Hunting and the outdoor activities that we enjoy contribute to the quality of our lives. Hunters tend to look for gear that contributes to this quality, such as more comfortable and technical clothing, highly effective ammo and brighter, clearer optics, just to name a few. These tools enhance our times in the field.
And that brings me to coffee… So, what does coffee have to do with hunting?
Coffee’s place in the outdoors
I love hunting, backpacking… and coffee. And, I go to great lengths to make certain I’ve got great tasting coffee with me in all my outings. It takes some thought and preparedness, but is important to me. I’ve talked to a lot of other outdoors people and they feel the same.
The reality is that coffee is one of those essential items found in every deer camp, in every camper, and in every pack.
In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, coffee was part of the tradition of “opening morning” deer hunting in our house. I can still hear my brother say, “first one up, put the coffee on!”
My uncle Owen, my hunting hero, was a coffee drinker as well. He had a cup in his hand all day long. He was a contractor and coffee was his “go juice” on the job. But, that transferred to the field as well.
In fact, as I’ve met and talked to many hunters over the years — elderly and young alike, they look to coffee to help them wake up and get out to the stand.
The same goes for many waterfowl hunters, turkey hunters and outfitters.
So, I make this bold proclamation: Coffee makes the hunting world go ’round!
With that being said, something still baffles me.
If coffee is such a “must have” item when it comes to the outdoors, why is there not more planning and thought put into it?
What is your coffee brand supporting?
Many of us just grab whatever the grocery store has or what’s in our cupboard and not give it another thought.
But… what if the coffee you were drinking on your trips afield was actually working to restrict your right to hunt?
What if profits from your coffee purchase were being donated to extreme left organizations that are flooding the courts with proposed legislation to ban hunting… or at least nibble around the edges of our freedoms? It is very possible and it is likely.
Hunter’s Blend Coffee | In the beginning…
At the publishing of this article, I have been in the specialty coffee trade for the past 17 years. I’ve seen the underbelly of coffee importers, brokers and west coast trendsetters in this industry. Most green coffee comes in through the west coast; cities like Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. The shareholders of these coffee traders and roasting companies more than likely do not share our values and our hunting heritage.
I started roasting coffee in 2002 and have worked hard at becoming a licensed Q-Grader.
But, learning to taste coffee as well as identify and describe what is being tasted is only one part. The other has to do with manipulating the roasting process and rate of rise of bean temperature to get all the quality (sweetness, aroma) out of a coffee that it has to give.
It really is a blend of art and science.
Over the past 10 years I have seen the American palate change from “hot and black” to really desiring craft roasted coffee… even amongst our hunting ranks.
Until recently, there was no choice for these discerning coffee drinkers, other than buying coffee from suppliers that were not forthcoming in how the bean was sourced and what values they, as a company, embrace.
Now there is.
Two years ago, along with my two brother-in-laws (Mike Swartzentruber and Ken Beachy), we started Hunter’s Blend Coffee.
The reason for starting Hunter’s Blend was simple: We wanted to bring hunter-friendly coffee to the market, assuring that the complete chain-of-custody of coffee supported the hunting lifestyle.
Supporting Farmers And Communities
In order to do this, we import our green coffee directly from the coffee grower (farms like El Dorado, owned by coffee farmer Diego Chavarria, in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and Pat in the mountains around Chang Rai, Thailand (Doi Chang Village). These coffees are expertly roasted and blended to create the Hunter’s Blend Coffee products.
By going directly to the farms, we can eliminate up to six middle buyers and pay these farmers literally twice the amount they would otherwise receive on the local market. This fair pay for a passionately grown, top quality product, enables these farmers to keep their employees working year-round. This create jobs, which in turn eliminates poverty and economically lifts entire communities.
Community growth via coffee
In northern Thailand, among the Ahka tribe, we have seen an entire community flourish. Where once was there extreme poverty, no schools and societal abuse, there is now a community that has totally changed… all because of coffee jobs.
Over 80 women hand sort our coffee each year, many whom were caught up in the sex trafficking industry. When they heard that there were jobs in their village, they made their way home. When you walk in the village these days, it is ringing with laughter of children and ladies singing… a thriving community.
Supporting your right to hunt
Hunter’s Blend Coffee also gives back to conservation groups within our industry.
The one that stands out to me is the Sportsman’s Alliance. SA is working in the legal battles of keeping our hunting heritage alive. The habitat and animal population oriented groups are doing great work, but what good is habitat and wildlife numbers if you can’t hunt!
SA in particular, watches for proposed legislation that attacks fringe activity, such as coyote hunting contests, which, on its face, is no big deal. Most of us don’t compete in these contests, so we tune it out. But once these restrictions pass, the activists become emboldened and immediately go for other battles against regional hunting practices such as hunting bears over bait, or using hounds to hunt mountain lions or bears, etc.
The activists approach is like a constrictor, with each battle won, increasing restriction over our hunting freedoms, with the ultimate goal of eliminating hunting all together.
