- Kick bad habits with something just as strong but 100% natural.
- The package weight of the product is 4 pounds
- The package dimension of the product is 6"L x 5"W x 4"H
- Country of origin is United States
There are mornings when you just need a cup of dark, bold coffee to jumpstart your day. If you like your morning coffee strong and black like I do, you must have already heard of Death Wish Coffee.
If you’re an avid coffee aficionado like me, Death Wish Coffee’s quirky marketing campaigns must have grabbed your attention, too. Billed as the “world’s strongest coffee,” there’s been a lot of buzz around this brand in the past five years, especially after they bagged a 30-second commercial slot in the 2016 Super Bowl.
But does Death Wish Coffee live up to its bold claims? Just how strong is a cup of the “World’s Strongest Coffee,” and is it safe to ingest every day?
I wanted to find out for myself, so I had to try whether this coffee is as strong as it claims to be. In this article, I’ll share what I discovered about Death Wish Coffee, and whether the critics and customers’ hype around the product is justified.
What is Death Wish Coffee?
Before we dive into our review, let’s answer some questions that you may probably be asking about Death Wish Coffee.
How much caffeine is in it, exactly?
The company doesn’t release exact figures related to the caffeine content of their coffees. However, a 2015 test by EMSL Food Chemistry Lab (cited in the Caffeine Informer) found 200 to 210 mg of caffeine per 100 mL of brewed Death Wish Coffee.
While the website ranked the caffeine content levels in Death Wish Coffee as “dangerous,” Caffeine Informer also noted that another test conducted by SDS Agri Food Laboratory showed that Death Wish Coffee contained significantly less caffeine than previously found by EMSL.
According to a review by the New York Times’ Wirecutter, the EMSL ratio translates to about 728 mg of caffeine in a 12-oz cup (which is how much coffee is in a tall Starbucks cup).
By contrast, the same amount of Starbucks’ dark, medium, and blonde roasts contain 193, 235, and 270 mg, respectively. So when you drink a cup of Death Wish, it’s comparable to drinking two and a half to three cups of coffee from Starbucks.
About the Death Wish Coffee Company
The Guy Behind the Coffee
Death Wish Coffee was founded in Saratoga Springs, New York by a coffee shop owner named Mike Brown in 2012. In a 2016 interview with Susan Adams of Forbes, Mike recalled how his quest for the “world’s strongest coffee” started: When he was still running his coffee shop in Saratoga Springs, customers came in all the time and asked for their strongest blend.
Mike did his own research online and sampled different coffees from different suppliers to create his own intense, full-bodied blend. He even designed the logo on his own – the menacing skull and crossbones – as well as the name of the coffee blend.
This unique concept helped him make a splash when he joined a contest for small businesses, sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks. They bested 15,000 other small businesses and landed a deal to produce an advertisement, which Intuit QuickBooks paid to air during a Super Bowl game.
Since then, Death Wish Coffee has grown continuously as a brand. They’ve become the official coffee sponsor of the New York Comic Con, and they have sponsored NASCAR Drivers and the Special Olympics. In 2018, Death Wish Coffee playfully claimed in their podcast that they are now the “strongest coffee in the galaxy.” This was after they partnered with NASA, SpaceX, and NASA Food Labs, to send packets of their instant coffee to astronauts in the International Space Station.
Is Death Wish Coffee safe to drink?
While there is a general consensus among experts that moderate amounts of caffeine don’t necessarily increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, or cancer, it is still important to take caffeine in moderation.
In general, regular consumption of coffee is considered safe, albeit habit-forming. Nevertheless, there are some caffeine side effects that you might need to take note of, including anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping.
The US Food and Drug Administration has cited 400 mg of caffeine a day as an amount that can be included in the diet of most healthy adults. That’s about four or five cups of coffee. For comparison, an 8 oz. cup of Death Wish Coffee contains 472 mg of caffeine, according to Consumer Report.
While the number may sound alarming, there may not be too much cause for concern. Speaking to Consumer Report, Neal Benowitz, a professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco, said that there’s a difference between getting 400 mg of caffeine a day and getting that same amount in more than one sitting. That is, when you consume that much caffeine in just one sitting, you’ll likely get a more intense response in your body.
So, should you try it?
Based on what we already know, I recommend that you try this drink only if you are certain that you have a high tolerance for caffeine – and that you can handle above average amounts of caffeine.
You also have to be aware of the effects of having too much caffeine before you try Death Wish Coffee. According to Maggie Sweeney, a caffeine researcher and postdoctoral research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, when you consume more caffeine than what you’re used to, you might experience any of the following:
- Feeling nervous, anxious, irritable, or jittery
- Having excessive urine production
- Having irregular heartbeat
For those with insomnia or anxiety, excessive caffeine consumption might worsen your symptoms, so do be conscientious of your caffeine intake.
If you’re interested to see how much coffee is enough for you, Caffeine Informer has a coffee calculator that you can try.
Is Death Wish Coffee organic?
