Grand Canyon Adventure + Vanabond Coffee


I really love adventures. As a photographer, I specialize in adventurous style portraits and get to travel to some incredible places all over the US. Last week, I needed to go scout for a bridal portrait session at the Grand Canyon (rough gig right?), so I figured I'd use the opportunity to shoot some promo work for the giveaway I'm running with Granite Creek Coffee and Vanabond Coffee. With the giveaway running this week, I figured I'd take a little bit of a departure from my usual post and give you a taste of our adventure, talk about our canyon side brewing, and give you a taste of Vanabond's coffee.

The Grand Canyon

Living in Southern Utah definitely comes with it's own set of downfalls. Temps sit above 100°F for 3-4 months straight in the summer and we're lacking in a vibrant coffee culture. On the flip side, we "day-trip" close to some amazing places like the Big 5 and the Grand Canyon. Jeremiah and I hopped in Scooby, my affectionately named Subaru Forester, and headed off for North Rim.

Driver sitting in a Subaru Forester
picture of a hazy road in Arizona
Photographer taking pictures in the road
Grand Canyon National Park entrance sign
bison on the side of the road at Grand Canyon National Park
Subaru Forester parked in Grand Canyon National Park
Photographer standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon

After a couple hours of scouting, we headed to Point Imperial for sunset. We found ourselves standing on a rock that felt like an island jutting out into the canyon. The surrounding views coupled with the hazy horizon from prescribed fires made for an unbeatable backdrop. So we posted up to begin shooting and brewing coffee.

Videographer wearing cotopaxi backpack at Grand Canyon
View of the Grand Canyon from Imperial Point
Adventure portrait with the Grand Canyon in the background
Photographer at Imperial Point Grand Canyon National Park
Adventure portrait at Grand Canyon National Park
Guy jumping across gap at the Grand Canyon

Brewing Coffee Canyon Side

I'm a big believer of preparation, so I spent a good amount of the week before contemplating how to go about brewing canyon side. Even with all that pre-mediation, we ended up forgetting a bunch of stuff and had to improvise on the fly. Thankfully, we decided to use the forgiving Aeropress.

Aeropress coffee maker at the Grand Canyon


The Aeropress lends itself to non-ideal brewing situations. It can extract coffee at lower temperatures and has moderately accurate measurements printed on it. We forgot a scale, but I knew the Aeropress scoop measures roughly 15 grams of coffee. I also happen to know the upside down Aeropress can accommodate a little more than 240 grams of water. So I could add a scoops worth of coffee and nearly fill an upside down Aeropress and still get close to my target 1:16 ratio.

To boil water without readily available electricity, we used Jeremiah's JetBoil. When the water came to a boil, we added to our kettle and started pre-heating the Aeropress and mug. Thanks to the Aeropress's use of pressure, we didn't have to worry about the water holding temperature in the 40°F air. We added our coffee, started our time and nearly filled the Aeropress. 3 minutes later, we pressed and enjoyed a surprisingly delicious cup of coffee considering the conditions.

Brewing with an Aeropress at the Grand Canyon
Grinding coffee with a hario skerton at the Grand Canyon
Ground coffee in an Aeropress
Upside down Aeropress being brewed outdoors
Pouring water into an Aeropress
Stirring upside Aeropress
Brewing coffee with an Aeropress at the Grand Canyon
Steeping coffee in an Aeropress while adventuring outdoors
Pressing Aeropress coffee
Pressing Aeropress with Grand Canyon sunset view
Pouring Aeropress coffee into Created Co mug
Sipping coffee at the Grand Canyon

Vanabond Coffee

Vanabond Coffee is Chris and Shelby, good friends of mine from college, who roast coffee freshly from the back of their 1989 Dodge Camper van. In order to have some coffee to photograph for the giveaway, I ordered a bag of their Nomad medium roast blend. The winner of the giveaway gets to choose either a bag of one of their blends or a sampler of all three.

Vanabond coffee whole bean freshly roasted

The Nomad

The Nomad will quench the thirst of any palate informed by American coffee tradition. It has very little acidity and a robust body. The experience begins with primary notes of rye and dark chocolate accompanied by roasted savory aromas reminiscent of jerky. Then, as the earthy notes fade into the aftertaste, they are pierced by a pleasant yet subtle pop of candied tangerine that lingers around the fringes of the tongue.

If you're the coffee drinker that grew up drinking Maxwell House or Yuban pre-ground blends, you'll feel right at home with this classic blend with the added benefit of freshly roasted aromatics.

For tasting notes on Vanabond's other two blends, check out these Instagram posts: The Hippie | The Gramps

giveaway prizes from vanabond coffee granite creek and handsome wade

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