Who the heck is Ruby?
Ruby Coffee Roasters is based right here in Nelsonville, Wisconsin. Originally founded in the garage of Ruby's founder, Jared, their coffee can be found in cafes and homes nationwide and yes, now they operate out of a real building.
According to Ruby, each of their coffees is carefully and specifically chosen to represent a glimpse of microclimate, micro-region, and a vignette into a moment in time.
They like their coffees with a little flair and are proud to celebrate the broad range of beautiful, colorful flavor coffee can have. They focusing on celebrating the unique, exciting qualities of each offering.
Since Ruby is local and they make steeped coffee and instant coffee, I thought they'd be perfect for bikepacking. My biking buddy, Donavon Schumacher, is a licensed and board certified coffee snob so I asked him to try Ruby's steeped and instant coffees on his recent bikepacking trip to the Sand County Caress and here are his thoughts:
Ruby Steeped Coffee and Instant Coffee review by Donavon Schumacher:
It's not espresso but it's pretty darn good!
According to Google a coffee snob is someone who cares deeply about what kind of coffee they are drinking. Coffee snobs judge their beverage based on quality and taste, and they won't settle for fast, cheap coffee from any grocery store or a fast-food chain. I don't know if I'm a coffee snob but I will tell you straight up I like good coffee. Preferably espresso from an independent coffee shop and if it's not espresso my regular go to is a DARK blend with no "foo foo" mixed in (cream, milk, flavoring). Next to coffee my second passion is cycling so when my friend Josh offered up a few samples of Ruby camp coffee to try on a recent bikepacking trip in exchange for a review I happily obliged. I had every intention of sampling this coffee in the field over a brightly lit jet boil but my plans were foiled after a bike mechanical forced me to bail and return home a day early so you will have to settle with my plan B brew from home review.
The first sample I tested was the Ruby - August Seasonal Blend (steeped bag version). Let me begin by saying the convenient packaging had me at hello. I couldn't wait to prepare and drink my first ever steeped bag cup of Joe. I steeped the coffee for several minutes and waited for it to be ready. After initially taking the coffee bag out way too early, I continued to let it steep. Even after the 5 minutes, I never felt like the flavor was fully extracted. Could be in part because I've always leaned toward more more robust dark coffees. I've never been a big fan of most light or medium brews so I wasn't expecting to experience the bold taste that I prefer but the coffee flavor just wasn't there so I can't give the steeped version the highest review.
But luckily, there was another option to try which I would enjoy a lot more.
Next up was the Ruby - Creamery Seasonal Blend (freeze-dried instant version). I have only sampled a few different blends of instant coffee during bikepacking trips and have been perfectly happy with the Starbucks VIA Pike Place version but this Ruby blend was a grand slam for me. The flavor was smooth and ready to drink almost immediately. I think I have a new favorite instant camp coffee to throw in my bag for the next bikepacking adventure.