We are thrilled to be reintroducing our 2019 Good Food Award Winner Ethiopia Guji back to our single origin menu this Fall! It's a fruit bomb with decadent tasting notes of honey and tropical fruit. When sipping on this African coffee, enjoy the rich culture of the Kellenso Mekonissa village, an exclusive microlot.
Earlier this year, our friend and customer Kyle Hribar brought a bag of the Guji, along with his everyday staple Bark at the Moon to the iconic Mt. Whitney for some pre-wedding caffeination, before saying 'I do' to his boo, Sarah, at Mammoth's snowy Twin Lakes. Yep, it was as wild as it sounds. Today, we're sitting down with Kyle to hear more about his adventures in the mountains and beyond, what inspired this caffeinated mountainous elopement, and what's next for these adrenaline junkies.
Can you tell us a little about your background in the outdoors: where are you based out of, and what are your favorite "do stuff" activities?
Even though we did not cross paths till later on in life, Sarah and I both grew up with families that loved the great outdoors and endless the possibilities this earths landscapes had to offer. Starting with camping in remote locations, learning how to build camp and survive off the land for weeks if needed. Both of our families had the need for speed and the mandatory dopamine dump of adrenaline that everyone knows us for. Our dads both heavily influenced on motorsports and racing was passed down to us both through dirtbikes, cars, bicycles, skiing and anything we could make fly down a hill. We are currently based out of South San Jose at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains while Sarah finishes off her Digital Marketing/Business Degree at San Jose State. Living down here in these mountains we still get most of the advantages of the mountain life where are roots are from, except for snowboarding has been replaced by surfing. Our favorites here are the limitless mountain bike/trail running trails, the coastal road bike rides, street skating in downtown, windy rally car roads, remote dirtbike tracks and trails, and the weekend worthy backpacking adventures.
You recently got hitched (!) — that sounds like the best adventure of all! How did you lovebirds do it?
Hell yeah! We are still beyond stoked on getting married; we’ve been talking about it for a while and ultimately knew it would happen one day. It all started with going to dinner at one of our local farm to fork spots with our good friend Oliver who also happens to be an ordained minister. He brought up the idea mid meal of him performing the ceremony for us one day, we looked at each other and decided right then and there to seal the deal. We spent the rest of the dinner brainstorming and coming up with the ultimate and unique wedding that fit us. We decided on the most beautiful place we have been which also played the biggest pivotal moment of our relationship... Alabama Hills and Mammoth Lakes. For the few people that we know that have been able to experience this place know how magical and unique it really is. The plan was for the wedding to be just us two, Oliver, one random witness and Mother Nature, and we did just that. No family was invited but we let them know a couple weeks before we set off on our adventure. The best part was shooting the whole wedding ourselves, with only our DSLR, a couple batteries, our trusty tripod and a million envisions of how our photos would wow our family and friends. Even though we took photos all around Alabama Hills, Mt. Whitney and Mammoth Lakes, the actual ceremony took place on the frozen Twin Lakes located on the backside of Mammoth Mountain. A couple hours of trenching a path and compacting out a proper stage we were ready and willing. As people looked on and wondered what we were doing they soon realized when Sarah put on her dress. They all watched from a distance as we began, the ceremony was perfect and a dream come true. There were laughs then some crying, a little bit of shivering from the gust of random wind (which was probably the earth giving us a high five) some kissing and then finally the jumping for joy and smiles beyond belief. We packed up our gear and proceeded to head back to the car.
Tell us about your recent adventures in the Alabama Hills and Mammoth area. Did you camp? Where did you go?
If you've never been to Alabama Hills or Mt. Whitney we highly recommend putting it on your bucket list! With a car full of gear, supplies, wedding attire and a couple bags of Ethiopia Guji to get us through the cold winter mornings, we set off on our journey. We made a couple pit stops on the way to explore sites we saw off the road, searched for some natural hot springs and discovered a forest of petrified ancient trees. Upon arriving at Alabama Hills, we set out to find the perfect place to set up camp and start shooting some photos. The weather was perfect! We almost got stuck in a wash trying to cross in our car but with a little guidance from Sarah and trusty Subaru traction, we managed to cross. As night fell, we went on a hike to find what this place holds after the sun goes down. With the Milky Way prominent overhead and Mt. Whitney silhouetted in the near distance, we were amazed. The next stop was Mammoth Lakes in search of the ultimate stoke and spot for our adventure. First things first, as any human that loves getting rad, we threw on our snow gear, grabbed our boards and headed to the gondola for a must needed day of shredding. We explored around the town and surrounding areas — we were somewhat limited due to the massive amounts of snow on the roads still from the epic winter season. Breweries were visited and enjoyed, Napoletana Pizza was our staple for the week, and of course a nice cup of Guji or Bark at the Moon kicked off and fueled our long fun-filled days.
What are some outdoor essentials you ALWAYS keep in your car?
Most people always ask what we store in the box on top of our car and now they will know why we never take it off. A must for us is we each have a running bag that has a pair of trail running shoes, shorts, a tank top, socks, undies and a towel. You never know what will happen or if you just get the urge to pull off the road and go explore. We also carry two bags of tools, one specifically full of bike tools and parts just in case we break something on a ride, and the other bag is full of wrenches, bit drivers, nuts and bolts, some cutting tools, and a full tire repair kit with a pump for any kind of mishap that may happen. In the trunk we keep water, a blanket, non-perishable food and with my medical background, a full hospital grade first aid kit. And yes, there are stitch kits, hemostats and things to make splints. The two of us and our friends are all adrenaline junkies and someone is always bound to crash at some point. Kind of like that saying, “If you’re not crashing or going down at the things you do, are you really pushing the limitations of your abilities and life?”
How do you typically brew coffee on the trail?
At home we have a complete coffee station that we've built up. Typically we will measure out and grind the beans to correct consistency of the method that we will brew out on the trail, then put the grounds into one of our vaccusealed containers so it stays fresh all week or weekend. Our normal method is our Moka Pot that has been handed down to us from Sarah's Grandfather, who used it in the 1950’s during his service in the military. It still works as good as it did back when he initially bought it! We carry a little gas canister with the tiny screw on regulator valve to boil the water inside so it is able to pass through and infuse with the coffee grounds. If we are camping in a cabin where we can store breakable items, we always bring our Chemex — nothing beats that clean pure flavor. Our go to coffee has to be Bark at the Moon; the blend just tastes so good and somewhat earthy. It is fitting for being out in nature and just enjoying everything around us.
What's next on the adventure bucket list?
Since we already got the biggest bucket list item of getting married checked off, after Sarah's graduation this Fall we are packing up and coming back to Tahoe. This has been our dream to always move back into the mountains at elevation, where we can truly live out our adventurous lifestyle. Snowmobiles and new dirtbikes will be purchased for those days we want to go deep into the wild and get lost in a good way. New trails will be discovered and built, ideas will come to life and the ideal happiness will ensue. In the meantime, we shall be soaking up the rays at The Hook trying to dodge the kooks and kelp beds on those long breaking rights, and flying through the Santa Cruz Mountains on our bikes. The world most definitely is our playground.
Craving African coffee? Shop our award-winning Ethiopia Guji single origin coffee here.