Trumbull native creates French press coffee to go

Trumbull native Ben Ebersold hopes his invention frees coffee enthusiasts to have French press coffee on the go.
Trumbull native Ben Ebersold hopes his invention frees coffee enthusiasts to have French press coffee on the go.

When he was a student at Trumbull High School, Benjamin Ebersold spent a lot of time with the fine arts crowd. And if there wasn’t an art implement in their hands, chances are there was a coffee cup.

These days, Ebersold still spends a lot of time with a coffee cup in his hands, but that is mostly because he has invented a new hand-held brewing system that he hopes will change the way people think about their morning (and afternoon) joe.

“Coffee made in a French press has a body and flavor that coffee lovers crave,” Ebersold said. “A friend of mine mentioned that there was no way to have French press coffee to go, and the idea grew from there.”

Ebersold, who works as a designer for Trumbull-based SCS Direct, a product development company that includes the Kuissential brand of kitchen supplies, spent a year working on a solution before coming up with what he calls the Versa travel French press.

A French press allows the coffee grounds to float freely in hot water until the user presses a screen down to isolate the grounds and allow the coffee to be poured into a cup. Other travel French press setups exist, but they all share a common problem, Ebersold said.

“When you press the grounds to the bottom of the travel mug, the problem is that they are compacted at the bottom and remain in contact with the water, making the coffee increasingly bitter as you drink it,” Ebersold said.

To brew coffee in the Versa, he said, you first add coffee and hot water. After two to three minutes, you pull on the upper handle to lift the grounds up and out of the water, then remove the upper assembly and replace it with a spill-proof lid and dump the spent grounds into the trash.

“This is not something you would use on the train on your way to work, but you could make yourself a cup to take with you, or have it on your desk to sip throughout the day,” Ebersold said.

The first batch of Versas have been manufactured and are awaiting packaging. The Versa is expected to retail for about $35, making it competitive with numerous other vacuum-insulated stainless coffee mugs, but with the added feature of including a brewing system, Ebersold said. Versas could be in stores as early as spring of 2017, but SCS is currently accepting pre-orders on its website,