A Life Lesson

“Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” – Unknown 

Chances are that you learned to love good coffee if you were in the service. I remember what seems like thousands of Army mornings (and afternoons and evenings) when I’d be exhausted, filthy (and occasionally a bit cold), where I’d search out the nearest source of the nectar of the gods to help keep me going. Coffee was comforting and functional. It helped to get your head on straight. It’s still a big part of my morning ritual.

photo of coffee
The mission for today: find one of these awesome shot glasses. That’s enough Death Wish right there to kick your day into high gear. Image from coffeeaffection.com

This Just Happened Yesterday

Last evening as I made my daily trip to Walmart (hey, don’t judge), I was strolling down the coffee aisle, and it turned into a trip down memory lane. In 2012, I had the itch to start a business, and after much deliberation, I decided on hypercaffeinated coffee. Energy drinks were beginning to take off, and I had a friend that was a well-respected international coffee merchant. As I researched, I stumbled upon a couple of like-minded guys. One was a fellow former soldier like me by the name of Evan Hafer. The other one of note was Mike Brown. If I recall correctly, Mike had just sold his house and moved back in with his mom as a cost-savings measure as he was experimenting with roasts and trying to get his coffee company going.

Evan’s business, Black Rifle Coffee Company, went public for $1.7 billion not too long ago and is featured prominently in Walmart and any other grocery store you shop at. We’re not talking about him today. Mike Brown went on to develop a hypercaffeinated blend he calls “Death Wish.” I had to smile a little bit when I saw Evan and Mike’s products prominently featured, one above the other, in the coffee section during my grocery run. As glad as I am for their success, I was more than a little disappointed in myself because back in 2012, I launched my hypercaffeinated coffee brand, Top Fuel Coffee, and it was good. Damn good. We got off to a fine start, and then, for many reasons I won’t get into today, I did something totally out of character. I quit. Today, Mike and Evan are millionaires many times over, and I’m here doing coffee reviews for SOFREP. Kids, never, ever quit at anything you believe in. Ever. Ok, I will now step down from my soapbox.

A Damn Fine Cup of Joe

photo of mike brown
Mike Brown. Coffee roaster, entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Death Wish Coffee. Image courtesy of Mike Brown

Death Wish has always been a great-tasting cup of coffee. That was never a problem. But, getting a product to go viral, no matter how good it is, can take a certain amount of time, talent, and luck. Mike won the proverbial lottery in 2016 when he won a contest for small business owners who wanted to advertise during the Super Bowl. The sponsor, Intuit QuickBooks, paid for all of the product costs of the spot and the $5 million bill for the 30-second Super Bowl spot.

After the commercial, the company was written up in Forbes, and the sky was the limit. So now you can Death Wish wherever coffee is sold. It’s the only coffee I drink since I stopped doing my own roasting. Why? A couple of reasons; it uses both Arabica and Robusta beans and tastes very much like mine did. Smooth and full-bodied. The secret is sourcing the highest quality Robusta beans available; they have twice as much caffeine as the typical arabica bean.

The other reason it’s my only coffee is that I only drink one cup a day. Death Wish is truly the world’s strongest cup of coffee, weighing in at an astounding 708 mg of caffeine per 12 ounces! A little bit goes a very long way. One bag lasts me for months. It ends up being less expensive than the nasty-tasting store brands in the long run. As a point of comparison, a “regular” cup of brewed coffee contains about 144mg of total caffeine. Yes, it’s that much stronger.

The stuff works better and faster than any energy drink and contains no additives, chemicals, or artificial flavors. Unless you decide to add it later, there is, of course, no sugar. And it’s all Fair Trade sourced from organically grown beans.