Subject: United By Blue
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Rating: 6+ [see key]
Early autumn mornings around a youth group campfire taught me the necessity of good coffee amidst outdoor excursions. While some nights yield a perfect nights sleep under the starry sky, others are met with surprises (such as bears or torrential rain) that cause for a less fulfilling slumber. When you wake up cold, wet and/or exhausted from bear hide-and-seek, who wants to face the upcoming day with a cup of sludge? No one.
Yet finding coffee kits and methods for backwoods brewing was something left to oral tradition until the last couple of years. Thankfully since then, a lot of great options have materialized for the wise adventurer. One of my favorites comes from United By Blue, an outdoor outfitter that "associates the sale of each product with concrete environmental action." Given the convenient proximity of their flagship store in Philadelphia, I was able to not only stop by to check out their wares, but also to sample their in-store coffeehouse.
Nestled in a voluminous space on 2nd Street, I found the store well-organized with a pleasant orchestration of seating and product display. The coffee bar itself sits midway, featuring local roaster ReAnimator Coffee. After some brief banter with the barista, they directed me to an espresso of their Espresso Blend and a pourover of a Guatemala. The espresso, pulled short/medium with brown crema, rang out notes of lemon, chocolate, raspberry, oak and biscuits, making for a delicious pull with a pleasant balance. The pourover also made a great impression with a mellow brew of honey, steel cut oats, grape tomato, chocolate muffin and arugula within a medium body.
Thus whether you seek a well-crafted axe, coffee kit or just a great mug of coffee, head on over to one of the United By Blue locations (two in Philly, one in Asbury Park). Or if you can't make it out for the coffee, their merchandise is available on their website.