CRESTED BUTTE, CO, USA – With its dedication to providing the high quality and best tasting instant coffee to adventurers around the world, speciality roaster First Ascent ’s instant coffee is often enjoyed in the backcountry and on big walls. This fall, it will also be enjoyed by astronauts in outer space.
Approximately 250 servings of First Ascent’s handcrafted Dawn Patrol instant coffee are aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station, which launched on Wednesday October 5th.
The journey to fueling astronauts in outer space started over a year ago for the Crested Butte, CO based company.
“In August 2021, I received an email asking if we could do large batches of coffee,” says Sam Higby, co-owner of First Ascent. “It seemed like a fairly generic question and sales lead until I noticed the ‘nasa.gov’ domain name, which definitely piqued my curiosity.”
The next day, Higby found himself on the phone with the astronaut-to-be, who was lamenting about the sub-par instant coffee options available at the Space Food Systems Laboratory.
After discussing the possibility of First Ascent going to space, sending samples out, and being taste-tested against other potential options, First Ascent received an order & shipped out 256 eight-ounce servings of its popular Dawn Patrol blend.
With the lack of gravity in space and the inability to pour hot water directly into a cup, preparing and drinking coffee in space looks a little different: the instant coffee grounds are repackaged in individual foil pouches with a valve on one end. The astronaut pulls the pouch out of their locker, applies a straw, adds hot water, shakes, and drinks.
Knowing astronauts will be fueling up with their coffee is something the First Ascent team is incredibly proud of. “It’s a pretty amazing feeling knowing that astronauts are going to be sipping our coffee at the International Space Station,” says Higby. “We’ve all wondered what it would be like to go to outer space. Now in our own way, we get to be there.”