Death Wish Coffee

4.3

Acidity

2.0/10

Aftertaste

4.5/10

Aroma

3.0/10

Balance

6.6/10

Body

7.0/10

Complexity

2.8/10

Flavor

5.5/10

Forgiveness

6.5/10

Sweetness

2.5/10

Versatility

2.5/10

Pros

  • High caffeine content
  • Balanced, smooth
  • USDA Certified organic
  • Fair trade

Cons

  • No complexity
  • No sweetness
  • No acidity
  • Unknown freshness
  • Unknown origin
  • Not ideal for immersion brew methods like French Press
  • Expensive

If you've been following my coffee reviews for awhile here at The Coffee Concierge, you may have noticed that I don't review very many dark roast coffees.

Well, that changes today.

And today's review isn't just any dark roast coffee, today's review is a dark roast blend that claims to be the “World's Strongest Coffee.”

This is Death Wish Coffee.

What does “strongest” mean?World's Strongest Coffee

Strong can be interpreted in different ways when it comes to evaluating coffee, but in this case, “strong” refers to the coffee's caffeine content.

Death Wish Coffee has twice the caffeine as your typical cup of coffee.

Of course, there is no such thing as a “typical” cup of coffee in my world, but I guess we can just assume that Death Wish is comparing their dark roast blend to one that uses arabica beans exclusively.

And that's what makes Death Wish more caffeinated…it isn't exclusively arabica beans.

Robusta and Arabica

Death Wish Coffee

If this talk about arabica beans has you confused, let me explain…

Of the hundreds of coffee species in the world, there are two main coffee species consumed and sold. They are:

Coffea Arabica and Coffea Canephora (AKA Coffea Robusta).

Arabica beans are generally considered to be superior to Robusta from a taste perspective, which is largely attributed to the more limited caffeine content (caffeine is bitter).

Robusta beans have twice the caffeine content that arabica beans have.

Arabica beans also have a higher lipid and sugar content (60%), which contributes to perceived acidity and natural sweetness.

So what's the secret to Death Wish Coffee's higher caffeine content?

Simple: the Death Wish blend includes Robusta beans and Arabica beans. The extra caffeine is brought out by the Robusta beans.

Super Bowl Ad

This is the ad that Death Wish Coffee ran (courtesy of Intuit) during Super Bowl 50:

Video Review

General Notes and Observations

Death Wish Coffee Packaging

To say that Death Wish Coffee isn't very transparent about where their coffee comes from is an understatement.

And I get it.

After all, if you had the secret sauce would you give it away to the competition?

Of course not.

And while Death Wish Coffee's main selling point is the caffeine content, the coffee itself is actually quite palatable despite the fact that it's roasted to oblivion with unknown level of freshness (there is no “roasted on” date, only a “best before” date).

It's pretty smart of Death Wish to include arabica beans in the mix considering that a bag of robusta beans would probably not taste very good by itself.

Roast: Very dark

Aroma: movie theater popcorn, rubber

Roaster tasting notes: cherry, chocolate

Producers: unknown

Region: unknown

Cultivar: unknown

Processing method: unknown

Farm elevation: unknown

Brew MethodsKalita Wave 185

Given how dark and oily these beans were, I had a feeling that I would have to brew with a coarse grind, low temperature, and thick paper filters.

And for the most part, this is exactly what I did.

I never brewed with water that was hotter than 195˚F. I frequently brewed with the Chemex and Kalita Wave to filter out the inevitable bitter compounds I expected from these beans.

I think it worked, as I rarely made a cup of coffee that was undrinkable.

To be honest, I was surprised.

I won't break down the different methods here because I didn't really have a particular preference.

I wouldn't recommend it for French Press though, as there is simply way too much oil and sediment that won't get filtered out.

I think Death Wish Coffee brews nicely with a Chemex or Kalita Wave, given the thick paper filters used with both coffee makers.

Ratings

Death Wish Coffee Review

If you’re new here, you can check out how I rate whole bean coffee here.

Acidity

Virtually none. This was a coffee that had more nutty notes than acidic ones.

Score: 2

Aftertaste

Nothing really wrong with the aftertaste, but nothing special about it either. A bit dry, but nothing I can complain about.

Score: 3

Aroma

You'll either love the aroma or hate it. I personally didn't think it smelled particularly delicious. Movie theater popcorn and rubber isn't really a good combo if you ask me.

The aroma is crazy strong though. You'll easily smell this coffee through the box that it arrives in.

Score: 2

Balance

Surprisingly smooth and neutral. Given the lack of acidity, the balance shifts towards the darker, nuttier notes.

Score: 4

Body

Not as much body as I'd expect given how oily the beans are. Of course, the brew methods I used had a lot to do with this. The slight dryness in the aftertaste retracts from the overall score here, but not by much.

Score: 4

Complexity

You don't buy this coffee for it's complexity, you buy it for its caffeinated kick. If somebody tells you this tastes like a chocolate covered cherry, they either have an amazing palate, or they're lying to you (and themselves).

Score: 1

Flavor

Nothing really notable about the flavor, but this was a pretty neutral and drinkable coffee.

Score: 3

Forgiveness

This was a very consistent coffee across brew methods for me. I also didn't have any bad brews. Maybe I was just able to dial it in more quickly?

Score: 4.5

Sweetness

Nothing sweet about it. Not too bitter though (I expected to have to add cream and sugar).

Score: 2

Versatility

I didn’t experiment with enough brew methods to really rate this category.

Score: n/a

Should you try Death Wish Coffee?

If you are not getting the caffeine pick-me-up you are seeking in the coffee you already drink, then Death Wish Coffee is definitely worth a try.

Of course, you could always drink more of what you're already drinking to match the effect. After all, this stuff is not the cheapest coffee out there.

If you're more concerned with the way your coffee tastes than how much caffeine it comes packed with, I'd look elsewhere.

In my opinion, Death Wish Coffee doesn't taste bad, but it doesn't taste good either.

Tried Death Wish yourself?

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment and/or review below!