When you are a coffee aficionado, your morning cup isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. But out in the wilds it can be difficult to get a satisfying cup of joe – you end up either choking down liquid caffeine in the form of barely palatable instant versions, or even lugging heavy equipment into the backcountry to create something more to your taste.
That wasn’t good enough for Jax Mariash Koudele. Jax, one of those crazy ultra-runners who competes in multi-day stage races through some of the gnarliest terrain in the world, can’t start the day without her coffee.
“Oh yeah, I’m addicted,” she said. “I made this for me.”
What she made is Stoked Six, a line of instant coffee. Don’t start gagging just yet. Jax didn’t want to create another instant coffee she had to choke down. She wanted something organic, that came in medium and dark roasts, and most importantly, she wanted it to taste good.
Jax knows something about coffee. Not only is she an enthusiastic coffee drinker, she also started Stoked Roasters and Coffeehouse in 2014 in Oregon (You can read that story here).
But her passion for coffee goes back even farther.
Jax worked in a city government office when she was 11 years old as part of a summer camp for kids to show them different jobs.
One of her jobs was to pick up the coffee for the office every day. As a reward she could order something for herself. She tasted her first mocha that summer. Topped with whipped cream and full of chocolate, it hooked her. Suddenly, she was ordering a mocha every morning. Eventually she branched out to trying lattes, then Americanos, and eventually plain coffee.
That summer, as Jax indulged in her morning mocha, she decided one day she wanted to run her own coffee business.
She spent six years working at Starbucks as a college student studying small business and entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.
After several months of apprenticeship with Jackson Hole Roasters, she started Stoked Roasters in Hood River, Oregon, a location that combined both of Jax’ passions: coffee and the outdoors.
“The thing about the outdoors and coffee is, what they do is build community,” she said.
Jax had realized her dream of owning a coffee company, but she still faced the dilemma of other outdoor enthusiasts and travelers. She couldn’t always find a good cup while traveling.
Starbucks’ Via was the only decent instant coffee on the market, and while people took it camping, it wasn’t made for outdoor enthusiasts, she said. Stoked is a company that isn’t just about the coffee, it’s meant to remind people about the sports and activities they love.
Jax wants people to drink a Stoked cup of coffee and taste their last adventure, she said. Stoked Stix launched in 2016 after months of research and development. She wanted a 100 percent organic product, but most importantly, she wanted it to taste good.
The instant coffee comes in small, individual packets people can take wherever they go.
Jax uses it not just for outdoor adventure, but also for traveling internationally in places where craft coffee is hard to find.
“I want to know what kind of coffee I’m going to have, wherever I am,” she said.
Carrying Stoked Stix guarantees she can have coffee that tastes good, while celebrating life’s adventures.