While the elephants march across stage at the Republican National Convention in Ohio and fuel a media frenzy among Democratic donkeys, a humble mule plods up the mountains of Idaho and churns out a heartwarming news story.
I come from the heartland of America. Minnesota is easy enough, but my highschool state is often overlooked and/or confused with others that have more vowels than outsiders can handle. The easiest association has always been agricultural. Iowa = corn, Idaho = potatoes. Ohio = where the river caught on fire and sparked a sputtering environmental movement.
In this story Idaho’s taters stay invisible underground, while its spectacular mountain scenery rises as a backdrop for a tropical crop: coffee.
Matt Bishop serves coffee brought into the Boise foothills on the back of his mule, in a true tribute to the way Colombian mules transport the coffee over mountains to be exported across the Americas.
Don’t be fooled by all the fancy, unnecessary accent marks in Café Mulé. This is a humble operation. The mule, named simply Richard, is led by an earnest-faced young man in overalls and a straw hat. Matt Bishop dishes out cups of coffee to hikers, mountain bikers, and other nature enthusiasts who need recharging. And he doesn’t charge them a cent.
Naturally, the Forest Service, when they caught wind of his generosity, booted him out of federal land for not paying for a permit. Logically, it’s an upfront to our capitalist society’s values, but ironically it was private landowners who offered Bishop stand space, a place to take a stand against greed and embrace slow-paced enjoyment of our national lands.
Café Mulé continues to pour free coffee to hikers willing to go off the beaten path, wait for a freshly prepared cup, and perhaps give a tip for his passion.
Back to Ohio and its burning river (and inflammatory attacks among candidates), I’d like to make two suggestions for a more environmentally friendly pour-over preparation:
1.) A reusable cone like the Brewologist stainless steel dripper that doesn’t require disposable paper filters.
2.) The hikers should follow the pack-it-in, pack-it-out philosophy and bring their own thermoses to not have disposable styrofoam cups.
Happy trails to you, and may coffee make them all the merrier!