includes two 10-ounce double walled stainless-steel mugs with a BPA free splash free lid (because coffee with friends is always better), the pour-over dripper I mentioned, and a storage container in the middle that, fits VSSL’s Java G25 Grinder. Although the latter is not included in the kit, I’d seriously recommend getting one with it. A regular grinder with a blade that spins just chops the coffee beans up, burning them in the process and giving you an inconsistent grind that won’t result in the best coffee. Burr grinders, however, give you the most consistent grind. And if you’re an espresso person, you won’t find a finer grind anywhere else.
If you’re like me and destroy pretty much all of your possessions within a few weeks of having them, you’re likely on the lookout for things that last. VSSL’s Nest kit is tough and almost maintenance free. It resists corrosion, and if you simply give it a rinse with water and soap, it will never smell like old, rancid coffee. Take care of it, and it’ll last you a lifetime. The makers at VSSL are so confident that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
The VSSL Nest pour-over coffee kit is built for people who enjoy life a little off the beaten path, but also enjoy a really, really good cup of coffee while they’re off that path. It’s easy to use, easy to carry, and, most importantly, makes a damn good cup of coffee wherever you may find yourself, whether it’s a deserted beach in front of a firing wave or somewhere in the backcountry chasing powder.