How does Death Wish Coffee make their coffee so strong?

Death Wish Coffee

If you saw Death Wish Coffee’s Super Bowl TV Commercial, you might wonder what makes Death Wish Coffee so strong.

Is it the roast level?

Turns out it’s not the roast level, exactly.

They tell the story themselves. Their beans are a mix of Robusta and Arabica beans that they dark roast, resulting in flavor hints of cherry and chocolate. Additionally, you brew it a little stronger for the full effect. So what makes the coffee so strong?

It’s the caffeine.

How do you get a higher-caffeine coffee bean without some sort of hybridization, GMO, or discovery of a special high-caffeine bean from the deep, dark rainforests of Ethiopia? Actually, the Death Wish beans are sourced from India and Peru.

Is the caffeine manually added, maybe by soaking the beans in liquid caffeine? In reality, the blend of Robusta and Arabica beans increases the caffeine level. Robusta coffee beans contain almost twice the caffeine as Arabica, but the extra caffeine makes the Robusta bitter. When the two are blended, you get more caffeine than our average coffee, but a better flavor than you would with just Robusta beans.

According to Caffeine Informer, the caffeine content is 660 mg per 12 oz cup. Wow! Put down that meth pipe! That is strong. If you have a pre-existing heart condition or a hair-trigger temper, at least get the O.K. from your cardiologist or parole officer.
For reference a typical 12 oz cup of brewed coffee contains 260 mg of caffeine.

Death Wish Coffee, not for the faint of heart, literally, but if you’re looking for a kick in the pants before you head out into the cruel world, brew a cup of Death Wish Coffee, it’s probably very popular on Bering Sea crab fishing boats.

Death Wish Coffee Roasters also offers a less caffeinated version called Valhalla, for the more sedate coffee lovers among us.

Order directly from Death Wish Coffee here

Or order from Amazon

Follow Death Wish Coffee on twitter: @DeathWishCoffee

Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

Stumptown Cold Brew CoffeeCold Brew Coffee? There’s nothing more refreshing than cold brewed coffee over ice for an afternoon pick-me-up.

The Stumptown Cold Brew is remarkably fresh-tasting. You’d expect something like coffee, that needs to be freshly brewed, to taste processed and maybe stale from a bottle. Not so with this cold brew. It tasted like, well, coffee! Happy surprise.

The Process

From the Stumptown site: “Cold brew”, also known as “cold press” or “toddy coffee,” is brewed without heat over a long duration. We craft our well-loved version by steeping freshly roasted coffee in room temperature water for over 12 hours, and using a double filtration process to procure the end result: a complex, smooth and sweet, full-bodied brew with bright juiciness, low acidity and a long chocolate finish.”

Where to find Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Cold Brew is available at all their cafes, online and retailers like Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca as well as others, check their site for more locations.

Learn more at


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Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee table top by Mark LaPoint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

Blue Bottle Craft of CoffeeThe Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes
by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman and Tara Duggan
Photography by Clay McLachlan
Illustrations by Michelle Ott
Published by Ten Speed Press

If you haven’t had the chance to visit Blue Bottle Coffee in the Bay Area or NYC, then you may not have heard of their cafes and roasted beans. If you are so lucky to have visited one, you are corrupted and will never be the same. For the rest of us there is The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.

Putting the craft into pour-over coffee

Great pour-over coffee starts with great beans roasted to perfection. That’s where James Freeman started, roasting beans in his stove. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee starts with James’s story of how he got from professional clarinetist performing in various bay area orchestras to coffee artisan extraordinaire. In a nutshell: vision.

James started small, first roasting small batches that he sold at local farmers markets, and later buying a coffee cart in an out-of-the-way location. But before long, the quality of the coffee started bringing the customers in to the point there were always lines of people patiently waiting. The saying, “build it and they will come,” was certainly true for Blue Bottle Coffee.

Soil, altitude and attitude

While coffee originated in Ethiopia, most is now grown in Brazil. Many of the growers who are producing the best beans for roasting are located in Africa, South America, Hawaii and Asia, and Blue Bottle sources from all these locations. The first chapter of The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee covers coffee growing, bean structure, harvesting, origins, locations, processing and the history of coffee beans. He features a couple of growers and includes some side notes on coffee blends, acidity and other factors that are not well known to the average coffee drinker.

