An off the grid coffee break.
––Where Flavour Terrains meet rough Terrains!
Our go-to photography team, Andy & Alysha, went on a pretty wild trek recently and they took us with them. In the way of coffee. And we thought we’d share it with you.
During our recent photoshoot with the creative pair, it was discussed that they were soon heading to NSW, taking themselves off the grid for a week or so and they needed some coffee supplies––of course. There’s a reason we work with people like Andy & Alysha, and that’s because we love anyone willing to get their hands dirty in the aid of exploration and discovery. Obviously, when we heard what they were planning we just begged them to take us along.
And we know y’all are adventurers too, so we thought you might like a little snapshot––pun absolutely intended––of this caffeine-filled trek through some of our most scenic backblocks.
I spoke to Alysha about their “Once in a lifetime” trip.
The Budawangs, NSW was the destination––a rugged spur off the Great Dividing Range, to the left of the Blue Mountains. The couple and two friends packed enough gear to survive five days and nights––gear they had to carry themselves. And, keep in mind, quite a few kilos of that was photography gear and coffee gear––aND at least a half-kilo of coffee.
“At last count we were packing about 21kg each, which isn’t a lot when you think about it [about the amount when you just start to worry if flying Jetstar], but it’s a fair bit to carry on your back for five days!”
They took off from Wog-Wog campground and hiked over five days (around 60km total) to reach a landmark called 'The Castle', and return.
On the way up the crew stopped at the Corang Arch, a massive natural rock formation, “for a coffee break and to grab some landscape shots.”
Alysha says this nonchalantly, but when you look at the photos you pretty soon realise these aren’t the Snapchat, selfie stick-don’t slip hiking shots we’re used to. These holiday snaps are break-the-internet good. But that’s what these guys are there for. The view, and the coffee breaks.
But they do not take it for granted, you have to put the hard work in to get this type of coffee break. Relying on only naturally occurring water sources for the whole trip––coffee included, they used whatever vessels they had to collect water fresh from rivers, tiny streams and a beautiful waterfall in their cave home!
One of the beautiful caves they camped in on the side of Mt. Cole is in the coffee imagery with the fire pit.
So, they relied on finding their own water for brewing the coffee?
“All of the coffee was brewed with this water and was filtered naturally and by hand. It was all very primal.”
That is dedication to the brew.
Alysha says trekking to The Castle was a dream come true. Since the pair started getting serious about photography, this trek had been on the cards.
“The Castle is one of the highest points in the Budawang ranges (that extend from the Blue Mountains), and it’s a tricky climb involving boulder scrambling, ropes and a whole lot of vertical climbing! But we were very prepared. We’d been planning for months!”
In between boulder scrambling and water collecting, the team managed to capture some truly outstanding coffee moments.
“The coffee imagery featuring the VERY misty day was our ascent to the top of The Castle, unfortunately we didn't have a great view on the day, but the photos look unreal!”
Packing light is the name of the game on a trip like this, but they were adamant not to go without a decent coffee, and luckily for adventurous types, there’s no shortage of brew tools for this type of experience.
So, what exactly did they pack to ensure the best of all the Zest brews in their kitty?
“We took an Aeropress, Leverpresso, Porlex ceramic grinder and Jetboil system.”
As you can see by the photos, they were not short of brew.
But it wasn’t all as easy as an aeropress, their orientation tools were not nearly as modern as their brew tools.
“We used a topographic map from the 60s and navigated our trek only via maps and a compass ––which was terrifying. With zero signage and often no clear path, just a pile of rocks up the side of a mountain, we were pleasantly surprised only to get lost once. But that was half the fun!”
Thankfully, they made it home safe, even if it did throw them into “a bit of a funk”. Despite the running water, wi-fi and hot dinners, even returning to the hallowed ground of Melbourne’s latte-belt wasn’t half as rewarding as where they’d just been.