Coffee-loving Couple Combines Java and Adventure

John and Nicole Connelly.

A few years ago while trekking high in the Peruvian Andes on a seven-day adventure, John and Nicole Connelly had a life-changing epiphany.

“We came across this amazing small organic farm and the lightbulb went off,” Nicole said. “Wow, coffee is grown in these amazing places where adventures abound in that equatorial zone and no one is bringing the two together—so let’s make a cool coffee brand and have it be [about] adventurous outdoor lifestyles.”

And so Adventurous Joe Coffee of Falmouth, Maine was born in late 2011, a company that not only sells organic and certified fair trade coffees imported to the U.S., but also serves up epic trips to the land of coffee beans.

Having met on a sea kayaking journey, the couple shared similar interests in the outdoors and as coffee lovers.

John’s career launched in western Pennsylvania as a rafting guide and by the time he became a college senior, he had started his own rafting company on West Virginia’s Gauley River.

From there, he expanded northward into Maine, eventually offering whitewater trips in New York and Maryland as well as overseas in Italy and Switzerland. Sea kayaking was part of the package too with adventures in Maine, North Carolina, and Florida.

But java junkies often need new horizons. John sold the business in 1996 after holding on for 19 years. A few years later, he found himself as part of the L.L. Bean management team in Freeport, Maine, hired to develop their outdoor adventure programming and experiential retail stores.

He developed their Outdoor Discovery School programs.

After about a decade, it was time to move on.

“My life is still in bean, but it’s the coffee bean now,” he said.

Nicole was born into an outdoor lifestyle and is an avid sea kayaker, mountain biker, cyclist, and skier.

“I don’t specialize and I’m not really great at any one of them,” she said. “I’m a generalist, shall we say. I like to do it all.”

Her experience is as a professional fundraiser, largely in organizations with environmental ties. That blends well into marketing and sales for the coffee company.

“We did have an ah-hah moment,” Nicole said. “I’ve always loved coffee, that’s for sure. I pretty much need it to feel human.”

Adventurous Joe Coffee is sold in “honest pound” reusable, zip-top bags costing between $14.50 and $15.50, available through their website. There are two-pound and five-pound bags for sale as well.

The website exudes community, offering ways for people to share their adventures while also being able to purchase coffee gear from presses to pots.

“On our website you can buy everything you need [for] an epic cup of coffee, whether you are hanging off the wall of El Capitan or you’re in your Manhattan townhouse, and everywhere in between,” John said. “We have backcountry brewing devices and hand grinders.”

The Connellys also provide outdoor lovers with a chance to go on an eight-day, multi-sport and coffee farm trip to Costa Rica.

Float by the spider monkeys in Torteguero National Park on a flat-water river and then spend a day rafting the whitewater in Pacuare River Gorge. Get good with trees in the Rios Tropicales rainforest while zip lining and try your hand at catching your own tilapia for dinner. The trip finishes with a coffee farm too that touches on sustainability, cultivation, harvesting, and processing.

“Everyone has these adventures that are fueled with a cup of joe in the morning,” John said. “We like to be out in the middle of nowhere and have a great cup of coffee that is epic, and combine it with an epic adventure.”

Image by Marty Basch

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