Editors' Choice 2017: Alpine Start Coffee

The best instant coffee ever

“I like my fancy coffee drinks, so I mix it with milk and a dash of agave, shake it up, and boom—an iced latte that only cost me a dollar, took 60 seconds to make, and tastes better than the coffee shop down the street.” 

Climbers do love their coffee, but pre-dawn starts and annoyingly motivated friends who just want to get to the crag can leave little time to brew up the good stuff. Thankfully, veteran climber Matt Segal teamed up with a dedicated foodie, Alex Hanifin, to create Alpine Start instant coffee. “Even when I have the time to brew a French press or pourover, sometimes I still choose my Alpine Start,” one tester said. “It’s just that good.” Hanifin and Segal put in the time to do research on what makes a solid instant coffee, eventually choosing the right beans and developing a special brewing process that puts Alpine Start miles above the rest. “It doesn’t taste burnt; it’s smooth and delicious,” said a tester. At a little more than $1 per cup, it’s reasonably priced, and testers loved that they could mix it hot or cold, and with water or milk, for a variety of coffee options.

$9 (8-pack Original Blend); alpinestartfoods.com (also available at REI)