Coffee in the Field

Me enjoying my favorite coffee in my favorite city in my favorite jacket. It was a good day.

If you know me, you probably know I’m weird about coffee – or I guess I should say, picky. I’ve been going to one coffee house since I moved to Austin (love you, Caffe Medici) and they’re pretty much my standard for all other coffee.

When I travel, I usually pick up a 10oz bag of Spyhouse Coffee Roasters’ Orion Espresso Beans and grind them in a mechanical grinder. Then, I heat some water and use my Aerobie AeroPress to make a decent cup of espresso. Even then, the AeroPress doesn’t have the high-pressure that you can find at a quality shop, so it’s a sacrifice of quality to begin with.

Last year’s AeroPress setup. Looking back, I’ve matured quite a bit in my AeroPress methodology.

Other methods, I’ve tried: Bialetti Moka, Vremi, french press, old school drip. For a number of reasons, these methods all suck. And sucky coffee sucks. Hard.

So, when I started talking to a trusted barista/coffee tech friend about brewing methodologies while backpacking (we’re on the same wavelength with the ultralight hiking mentality), I was appalled to learn that he uses instant coffee. I’m thinking, this guy’s a professional at a great coffee shop and he’s starting his day with instant coffee? Either he’s more open-minded than I am about what constitutes acceptable coffee, or he’s onto something.

So I went home and ordered what he said was truly good instant mix created by a guy who has a passion for delicious coffee – Kalle Freese. In fact, this guy was ranked 9th best barista in the world in 2015 and his branded coffee is award-winning on several fronts. A few days later, I received 8 little vials of freeze-dried, pre-ground instant coffee mix and prepared a trial cup in less than five minutes. Thus began my honest appreciation for Sudden Coffee. I took a sip with caution. (Hmm…this is…good…) Then, I took a sip and paid closer attention to what I was drinking. (Texture is great, not gritty. Full flavored. Rich. Smooth.) And before I knew it, I was sitting on my porch totally proved wrong – this company did something nobody else has likely ever done. They engineered great instant coffee.

Sudden Coffee in the field!

Plus, the Head of Coffee, Umeko Motoyoshi, emailed me to confirm my order (I liked it enough to increase the number of vials I’ll receive per month) and he’s a really cool guy. Overall, they have super friendly and fun customer service.

I don’t want to take too much from their story – for that, you can visit their site – but I will say that I’ve had a few cups of their Helvetica blend, and it’s damn good. I’m psyched to start my mornings in the field with their coffee and I’m also thrilled to leave behind the 17oz of equipment that I usually lug around for brewing. I’ll still miss my favorite coffee from the coffee shop love of my life, but that’ll make the homecoming cup all the more exciting when I get back. And there’s certainly room in my life for Freese’s Sudden Coffee.

My Fia enjoying a (caffeine-free) steamer from Medici. Maybe when my kids are older, they’ll appreciate camp coffee, too.


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