If you’re the type of person that enjoys coffee, and the process of making a cup every morning, hearing the phrase instant coffee is probably more than enough to make you gag. It conjures up an image of little brown granules floating in a microwaved cup of water, slowly turning the clear fluid into a hand held mug of silty earth tones as it’s stirred. With little grinds clinging to the handle of the spoon, trying their best not to dissolve.
Mentally bring that coffee to your lips. It’s steaming, but that’s only because it’s a few degrees warmer than room temperature. Now drink.
Even though it’s not real, have you turned into Ryan Gosling who won’t eat his cereal?
Instant coffee is historically gross. It comes in a big tub and all it takes is a spoonful, or two depending on your preferred strength, and a few quick spins of a spoon to get your fix.
Alpine Start has gone out to try and buck this shitty coffee trend and create an instant coffee that actually tastes good.
Have they succeeded? Mostly.
The taste isn’t overwhelming and I’m not sure the best way to describe it, but the smell. Oh, the smell stirs in me all sorts of nostalgia.
The smell takes me back to when I was a kid and my Grandparents would visit. Every morning when I’d roll my sleepy ass out of bed my grandpa would be at the kitchen table, half a pot of coffee in, doing the crossword.
It takes me back to those early mornings, out of college and in the real world, when I was still living at home and my Dad and I would get up at the same time to get ready for work. He had a long commute, so instant coffee it was for him.
It takes me back to when I started to drink coffee in earnest, usually at the office coffee machine or from the local Starbucks. Both provided burnt cups of brown water, but at that point I didn’t know any better.
So when I poured boiling water into a mug full of Alpine Start instant coffee powder, standing atop a beautiful mountain vista, all of those things hit me. They flooded my brain and for less than a second I was taken back to all those experiences earlier in my life.
Now I’m a coffee snob and am treated to a delicious pour over every morning, but at one point in my life I suppose I just enjoyed coffee in whatever form it came in.
And that seems to be the purpose of Alpine Start. It’s not a bag full of snob, and you sure don’t sit around camp in the morning discussing the finer details of bean weight, grind, and how long you should be pouring hot water into your Chemex.
Alpine Start is meant to give you a boost of caffeine, coddle you with it’s warmth, and let you savor the moment and the experience of being in nature, versus using up precious mental energy to figure out how to keep your pour over setup from not breaking while backpacking.
Is it great coffee? Not really. Is it enjoyable? Yes!
It’s even in their tagline – Instant Coffee that actually tastes good. If you are sorting it in the bucket of other instant coffees, alongside the trash powder that is Starbucks Via, Alpine Start is dissolvable magic. If you’re trying to rank it alongside the machiato you had at that hipster joint during your vacation in San Fran, you’re thinking about it in the wrong way. And it makes you no better than the mountain biker who argues over which wheel size is better – they all have a different purpose, and who really gives a shit anyways if you’re having fun.
Another thing – It’s purpose is to be consumed while outdoors. Everything tastes better outside, in nature, where it’s peaceful and quiet. I’d rather have a mug of coffee that tastes like Greeley smells than have a premier cup of single origin if it means I’m in the mountains versus being sat in a cubicle.
Alpine Start is a better instant coffee, but it’s even better when you’re drinking it where it’s meant to be enjoyed.
About Alpine Start
Alpine Start was founded by professional climber Matt Segal and organic food lover and entrepreneur Alex Hanifin. As any outdoors minded person knows, the more time you spend using your gear, the more you think of ways you want to change it. Matt experienced this with his coffee, as he lists Aeropress accidents in high places as one of the reasons for creating Alpine Start.
Partnering with Alex, they both pooled their knowledge and cash together to get Alpine Start off the ground.
Since then, the company has continued to grow and they offer three different flavors and other items like apparel and travel mugs. They’ve also offered their products in various packaging, with a bulk 30 serving tub now available alongside their single serving packs.
Alpine Start Flavors
All Alpine Start flavors are made with 100% Colombian Arabica coffee beans. They’re grown at high-altitude farms, roasted, then brewed in the same way you’d make a cup of coffee any day of the week.
Then, the coffee is dehydrated and packaged in a single serving stick. When you’re ready for some coffee on the go, mix it with hot water to bring it back to life and experience it as it was intended.
The classic. This is the flavor that books me on a one way flight to nostalgia town. It’s a medium roast and is perfect for early mornings in the backcountry.
Coconut Creamer Latte
Feeling a little fancy? Try out the dairy-free Coffee + Creamer Latte. This flavor is my favorite as it takes a little bit of the bite out of the Original Blend. The coconut creamer adds a richer taste and a bit of smoothness.
Dirty Chai Latte
I’ve never been a fan of chai latte’s to begin with, so I’ll simply state the facts. This blend is made with chai spices, black tea, and soy milk.
Get Caffeinated with Alpine Start
If you’re ready to make camp coffee simple, or heading out on an adventure and need to pack light, do yourself a favor and throw a few sticks (or the 30 serving jar) into your bag. After using it over the last few years during various outdoor activities, Alpine Start will always have a place in my camping kit.
Pro tip: Alpine Start is also pretty darn good in some brownies.