Trekking the Appalachian Trail is a challenging task that involves traversing more than 2,000 miles of rough landscape. To maintain their energy levels, hikers often turn to caffeine. This piece delves into the complex emotions hikers have towards Folgers Instant Coffee while on the trail and explains why it continues to be a preferred option.

The Quest for Mammoth-Sized Pancakes

The author and their group on the Appalachian Trail required a fast and invigorating breakfast as they neared the end of their journey. They aimed to arrive at a road crossing by 8 a.m. the following day, enticed by the prospect of large pancakes and a refreshing shower. Despite the rain impeding their advance, they relied on Folgers Instant Coffee to sustain them.

The Controversy of Folgers Instant Coffee

Folgers Instant Coffee has faced criticism for its flavor, which is commonly likened to strong adhesive or corrosive acid. While coffee enthusiasts and professional baristas tend to prefer pricier and more specialized alternatives, those trekking on lengthy paths such as the Appalachian Trail have grown to value its practicality and cost-effectiveness.

The writer has concluded that after walking for many miles and drinking a lot of caffeine, Folgers Instant Coffee is the best source of energy. Although it may not have a great taste, it is effective.

Exploring Other Caffeine Options

Hikers have a knack for finding ways to get their caffeine fix while on the trail. They have access to a range of options, from flavored gummies and protein bars to matcha. Some hikers prefer niche instant coffees from companies like Intelligentsia, Verve, and Starbucks Via, but these can be costly and harder to find than Folgers Instant Coffee.

The Virtues of Folgers Instant Coffee

Although it has its limitations, Folgers Instant Coffee is still a preferred option for numerous hikers. The writer emphasizes two primary factors for this choice:

  1. Folgers coffee is easily accessible in gas stations and grocery stores throughout the United States, making it a convenient choice for hiking in remote locations where other coffee brands may not be available.
  2. Specialty instant coffees can be very costly, costing between $12 and $16 for only a few servings. However, Folgers Instant Coffee provides eight ounces at a much lower cost. This affordability is particularly important for hikers who have limited funds.

The Downside of Folgers Instant Coffee

The writer admits that Folgers Instant Coffee has some drawbacks, such as its unappealing flavor and difficulty in consumption, particularly in larger amounts. Nevertheless, this negative aspect can be viewed positively, as it prevents hikers from consuming too much and helps them maintain the appropriate level of attentiveness.

The Humbling Effect of Hiking

Embarking on lengthy hikes such as the Appalachian Trail can be a humbling experience that tests hikers’ beliefs. The writer contemplates their initial aversion to Folgers Instant Coffee, which stemmed from their fondness for high-end coffee labels. Nevertheless, they discovered that presumptions regarding working conditions and ecological consequences are not always correct.

According to Kim Elena Ionescu, a member of the Specialty Coffee Association, the belief that specialty coffee automatically guarantees improved labor conditions and environmental advantages is inaccurate. It is crucial to conduct further research before forming opinions about particular items or labels.


The Appalachian Trail’s relationship with Folgers Instant Coffee is both love and hate due to its affordability and convenience. Although it may not have the best taste, it is a dependable source of caffeine for hikers. The trail encourages hikers to be open to new experiences and let go of their expectations. Folgers Instant Coffee, along with frozen burritos, teaches us that we are often wrong about our assumptions.

Consider bringing a cup of Folgers Instant Coffee on your next long hike to fuel your adventure.

To obtain additional details about hiking the Appalachian Trail, please visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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