Performing like a simplified version of the French Press, this 12-ounce REI branded vacuum mug results in some great-tasting coffee. The sheer simplicity of it makes me wonder why nobody else got this product out earlier. You just spoon course coffee grounds directly into the aluminum mug, pour hot water into it, and screw on the filter lip.
That's how you drink it, but screwing on the additional top cap keeps the thing sealed up completely and it then functions as a thermos. In my tests the coffee stayed very hot for over five hours in a cold car---impressive. That heat-retaining ability can be a curse though if you're just looking to fill it up and hop into your car for a commute. If you put in boiling water it's going to stay lip-burning for quite a while unless you take the filter top off and let it air out for a while. The mug itself stays amazingly cool to the touch though; you can't tell from feel whether there's anything hot inside or not.
Cleaning this travel mug and coffee maker is easy. There are no filters and no parts besides the three you see here.
This is more of an item for campers or backcountry skiers than it is for regular travelers, but it would be a great gift for someone heading off to a region where good coffee is hard to find (like most parts of Asia). The $25 price tag seems a bit steep for a Chinese-made bit of aluminum, screen, and plastic, but considering the almost magical insulation properties, it's not an item easily duplicated by knock-offs.
Get the REI Vacuum Infuser Mug.
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