Last Christmas I received the gift of a 16 ounce bag of this coffee as a gift from a friend who discovered it on Thisiswhyimbroke.com. Sorry friends and family, but this one is hands down my favorite gift I received for Christmas. As someone with a slight coffee habit my caffeine tolerance is pretty high, but this stuff is 14 and trying coffee for the first time the morning after a after a horrible overnight high-school orientation/retreat at an un-air-conditioned and badly maintained retreat center level energizing.
Death Wish Coffee contains 55 milligrams per fluid ounce of caffeine, for reference, that is roughly 2.69 times stronger than Starbucks brewed Pike Place Roast (20.6 milligrams per fluid ounce), and 3.67 times stronger than Dunkin’ Donuts brewed coffee (15 milligrams per fluid ounce). It is worth noting that this is a brand of coffee worth trying, but worth trying in moderation. While for someone like myself this stuff may be a waking up godsend. For someone with no caffeine tolerance it may legitimately be somewhat dangerous. While the caffeine per fluid ounce may be lower than say a 5-Hour Energy Shot by a significant margin, most people usually only consume one shot of 5 Hour Energy in the expected 5 hour time frame. Coffee drinkers on the other hand generally have 12-24 ounces of their favorite morning beverage at a time. That said, for my morning cup, this is my go to.
As for the coffee itself, the beans used are Robusta beans, so don’t expect the smooth tea-like consistency of a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts brand cup of coffee. The texture is more similar in my view to hot cocoa. It’s a thicker darker brew. Robusta beans (as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will tell you) were once the norm in the United States when diner style coffee was the expectation, as opposed to the smoother brewed and harder to cultivate Arabica beans that Starbucks and others have made the new normal in the era of the modern coffee shop. Most people prefer the “fancier” beans today because of the perceived superior texture and flavor of the coffee they produce, but I personally find myself preferring the heavier more bitter taste of the beans used in Death wish coffee. For a brand with a gimmick like “world’s strongest coffee” I fully expected the taste to be downright terrible, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the strong and flavorful taste of this coffee.
As for their ethics as a company they are fair trade certified and certified organic. Strangely their website contains only one mention of this fact and no links, but a small amount of independent research can verify these claims.
My largest contention with Death Wish Coffee is probably the $19.99 price tag for a 16 ounce bag of beans. Seeing as they’re selling coffee that is primarily composed of Robusta beans I would expect the price to be a bit lower. That said I would give them a pass for the high price if they offered any reasoning for it (organic methods of farming are more difficult, a specific fair trade deal causes increased prices, “we’re selling a specialty product”, or anything related to being a young small business), but unfortunately as far as I have found they do not.
Other factors (ethics, sustainability, price, etc.) : 8.8/10
VERY STRONG – actually quite delicious – fair trade and organic – a tad expensive – worth a shot for any routine coffee drinker
Most coffee brewed for this review was brewed using an Idylc Homes brand French press, and the rest was brewed using a Mr. Coffee brand electronic coffee maker. Individual results may vary.