Camp coffee with Stumptown Coffee Roaster’s wizard of goodness: Steve Kirbach
Since I was young, I have gravitated to people with a passionate commitment to their craft. It’s been deeply impactful and a recurring theme in my life to interact with farmers, crafts-people, makers and entrepreneurs.
Craft. Yeah, I know, it’s a word that’s worn in all the wrong ways by modern marketing, but I’m still enthralled by individuals who have worked with their medium to move past standard limitations and rules into creative and innovative play. I love tinkerers, inquisitive learners and curious minds. Craftsmen tease their creative signature out of the materials they are obsessed with and that has always inspired me.
When Steve Kirbach talks coffee, his eyes change. Now here’s someone who has been working with coffee for over fifteen years, and from my short time on the road with Steve, it seems like he is continuously rediscovering and rethinking coffee. Between Steve and Stumptown’s green coffee sourcer, Gabriel Chait, there is a palpable quest to share the most distinctive qualities in coffee with anyone who pauses to take note.
Gabriel travels the world to meet the individuals and communities that have been producing outstanding coffee for generations, and in tandem with Steve, they had me thinking about coffee in a whole new light. Spending the weekend bike-camping with Steve and Gabriel at Stargazer Farm Camp in late May revealed exactly how passionate the Stumptown crew is about their livelihood. Conversations at camp and pedaling side-by-side moved from the way microclimate and altitude influences distinctive flavors to the financial impacts of fairly priced coffee on agrarian communities, eddied effortlessly around camp brewing methods, and naturally landed on delighted nods as we each took sips of freshly roasted coffee. Steve had carefully stowed a ceramic Zenroaster in his panniers for our bike-camping trip and when I saw the Stumptown crew’s eyes light up I knew this was something really special. Enjoying freshly roasted beans didn’t seem to get old in that crowd, and the variability of roasting over the backpacking stove lured them in to savor the flavors that were unlocked with each batch.
The simple rituals of bike-camping are what makes this pastime so grounding to me, and making camp coffee is central to the few essential tasks when I’m on the road. Cooking, pedalling, setting up camp, and sleeping are the only other things on my checklist. There’s not anything overly mystifying about camping by bicycle, but I think it’s that straight-forward algorithm that speaks to me. While the rhythm of the road presents quirky challenges each day, like mechanical problems or inclement weather, being chased by dogs and getting over that summit before last-light–if you let it, there is a pensive quality to bike-camping, there is something almost meditative about whiling away the miles.
The art of camp coffee fits that tempo perfectly.
BUILT FOR SWIFT
In celebration of Swift Campout, Steve created a custom blend with daybreak at camp in mind!
“Steve built this custom blend as an homage to our friends at Swift Industries. He used coffee from two of his favorite countries to travel to: Bolivia and Colombia. The blend demonstrates our kindred approach to continually rethink how to do what we love.”
Tasting notes: honeycomb, nutmeg, raisin
This week only! Receive this custom blend when you spend $75+ at builtbyswift.com
This week we’re giving away this custom blend with orders over $75.00, while supplies last! Just type in the code builtforswift at checkout and a limited batch of Stumptown coffee beans will arrive at your doorstep. (To ensure the freshness of your coffee, this offer does not apply to custom baggage due to the three week wait time on custom.)
Get outfitted for Swift Campout and summer adventuring and get a free bag of custom coffee. Win|Win