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Our Story


Camp 4 Coffee is located in the beautiful mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado. All of the coffee that is served in our retail locations and offered on our website is roasted by hand, in small batches, by human beings. Only two humans know the top-secret recipe for creating the delicious Camp 4 beans. Camp 4 is lucky to have a great team of baristas, kitchen crew and roasters, who are lead by a dynamic personality known as Al Smith.

The inspiration for Camp 4 Coffee came from the mountains. The name for this small coffee company was born around a campfire in Yosemite, CA. Al and his climbing partners were trying to create a name for a new coffee cart that would operate outside the Mt. Crested Butte bus stop during the winter (-40 degree temperatures are common at 6:30 A.M.). The group settled on Camp 4 Coffee because it was a name that connected with mountaineering and altitude. The group also happened to be sitting in Yosemite’s camp #4, which is a famous location in the world of rock climbing. On major climbing expeditions, camp 4 is usually the last opportunity for climbers to get something hot to eat and drink before making a push for the summit. It may be a place of refuge if things get tough. It is always a place of camaraderie, inspiration, and sometimes consolation.

The residents of Crested Butte are mountain enthusiasts. Mountaineers, climbers, snowboarders, skiers, hikers, mountain bikers, artists, writers, and dreamers have chosen to live in Crested Butte to be surrounded by a vast expanse of mountains. Visitors of the area come to experience the beauty and the challenge that the mountains offer, and many of them are changed forever. It is common for a visitor to return the next year to take a year off from the real world to play in the mountains, but then decide that the place and the people are too special to leave. The people of Crested Butte are strong and possess big hearts and genuine smiles. They are a hearty group who enjoy and thrive amongst the challenges that their high mountain home presents to them. Al felt that these people deserve a good cup of coffee to help them through the day. Since 1993, he has provided a hot cup of joe to residents and visitors. While waiting in line at a Camp4 shop, you are bound to meet some of the wild characters that make Crested Butte unique and you also likely see owner and operator Al Smith engaged in conversation, or running around with a frantic energy that is fueled by his 6 americano’s-a-day coffee diet.

“Come to the mountains and get their Glad Tidings” John Muir

Al Smith


Owner & Operator Al Smith

In 1993, Al Smith came to Crested Butte from an Alaska commercial fishing career to help start the Just Coffee cart in Mt. Crested Butte. It went well and Al later bought out the assets of Just Coffee to start Camp 4 Coffee. Over the years, he has added carts and buildings around the area. Al has two kids who help with the roasting and bagging, and who have grown up napping on the aromatic coffee bags. If you are ever in C.B. South and see the barn smoking, stop by and say hello.