Standing in the drizzly rain in open-toed sandals, the foggy beach behind him and the smell of coffee in the air, it’s exactly the type of setting that Campstuff Coffee owner Kyle Bingham describes as classically “Pacific Northwestern.”
Bingham wants to sell you more than just a cup of coffee. To him, his business is about selling an experience: a warm cup of joe while visiting Deception Pass State Park, creating memories of a cozy drink experienced while in the great outdoors. He wants people to “get outside and enjoy life,” Bingham said.
“We wanted to enhance the outdoor experience,” he said, “And having a warm cup of coffee helps enrich that experience.”
The mobile coffee stand has only been open for three weeks, but already, business has gone “better than expected,” Bingham said. In the mornings, the small coffee trailer is located in the Deception Pass Lower Loop Campground, and moves to West Beach in the afternoons.
It’s the perfect spot for them to sell coffee, and the frequent overhead jet noise is no problem, Bingham said. In fact, he and his wife Sarah welcome it—he is happy to see the navy aviators keeping them safe, he said, and the Campstuff Coffee offers discounts for military, police and firefighters.
His life is all about adventure—the adventure of running a coffee stand with his wife of eight years, the hiking exploration he does in his free time, and running his other business when he’s not at Campstuff Coffee—Unavita, a small travel company where he leads groups on trips around the world.
Bingham is always ready to chat with customers, and on a sunny day he said you will likely find him sitting out on a wooden lawn chair by Campstuff Coffee, reading a book from his personal library, and if you’re interested he’ll let you borrow one of his books too.
Sarah Bingham has been in the coffee business since high school, and between the two of them “she’s the coffee pro,” Bingham said. He handles the business operations, and she works on whipping up the drinks—“so we’re combining our strengths,” he said.
“I love being able to be my own boss,” Sarah said. “I love making coffee and the fact I can do it on my own terms.”
The outdoorsy couple say they enjoy their location rain or shine.
“It’s raining today, but this is my office by the beach,” Bingham said. “You’re not in a cubicle, there’s no florescent lights. It’s all natural.”
The mobile stand is made from a vintage 1966 Shasta trailer, redone to suit their needs.
“We totally disassembled it and put it back together in the shape of a coffee stand,” Bingham said.
The couple painted, sanded and polished it, changing the outside color to blue instead of white.
On the Campstuff Coffee menu there’s a variety of drink options, including a s’mores mocha, caffé mocha, brevé, white chocolate mocha and classics like an Americano or drip coffee. For non-coffee drinkers, there’s an Italian soda.
Also for sale are steel and enamel mugs, printed with sayings such as “going to the woods is like going home,” “life is good in the woods” and “save the drama for your llama.”
They’ve had customers who have bought the mugs and sent in photos of them traveling with them, Bingham said. Campstuff Coffee is active on social media, with a blog, Instagram and Facebook page, all aimed at getting people outdoors as well as selling coffee.
The Binghams estimate that on busy days, they get several hundred customers and on slow days, between 75 and a hundred. Sundays are their busiest day, Sarah said, and they get customers from all over the U.S. who are visiting Deception Pass.
“We’ve met people from Maryland and Canada and that’s just today,” she said.
If they had to choose a favorite item off their menu, Sarah said she’d go for the simple Americano.
“If I were stranded on a desert island, with an espresso machine,” Bingham said, “I’d go for the white chocolate mocha.”