About Big Year Coffee

The idea of Big Year Coffee begins from a well-researched understanding of agriculture's impacts on wildlife. While visiting Costa Rica as a college undergraduate I witnessed the scale and impact of mass agriculture on tropical birds and wildlife. The large forests of ancient trees and complex vines of fruiting figs once stood now were reduced to a mono-crop of one of my favorite daily drinks, coffee. However; on this trip, I also visited one small family-owned farm that shade grew their own coffee. Fortunately for me, I was visiting with a renowned professor of avian ecology. We returned the next year and counted the birds in the shade patch versus the non-shaded patches and found an abundance of birds and a rich set of species that was incomparable to the non-shade grown patch.

I never forgot this experience and as I grew my own coffee company from scratch I knew shade-grown coffee had to be on the menu. I couldn't get myself to accept that the coffee I drank had to demolish the biodiverse jungles of such a beautiful country like Costa Rica. Not only is the bird-friendly coffee we source shade-grown, but it's also completely organic, GMO and pesticide-free. This means our beans are some of the most natural and delicious coffee you can buy.

Big Year Coffee is more than just whole beans though, our original product, the single-use pour-over, was founded by my partner Kait and me while visiting Japan on a big year birding trip. I bought the filters at a 711, used them for coffee a few mornings, and realize they would be a great substitute for crappy tasting instant coffee I typically used for fieldwork and backpacking. I connected with a sourcing company and after roughly conducting some scientific taste tests found two blends of coffee that tasted the best, which became Cotinga and Sunbird Blend.

In the birding world, a Big Year is a challenge to identify as many birds as possible in a pre-determined time or location, Big Year goals can be audacious or simple. Over time, a Big Year for us became synonymous with our adventure, exploring new environments and working towards a goal, it was the perfect name for our new small business. Not to mention that I was beginning his first big year when we began the idea for the company.

We started Big Year Coffee with the hopes of combining the familiarity of a great cup of coffee with our love of outdoor adventures, van life, and bird-watching. We hope you join us along in our journey, as you travel the world, camp, or just enjoy a cup of coffee on the go! Keep in touch through our blog or Instagram, and let us know about your Big Year moments.

Kait and Avery enjoying some Big Year Coffee in Canyonlands National Park
- Kait and Avery