For someone like professional kayaker Nick Troutman, rivers mean a lot. They are the venues of some of his greatest professional achievements (including the World Freestyle Kayak Champion and three Canadian National Champion titles), the meeting grounds for his friends and family, and the places where he’s enjoyed some of his best cups of coffee. But with threats to the rivers on the rise, Troutman was determined to do his part to protect them. And with that, Wild and Free Coffee Co. began.
We caught up with the freshly caffeinated kayaker for his take of launching his new company…
Why coffee? What compelled you to start Wild and Free Coffee Co.?
Coffee has been a passion of mine for some time, though this spring when I was on the Grand Canyon I was of thinking of ways to give back and help protect the outdoors. The idea came to me that I could start a coffee company and donate a large part of the sales. So I got to work sourcing beans and building a brand, and that’s how Wild and Free Coffee was born.
Are you a big coffee drinker? (Likely, since you have kids!)
Most definitely. I have been a coffee fiend for a while, though I think my true addiction for coffee came quickly after the birth of my son, with the addition of less sleep. Though it is far beyond just that, I use coffee to keep me at my peak during competition, and to help me focus and get in the right mind set each morning.
What’s unique about Wild and Free Coffee?
Wild and Free Coffee is 100% organic and Fair Trade beans, as well as the fact that we are dedicated to helping protect and preserve the wilderness and its great resources. We are donating 10% from the sales of all our coffee to non-profits that focus on the outdoors. This year all our money will be donated to American Whitewater, as they continue to help save our rivers.
How is making coffee different from the kayaking industry?
The coffee industry is definitely much bigger than the kayaking industry. I will say though that I’ve narrowed it down by keeping my focus on the outdoor industry and the people who care about the outdoors. I truly believe that we have to continue to keep our wilderness wild, and I will continue to do what I can, even it means selling one cup of coffee at a time.
Are you getting good support from the paddling community?
Wild and Free Coffee is still quite young, but without a doubt the paddling scene has been our largest supporter. With my passion for the river, I will continue to strive to bring the best cup of coffee I can to my river people.
Is the venture cutting into your training/paddling time?
I am trying right now to find the right balance point between, paddling, the coffee company and my family. I feel like I would be hard pressed to add anything to my plate, without taking some time and energy out of my training and paddling. I’m pretty lucky as my wife, Emily, helps keep me focused and makes sure I am always doing what is most important at that time.
Get your fix at https://www.wildandfreecoffee.com.