Adventure coffee that was born in a bike shop
I stumbled upon Northern Coffeeworks recently when researching local, high quality, instant coffee that doesn't require me to bring filters or a pour over kit on my rides. Now, to be fair, I'm not totally opposed to bringing the whole kit. I have a mini-grinder and don't mind bringing the whole kitchen sink, but there are times for something a little more sleek.
Northern Coffeeworks is a roastery and cafe based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were born out of a bike shop and a love for the outdoors, inspired by the natural beauty in the state they call home, Minnesota.
They want to be the coffee you take with you on adventures and the coffee you come home to.
Meet "Boundary Waters Instant Coffee"
The Boundary Waters whole bean is Northern Coffeeworks' flagship drip coffee. It's brewed in collaboration with Save the Boundary Waters, an organization leading the fight to protect the Boundary Waters.
To make their flagship whole bean coffee easier to take on self-supported adventures, they teamed up with Swift Cup Coffee to create an instant version.
It comes with 6 packs per box and each packet contains 5g of freeze dried coffee which mixes with 8-10 ounces of cold or hot water.
Testing it out: Should you take this bikepacking?
First off, I was extremely surprised by the taste. Now to be transparent, I'm not a coffee snob. I'm a daily drinker, but I'm generally happy with warm cup of coffee and rarely find something I don't like.
That being said, instant coffee is usually awful. Like, barely even in the same family as coffee. The Boundary Waters instant cup was really impressive and has a taste surprisingly similar to delicious drip coffee. In their collaboration with Swift Cup, they use a proprietary process to come up with a gourmet coffee that coffee nerds will seriously appreciate.
On the downside, it's pretty expensive at ~$3/cup. There are definitely a lot of cheaper ways to make coffee in da woods. But for those who value ultralight bikepacking and gourmet coffee, this is a great option.
I even poured a cup of drip vs Boundary Waters instant during my work day and forgot which was which. Sure, it's still instant coffee and isn't going to hit the spot if you just HAVE to have fresh ground coffee on the trail.
But it's not very often you find instant coffee with high quality taste that originates on socially and environmentally conscious cooperatives.
It weighs virtually nothing and is smaller than the amount of whole bean or ground coffee you would need to make the same size cup.
Plus you get the benefit of not having to bring a pour over kit and hand grinder.
- Smaller than bringing a brewing kit
- Weighs nothing
- Tastes pretty darn close to drip coffee
- Sourced fair trade
- Expensive at about $3/cup
- Some won't like the taste
Currently costs $18 for a pack of 6 at Northern Coffeeworks