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The Flash™from Jetboil has been one of our favorites for a while now. Super-compact, efficient, and easy to use, it’s pretty hard to beat. And if you can’t start your day without a fresh brewed cup of hot coffee, their Java model is the one for you. Building on the original Flash™, the Java takes it a step further and includes a French press style plunger, for brewing your morning cup right in the Jetboil’s one liter capacity cup.
For readers not already familiar with the Flash™, this innovative cooking system takes up very little space, as the base, stove, and even a canister of fuel all fit inside the cooking vessel when not in use. The Java kit includes the aforementioned plunger, which breaks down into three pieces so it can fit inside as well. (You can buy it separately for about $15, if you already have a Jetboil Flash™) Every part of the kit is well thought out, from top to bottom. The lid fits tightly to keep the contents inside, but it has a small hole so you can sip soup or a hot drink out of it, without fear of getting burned. Safety is further enhanced by the neoprene sleeve on the vessel, which has a large nylon strap for a handle, plus a window that turns orange when the contents are heated. The stove itself has an easy to use built-in ignition system, with a large folding gas valve control as well. Should you decide to use a pot or pan on the stove, a small steel fold-out support is included. At the very bottom is the orange base, which folds up to fit inside, and has two sets of grooves to accommodate different sized gas canisters. We prefer the smaller ones for backpacking, as they fit inside, and the larger ones for car camping, when weight and bulk is less of a concern.
Testing the Java was easy enough. We popped the lid off, dumped out the contents, and after a quick washing, assembled the stove and attached a gas canister. Open the valve, hit the ignition, and you’re in business. Two or three minutes later, the sleeve’s window turned orange to indicate the water was boiling. After shutting off the gas, we dropped four scoops of coffee into the water, and pushed the plunger in after it. And learned a quick lesson. Unlike a purpose-built coffee press, the tolerances are a bit loose with this kit. So we ended up with more than a few coffee grounds sneaking past the plunger. On our second attempt, we stirred a bit more, then used a scraper to make sure no coffee was stuck to the sides before we plunged. After waiting the recommended three minutes, we poured two small cups of coffee. Two deliciously rich cups of coffee, far more aromatic and rewarding than any instant coffee could ever be. There will still a few grounds in the bottom of each cup, but that’s pretty much expected with a press.
The verdict? Well, we already swear by the Flash™, and the Java does indeed improve on a great design. If you prefer a real cup of coffee when you’re out camping, you could buy a stand-alone coffee maker, or even a French press. But the Jetboil Flash™Java allows you to kill two birds with a single stone, and at a pretty reasonable (around $100) price tag. Check out the full line of Jetboil cooking systems at Jetboil.com.