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VSSL Nest Pour-over Kit :: Field Tested


When VSSL released its Nest Pour-over kit in early 2024, promising a bombproof, go-anywhere all-in-one solution to coffee on the go, it faced long odds as a substitute for my evolved camp kit: the Lardera Chestnut C2 Max hand grinder, Hario V60 metal dripper and stainless Able Kone filter. This durable and lightweight combination has never let me down. But the VSSL kit screams for contention, if for no other reason than it all packs into a single, beautiful cylinder that somehow fits two double-wall-insulated, 10-ounce cups, a splash-resistant lid, stainless-steel mesh filter that sits neatly into the dripper, and a Java G25 grinder that packs into the chamber. If this thing worked, it would be far more convenient and compact than my setup.

Spoiler: the kit does its job gracefully, even as it won’t replace my lineup anytime soon.

The Java G25 grinder might be the best part of the pour-over kit, but I did have a couple of minor nits with it. Most of the handle unfolds from the 6061-aircraft-grade aluminum top with a few twists of the fingers; then a push button opens the lid and the chamber where the fresh beans go. Unscrew the base, where grounds are stored, and you’ll find an ergonomic handle tucked inside, attached to the adjustment dial. It’s a clever place to stow that part of the handle, though it won’t go back into its container without twisting the grind size to a fine enough setting to expose enough of the head to which the handle piece attaches. In other words, if your preferred grind size is sea salt, you’ll have to turn a few clicks toward finer, reattach the end of the handle, and then return to where you had it the next time you brew.

My other small beef with the grinder is that it only packs in about 25 grams of beans, even though that’s an entirely reasonable amount to brew a 10-ounce cup of coffee, which makes perfect sense for the size of cups that come with the VSSL kit. My daily coffee indulgence is about 400 grams, and I typically use 28 grams of coffee to get there, so if this grinder could accommodate just a few more grams, it’d be slightly better.

But for a 10-ounce cup, it’s plenty. Alternatives tend to get hung up on this or that bean as I’m working my way through a grind, requiring an extra kick of forearm force to get moving again. The VSSL is somehow smooth throughout.

As for the rest of the 11.5-inch-tall, 6-piece kit, it marries elegance and function beautifully. Because the dripper and filter screw into the awaiting cup thanks to its dual-thread design, the whole apparatus weighs just 36.6 ounces and is super stable. The flexible steel mesh of the dripper makes for a nicely timed brew, allowing water to pass through it not too quickly and not too slowly.

What the VSSL does better than the best pour-over systems is all about portability and form factor. There’s no other system out there offering a grinder, brewer, and two insulated cups within a single cylinder. You could even store a few rounds of beans in the leftover space. It’s a Bond-level innovation in coffee-on-the-go.

$225 | vsslgear.com

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Over two decades, Winston Ross worked his way from cub reporter at a newspaper in the Inland Northwest to senior writer at Newsweek Magazine. He has won multiple national and regional awards for his work on investigative and longform narrative projects. In 2020, he bought a Ram Promaster and tracked down a California couple who’d amassed a mighty Instagram following of life in their own van, and talked them into traveling north to live in his home (and Airbnb) to do a build. When the van isn’t rented as a part of GoCamp’s fleet, he coaxes it to favorite whitewater rafting and mountain biking destinations across the American West.