No organization has done more to erode our freedoms than the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which is not the same as your local animal shelter.
HSUS raises funds by using the disguise of helping to end cat and dog cruelty, when in fact, less than 1% of their money goes to local animal shelters. The vast majority of HSUS money goes to fund nationwide legal battles to end hunting of all kinds.
I have no doubt that some of the earnings of coffee importers and roasters are funding HSUS, to our demise!
Hunter’s Blend Coffee is defending hunting, one cup at a time. It is coffee for hunters, by hunters.
As a bow hunter and rifleman myself, I know the joy of opening a thermos of coffee in my blind on a freezing cold, pre-dawn morning, while waiting for first light. The aroma and the warmth all combine into a lingering memory.
When it’s time to plan my next outing, there will be that desire to bring that “cup of joy” into the hunt again. And it will be coffee that is a part of my gear.
So, what does price say about quality when it comes to arrows? Is a household name brand better than a lesser known one? Does a higher price tag equate to better arrow flight and more successful archery hunts? For that matter, does the name brand matter in any outdoor activity?
Well, in an attempt to answer that question, I’ll use a few examples. First, I’ll start with fishing (yes, fishing… just wait for it.)
My Pops had an old sun-dried yellow, aluminum boat with a 25 hp Evinrude motor that we putted around in. We would spend a week up there, doing nothing but fishing and filling the stringer.
When I was 9 years old, a guy saw us back up our old Suburban and that ole yellow boat into the water. He yelled, “Damn, that is an expensive rig ya got there!” Of course, he was being extremely rude with his comment, laughing as he backed his expensive speed boat into the water.
My dad just said, “some people…”
We fished for about four hours or so that day and filled up the stringer with 22″ rainbows and life was good.
When we went back to load the boat, my dad yelled across the water to the guy with the expensive boat, “You catch any?”
The man answered, “No, the bite has been slow.” My father replied, “I hope that boat was worth it” and then pulled out our stringer. The look on that man’s face was priceless!
We laughed and went to camp and enjoyed the rest of the evening cooking up the fish we caught (in our “expensive rig”) on the camp fire.
Your Ford Could Be A Chevy
Perhaps you’ve seen the test drive commercials where a truck’s identity is kept secret from the driver. The test driver takes it for a spin and says “it has to be a Ford.” But, then to the driver’s surprise… it’s a Chevy!
It’s the same with many of the products in the outdoors industry. There are many awesome products out there. Some are affordable and some not so much. And, of course, the more expensive item is always better quality. Or is it?
Higher Price = Better Quality… Sometimes
Many believe that better quality and performance live where the higher price tag is. In the gun industry, this argument holds up to some degree. But, at the end of the day, all guns travel the same whether you buy a $250 12-gauge pump shotgun by Browning, or a $900 12 gauge shotgun from Winchester. Both have the same pump action, same gauge, and same function. Both will serve the same purpose of taking wild game.
One Saturday morning in November, I went out waterfowl hunting on a dyke beyond the city I lived in. When I got there, only one other guy had shown up. I thought to myself, “Hey, this may be a good morning!”
As soon as it was shooting light, a group of 20 guys (probably all from the same football team) showed up and parked right next to me. Most of the crew had 12 gauge semi-automatic Beretta shotguns and were ready to take some game. At the time, I had a model 1300 Winchester 12-gauge pump.
It didn’t help matters that none of them would get in the reeds to hide (and it didn’t matter cause there was so many of them!)
For example, some bow hunters are willing to spend $185 for a set of six arrows, when there are arrows on the market for only $55 for a set of six. And, if compared to each other, just like in that Ford and Chevy test, you might not even be able to tell the difference.
Some bow hunters won’t shoot past 70 yards while practicing, while some ethical hunters will shoot further, just in case that dream buck walks out and you may not have another chance of getting any closer.
But we are an apparel company, and today we’ve got some really exciting news we want to share with you. N1 Outdoors has partnered with wildlife artist, Daniel Cliburn. Now, some of you may be familiar with Daniel through some products that are for sale in Bass Pro Shops. But, we’re super excited to be partnered with him.
He has created an original painting for deer season 2018, just for N1 Outdoors. We’ve taken this painting and turned it into a limited edition tshirt. Now, this t-shirt will be for sale for the first time this week, and possibly the only week at Buckarama, in Perry, Georgia, August 17, 18 and 19.
Visit N1 Outdoors At Buckarama
We’d love for you to come by and visit. The original painting will be on display. Daniel will be there himself, you can meet him. But, if you like this t-shirt, you need to come visit us at the Buckarama at the N1 Outdoors booth. If you don’t have a chance to come by, you’re in other parts of the company and can’t make it, you can contact us through our profile, or you can also send us a message through our website and we’ll get you some information on how you can reserve a t-shirt for yourself. We’d love to see you this week at Buckarama, in Perry, Georgia.