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Death Wish Coffee Quick Look

I Instagrammed a photograph of the Death Wish Coffee Dave Hamilton sent to me, and several people asked me to review it. Accordingly, I pulled a couple of espresso shots with it this morning, and I’m delighted to report that Death Wish Coffee is good.

What could go wrong? Thanks @davehamilton!

A photo posted by Bryan Chaffin (@geektells) on

That’s the short version. But, since coffee is as subjective as anything else on the planet, I should probably explain my preferences. My joke is that I like my coffee like I like my women: cold and sweet. Which isn’t true. I like my women smart, funny, warm, and kind, but roll with the joke.

Secondly, I don’t like coffee. Never have. I like espresso, and when I say espresso, I want it drenched in a flavored sweetener, drowning in milk, and chilled. In other words, I drink iced lattes. And I’m a bit of a snob about it.

Coffee snobs will probably scoff and Mason Truman would laugh his fictional ass off. Even real espresso snobs will no doubt roll their eyes so hard the pop would be heard ’round the world. They’d be right. Compared to a real espresso snob, I’m a total newb. The idea of a straight shot of espresso makes me want to gag. I love a good iced latte, and I want it sweet.

Rancilio Heaven
My home’s coffee station. The need of a proper cleaning lets you know it’s working.

Nutty Chocolate

My daily driver sweetener is Torani’s Irish Cream. I love “Irish cream” flavor, and I’ve long known if there was anything that would turn me away from a lifetime of teetotaling, it was Bailey’s. To that end, Amoretti’s Premium Irish Cream is the best Irish cream syrup I’ve tried (and their Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean is tasty, too).

The kind of bean/roast that goes best with Irish cream (syrup) has a nutty, chocolate flavor. A lot of people like espresso with a fruity flavor or berry notes, but I’m not among them. If I’m working with beans like that, I prefer a vanilla sweetener, or better yet, Torani’s French Vanilla.

With all that as backdrop, Death Wish Coffee is a little nutty with chocolate notes. At least my first two pulls were. They say it has “subtle notes of cherry and chocolate,” but I didn’t taste the cherry, and I did taste “nutty.” I’ll update this post if future pulls change that.

Update: These beans are a dark roast and the beans are very oily. My understanding is that a lot of your flavor comes from the oil, so this is a good thing—Dave Hamilton noted on Facebook that it plays hell with his superautomatic. I’m fairly certain the lesson should be to use a proper espresso machine (or drip coffee maker), but I know there are a lot of superautomatic fans out there.

It produced a medium level of crema—I’ve had better and much worse on that front.

Oh, and it was delicious.


So the flavor is there, but what about the caffeine level?
Death Wish Coffee’s marketing is all about that caffeine, and they claim their selection of beans and their “unique roasting process” results in caffeine levels that are twice other coffee beans.

I absolutely love the marketing angle. “Death Wish Coffee.” Come on! That’s fracking awesome. I don’t know if it truly has twice regular caffeine levels, but I got a little more kick out of it than normal. Not twice as much. Maybe not even a lot more, but it was assuredly more.

Again, this was just my first sample.


All in all, I call Death Wish Coffee a winner. It’s tasty, produces good crema, and has a little more kick without going over the top. I like it enough I wish they had a referral program, because I absolutely recommend it.

They also have a Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend. I plan to try it, too.

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