Espro Ultralight vs Travel Press: Which Portable Travel Mug French Press is Best?

Espro Ultralight vs Travel Press
Espro is a somewhat new company that entered into the specialty coffee equipment market back in the early 2000’s.

The company has launched products via Kickstarter and in it’s early days made premium quality and innovative french press coffee makers that were capable of filtering the sediment from your coffee like no other coffee press ever had.

After just a couple years Espro was making a very well regarded line of french press coffee makers (among a whole host of other products) in various styles, colors, and sizes.

The Original Espro Travel Press

Espro Travel Coffee Press

Their original Travel Press was a hit with me instantly, it really was a marriage of the best quality french press I’ve ever used before with the best quality insulated travel mug Id ever used before.

The crazy thing was that the price, although expensive for a travel mug, was not much more expensive than many of the other top-of-the-line travel mugs on the market made by companies like Thermos, RTIC, Yeti, and Contigo.

The Ultralight Travel Press

Espro Ultralight Travel Coffee Press
In 2018 Espro unveiled a new version of their Travel Press that had a larger capacity for liquid, was more slender, much lighter, but every bit as good at making coffee.

In fact the Ultralight actually uses the exact same filter/plunger as the Travel Press, they are interchangeable.

Anyway, with the similarities in style, price, and function it’s a natural question to ask, “What’s the difference between the Espro Ultralight and the Travel Press?

A Summary of the Differences Between the Travel Press and the Ultralight

  1. The Ultralight is taller and slightly skinnier allowing it to hold more fluid ounces, 16 ounces compared to 12 ounces in the original Travel Press.
  2. The Ultralight is a lot lighter than the Travel Press. It weighs in at 210 grams or 7.4 ounces making it the most lightweight double wall vacuum insulated beverage bottles or travel mugs of it’s kind. In comparison the standard Travel Press is 10.4 ounces.
  3. The Ultralight includes a looped lid perfect for carabiner travel. You can clip the tumbler (with it’s id on) to a belt loop, strap, backpack, or anything really.
  4. The Ultralight Press is just as good at making coffee but with it’s decreased weight and “heft” it is not going to be as rugged. If you frequently take day hikes or go car camping then the ultralight may be great for durability but for back-country backpacking the durability of the original Travel Press might be best.
  5. Both coffee presses come in a wide varity of colors but the basic Travel Press comes in more color options including purple and yellow, colors that arent available on the Ultralight (for now).
  6. Last main difference is that the Travel Press is best used as a french press travel mug but the Ultralight Press can easily be used as a hydration bottle. You don’t have to use it for coffee preparation if you don’t want to.

Now, those are the main differences but if you want to know more detail then here are a few more notes to keep you reading.

More Comparison Detail

The older style Espro Travel Coffee Press will physically hold 15 ounces of liquid. If you have the brewing plunger in the mug though you can only brew 12 ounces of tea at once or 10 ounces of coffee at once. Many people don’t like this, myself included.

A 10-ounce serving of coffee is easily a fine portion for most people but I always want more, 16 ounces would be better in my book.

As for the newer Ultralight Espro Press the size is slightly bigger, but not by much. As a stand alone tumbler it will hold 16 ounces meaning it will only brew 13 ounces of tea or 11 ounces of coffee at a time. Sure, that’s 10% more coffee but you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

Are They Both Leak Proof?
One other point that should be brought up is that if the ultralight is lighter and less “strong” then does that mean it isn’t leakproof or insulated?

The answer to these questions is no, the newer style mug/press is still well insulated and leak-proof.

The insulation may not last quite as long as the Travel Press due to the the more slender shape but it should be perfectly acceptable to the vast majority of people.

What About Filtration?
Both mugs were designed to use the exact same style of plunger filter combo. They are so similar in fact that you can interchange your plungers between the two models and not be able to tell the difference.

The filter system that comes with the Ultralight coffee press is the same patented double filtration system combined with ultra fine mesh that is much more restrictive and tight than a standard french press mesh strainer.

With the coffee plunger that comes with either model you are even able to insert a special paper filter to eliminate even more fines from your coffee along with the oils making your french press mug feel and taste more like pour over coffee.

For more thoughts on their differences make sure to watch the following video:

If They Are So Similar Then Which One Is Best?

Obviously I can’t answer this question for everybody.

I love being outdoors and treking around the environment so I love the heavy duty feel and lasting quality that I will get with the basic Travel Press but I also know that more coffee is better than less so I like the additional size (even though it’s slightly bigger) of the Ultralight.

If you are absolutely concerned mostly with weight and keeping things as light as possible then clearly the Ultralight travel press is the way to go. You can easily save 3 ounces in a pack by swapping over to this mug.

Most people won’t need the reduction in weight though and even if you don’t care about the weight being so low you may still love the loop clip that is only available on the Ultralight.

In terms of function and ability to make a good cup of coffee they will both perform virtually identically although I would expect coffee to stay hotter longer in the Travel Press over the Ultralight because the body is thicker and you would expect the insulation to perform better over the span of 4-10 hours.

Neither Are Cheap

The last main point of comparison between these two coffee brewing mugs is price; neither are cheap.

Both of these units are priced right at the top of the price range for all insulated french press travel mugs.

These mugs are still affordable for the vast majority of shoppers and they do come in well under $50 but neither are trying to be the cheap mug for everybody.

Having said that the original Travel Press does usually sell for less than the Ultralight so if you are not able to decide on function and style alone then base your decision on price and the factional savings you’ll get going with the older style Travel Press.

You can see pricing for the two models here.

Espro Travel Press:
https://www.amazon.com/Espro-Travel-Coffee-Press-Stainless/dp/B00UTO8YKU/

Espro Ultralight Travel press
https://www.amazon.com/Espro-5116C-BS-Ultralight-Insulated-Stainless/dp/B011WTW618/

If price is a bigger concern for you then please take a look at some of the other options on the market.

Espro is awesome but there are a few other brands that make amazing coffee press mugs that can be had for less.

On the home page of this site I have outlined all of my main thoughts on all of the top mugs from the high priced options right down to the best of the low priced mugs.

You can jump direct to those reviews by clicking this link.

You can also see direct comparisons of the Espro Travel Press to the Bodum Travel Press here. Bodum sells one of the bestselling options of this style, not because it’s the best and not because it’s the cheapest, but because it is priced in the middle and serves the vast majority of people with what they want most.