Traveling coffee addicts need the Soto Helix Coffee Maker. We at HI Travel Tales are coffee addicts. Yes, we admit it. But we are also coffee snobs. Just any old cuppa won’t cut it. We want a good, full-bodied one from quality beans. When packing in the backcountry, car camping, or bouncing between hotels and rental abodes, you never know what kinda brew you’re going to end up with. That’s why we’ve taken to packing along our own press mug or cone/filter with our favorite grind.
Thing is, HI Travel Tales likes it light, so although a press mug may do just fine tied to a pack (not always though), it will never do taking up valuable territory or weight in a suitcase or urban pack. That leaves us at the whim of the local shop or hotel room coffee maker – and that doesn’t always make us too happy. She doesn’t like Him grumpy, and He most certainly doesn’t like Her sans-coffee grumpy.
We’ve tried a lot of contraptions over the years – and have continued to beg manufacturers to come up with a super lightweight portable cone.
Soto finally did it. Its Helix drip coffee cone ($19.95) is a delight – no, a delight times two. At 46 grams (1.6 ounces), it transports flat and light — only about 4 inches each in length and width and less than an inch thick.
The beauty of the Soto Helix coffee maker is that it won’t just collapse flat like some others during use. The Helix needs a push to open it, rather like a coiled spring; which prevents the possibility of an “ouch” of a collapse happening mid-brew with boiling water suddenly pouring into a suddenly non-existent cone. This is a thin stainless steel (18-8 gauge) that reminds us a bit of a high-tech Jack in the Box. It folds down flat when you tuck the little protruding mug supports into its rim, but pops open like a spring when you untuck them. Genius, really.
The upper cone part can get a bit warmer than warm, but the supports that hold it on top of a mug do not. One other plus: Being a high-grade stainless steel, it cleans up in a jiff and won’t stain brown from your coffee (or tea).
The good news is that Soto Helix coffee maker uses simple, paper, #2 coffee filters, available anywhere; the bad news is, it uses paper filters, leaving you something to discard. Still, they will biodegrade, and they can go into your garden compost – if you are somewhere that composts.
The cone filter, a stack of paper filters, and even a decent amount of coffee in a baggie all fit into its own nylon, mesh, drawstring bag.
We love this little gizmo so much we’d give the Soto Helix Coffee Maker two HITT Seal of Approvals if we could. Ah, it’s the small things that keep us happy.