As I sipped on a hot cup of Stumptown Ethiopia Nano Challa, I thought, “wow”. Wow not only because I was sipping on a great cup of coffee, artfully crafted from bean to brew, but because I was about to read from my book, Married to the Trail, and to a crowd of people who are as passionate about their own craft as I am of mine.
I was invited to speak at the Stumptown Coffee Roasters HQ in Portland, Oregon, in large part because they will be sponsoring next year’s hike with fine coffee beans and equipment that will keep me caffeinated on my 7,500 mile trek. I was also invited to the HQ because the company encourages their staff to attend a monthly workshop that features guest speakers of all walks of life.
The hour-long luncheon allowed me to read excerpts from my book, Married to the Trail, to a room full of 40 employees and guests. It also allowed me to answer an assortment of questions that many found interest and wonder within. What is your favorite meal to make on a thru-hike? Are you afraid of wildlife? What does it take to plan for a thru-hike? Or a Calendar Triple Crown thru-hike? What has been your favorite trail? Will you retire from hiking after next year’s hike? It was uplifting for both the audience and me, especially because when things get incredibly hectic and busy in life, as it has been this last month, I need that lift to remind me that I am doing something that is incredible and something that warrants that great, big WOW.
After the reading, I was treated to a tour of the roastery. Starting from a pallet stacked high with green, unroasted beans bundled in burlap, we moved from room to room, step to step. The beans moved from the sack to roaster, and from green to golden to the desired finish based on the type of bean: this particular bean suited best for a cold brew batch that could be described, at least in the view of my eyes, as a medium-light caramelized chocolate brown. How such a small bean could be so beautiful…well…that is something I joyfully discovered today.
Thank you Stumptown Coffee Roasters for listening to my story. I’m looking forward to learning more about the craft of coffee, as well as sharing my hike with you next year!