First crack at the crack of dawn

From using a lowly kitchen stove to restored Probat industrial roasting machines, Freeman evolved into a master roaster. The crazy dream to roast coffee in his backyard with an adobe brick roaster powered by his German Shepherd (Who would power with it with a treadmill?), spurred the decision to get it right instead, from which Blue Bottle was born. He takes us through the process of roasting (listen for the crack of the beans), cupping and tweaking for flavor, which is dictated by the beans. The good roaster, like the sculptor, draws the character and flavor out of the raw bean. The chapter also includes step-by-step instructions if you want to roast at home using the same stove technique.

Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
Drink up

The next chapter covers some of Freeman’s preferred preparation techniques, including pour-over, French press, siphon, drip and espresso. (Be ready to fork out some serious money.)

He touches on Japanese coffee brewing tools and techniques. He offers pointers, how-to’s and sage advice. Note to the home brewer: Invest in a high-quality burr grinder.

Eat, drink and be merry

The last section of the book is devoted to the food that is served at the Blue Bottle Cafés. Try the coffee shop’s recipe for making homemade granola and yogurt. Also find recipes for crunchy biscotti, sweet madeleines, chocolate pudding, and savory delights like Braised Boar’s Shoulder and Stuart Brioza’s Tuna Melt Sandwiches. Afterword, toast to it all with Nopa’s Blue Bottle Martini.

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

A classic American success story, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, is conversational but informative. The photography is beautiful, as is the minimalist graphic design. This well-rounded guide complements anyone’s cookbook collection, as well as makes a worthy coffee table book.

The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is available at your local bookstore or online.

Handsome Coffee Roasters

Handsome Coffee Roasters - San SebastianQuestion: What’s the ultimate coffee roasting pedigree?

Answer: Handsome Coffee Roasters.

The founders of Handsome Coffee Roasters all hail from different  parts of the country. Three men on separate paths (one holds 3 Barista Championship titles), but each ended up at the same roaster before starting Handsome Coffee.

Where did they land? Intelligentsia Coffee! Why is that important? If you have to ask, then read on. Intelligentsia is arguably the best roaster in the U.S. If you’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy a pour-over cup of freshly brewed Intelligentsia Coffee, then you have not lived!*

The Founders

Tyler Wells, Michael Phillips and Chris Owens are steeped in coffee culture and specialty coffee roasting, preparation and serving. Michael is champion barista; twice U.S., once World. So you know he knows what’s what for taste. Chris, formerly from Counter Culture CoffeeRitual Roasters and Intelligentsia, now runs the roasting business. Tyler was so good at making coffee he was charged with opening the Pasadena operation of Intelligentsia.

The Taste

Quite good. There are two paths of flavor: Comfort or Adventure. Comfort are more traditional beans and roasts. Adventure are for the demanding coffee aficionado. Fresh-roasted Handsome Coffee Roasters beans are available for purchase online. Order some today!

Prices: $19 – $23 for 12 oz. $40 for the Comfort and Adventure set.

*If you live in Chicago or Los Angeles, drop what you’re doing and run out and get some now!

Herkimer Coffee for Pour-over Coffee Method

Herkimer Coffee Beans - Drip BlendHaving never heard of Seattle’s Herkimer Coffee prior to picking up a bag of beans. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have not tried other beans, Herkimer Coffee offers all the standards from Africa and South America. I decided to try the Drip Blend, not that I generally go with the blends, the coffee shop I made my purchase was low on the other types, unless I was looking for an espresso. And since it was a roaster I was not familiar with, the blend was a good place to start.

I ran out of filters for my Hario v60 drip cone, so I’m using my Melitta. I ground and brewed it the normal method.

Nice bold flavor, good start to finish of the cup.

I’m not an expert taster, I can’t give you all the notes of a particular bean, including weather on the day of harvest, if the picker was a male of female. But what I can say is that I like a certain boldness, mocha/chocolaty taste, I’m very sensitive to acidity and don’t like how some roasts turn sour after the cup cools (I tend to drink slow). Bearing that in mind I was very pleased. The flavor was bold, tasted good from beginning to end of the cup even as it had cooled down. No hint of acid. I’ll be looking for Herkimer Coffee roasted beans in the future.