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Review: Alpine Start Instant Coffee

Because we all need our fix, even in the backcountry

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Some of us sleep like a baby and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the backcountry. Others can barely unzip their tent without the promise of a hot cup of coffee in their immediate future. Enjoying a quality cup of Joe while backpacking can be tough, but Alpine Start, a Boulder, CO - based food brand, is surprising outdoor enthusiasts with their superb instant coffee. Founders Matt Segal (a NatGeo Explorer and North Face athlete) and Alex Hanafin (formerly of Boulder Brands) have a mission to create quality coffee for adventurers without compromising quality. To find out how they're doing with this mission, we sent a couple of boxes out to some of our caffeine hungry Explorers to get their opinions. Here's what they thought: 

Kyle Frost

The words "instant coffee" don't immediately engender the best feeling. For many years it brought to mind terrible, bitter, Folgers grounds that you drank more for the feeling of drinking coffee than the taste. And that used to be okay. But somewhere along the line (probably around the time I moved to San Francisco), I got spoiled. I wanted coffee that was in the same league (or at least close-ish) to the stuff I was drinking every day.

And at least from my perspective, Alpine Start has provided just that. While I'd put them in the same league as Starbucks Via, I prefer the Alpine Start packs. They've been a staple on my backpacking trips and even at home when I'm SO lazy I can't even brew coffee in the morning. 

Jake Young

"My thoughts on the coffee: I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. I usually just use a french press, but this was a lot easier. Most instant coffee is pretty bitter, but Alpine Start wasn't."

Jason Hatfield

"Simple but elegant packaging with the easiest tear open I've found on an instant-coffee brand. The coffee itself is robust, bold, dark, with a wonderful earthy smell. The finish is fairly smooth with a good perk and only a very slight bitterness to it; definitely better than any Starbucks Vias I've had."

Michael Wigle

"After staying up all night to shoot meteorites, a cup of coffee goes a long way to getting you back down off the mountain. What surprised me most about Alpine Start was how smooth that cup of coffee was. It is like carrying a barista in your backpack. It is seriously that good!"

Sassy Cuna Resuello

Easy, fast, and convenient, plus I love the taste! It isn't too strong, nor is it too weak. The taste of it has the perfect balance, that I don't need to add any creamer or sugar. Just how I like my coffee, especially during early mornings in camp!

Give it a try on your next backpacking trip! Learn more at AlpineStartFoods.com

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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