According to their website, Death Wish Coffee is also USDA-certified organic. This means that the soil used to grow the coffee beans is not fertilized with synthetic nitrogen and phosphates, which can deplete the soil of vital nutrients and produce toxic waste.
Where is it sourced?
Death Wish Coffee is made with a carefully selected combination of arabica and robusta beans mostly from Ethiopia, India, and Peru.
These beans are purchased through fair trade; that is, the beans are sourced directly from coffee farmers, and that the farmers are compensated well. Fair trade practices ultimately help farming communities by making the farmers globally competitive and by supporting sustainable development in their regions.
What is the roast shade used?
After testing various combinations of shades and coffee beans, the company settled on French roast. This gives a cup of Death Wish Coffee its signature dark, smoky aroma.
The beans are carefully roasted using a Loring Kestrel Roaster, an environmentally friendly coffee roaster that efficiently recirculates hot air, which helps preserve the natural flavors of the coffee. Coffee roasted using a Loring Kestrel tends to have larger flavor profiles.
How should I grind my Death Wish Coffee beans?
To get the perfect cup of joe, you need to get the right grind for the brewing method you’re going to use. Here are the types of grind you should be using, depending on how you brew your coffee:
- Extra Coarse Grind – when you’re preparing a cold brew
- Coarse Grind – most commonly used when brewing coffee with a French Press
- Medium-Coarse Grind – perfect for when you’re using Chemex or a cafe solo brewer
- Medium Grind – for drip brewing methods
- Medium-Fine Grind – used for pour-over cone drippers, vacuum pots, and siphon brewers
Death Wish Coffee Variants
Death Wish Coffee comes in two main variants, the medium roast and the dark roast.
- WORLDS STRONGEST COFFEE: Our coffee grinds will transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious, bold, and dark coffee that will revolutionize your morning.
- QUALITY BREW: Hands down, the best ground coffee in the world. One sip of Death Wish dark roast coffee will have you saying goodbye to store-bought forever. Enjoy high quality energy and artisanal flavor with every sip.
- BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never-bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile. We've carefully selected and expertly ground premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from around the world to deliver you a dark roast ground coffee beverage with a bold taste you’ll instantly fall in love with.
- FAIR AND ORGANIC: Every 16 oz. bag is bursting with Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic ground coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost you can be proud to support. Organic Coffee. Strong Coffee. Death Wish Coffee.
- TRY IT RISK-FREE: Death Wish Coffee comes highly rated by thousands of satisfied customers who can't get enough of our high caffeine coffee. But we'll let you be the judge. If you don't love our dark roast ground coffee, we'll refund your order, no questions asked.
This coffee blend is made with robusta and arabica beans from India and Peru. It makes for a rich, super dark brown cup, although it’s not too acidic. It contains the same amount of caffeine as the medium roast; that is, it’s double the strength of the average cup of joe.
Each sip makes for an intense caffeine kick, and although the Death Wish Coffee company claims that their blend is “never bitter,” I found it to be slightly bitter. The strong coffee flavor is expected, as well as the rich flavor with cherry and dark chocolate undertones.
- A LIGHTER SHADE OF BOLD: A shade or two lighter than Death Wish Coffee’s original blend, our bagged medium roast ground coffee is just as caffeinated as our original roast as it stays true to its glory as the World’s Strongest Coffee.
- TOP-GRADE BEANS: Our expertly ground premium Arabica and Robusta beans balanced with hints of caramel and roasted peanuts, notes of stone fruit and smooth dark chocolate flavor will make you fall in love instantly with every sip.
- SUSTAINABLE STANDARDS: Each bag is packed with the highest quality USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade beans to give you the coffee from the best sources while also empowering our farmers.
- 100% NATURAL: Our ground coffee is low in acidity and has only about 1 calorie per cup, no carbs, protein or fiber, no artificial additives or ingredients.
- QUALITY BREW: Brewing ratio is 2.5 tablespoons of ground coffee per every 6 ounces of water to ensure the kick of caffeine without compromising its bold flavor.
This coffee is made of robusta, arabica, and yirgacheffe beans grown in Ethiopia, India, and Peru. It’s a shade lighter than the original blend, and is also less acidic. Make no mistake: it’s still the same, intensely caffeinated coffee, only with a more mellow and smoother profile. It’s less “in your face” and more “relaxed, easy drinking,” I would say.
There are fruity notes, with hints of caramel, roasted peanuts, and dark chocolate, making for a bright, exciting cup. It’s the kind of coffee with a flavor that makes you want to come back for more.
Other Variants: K-Cups, Cold Brew, and Instant Coffee
The same highly caffeinated Death Wish Coffee is available in other forms:
Single-serve coffee pods (which they call death cups), which you can buy if you use a Keurig machine to brew coffee
- WORLD’S STRONGEST COFFEE: Death Cups are packed with our signature dark-roasted Death Wish Coffee that will instantly transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious, bold, and intense beverage that will revolutionize your morning. Get ready to wake up, feel focused, and be good to go.
- EASY COMPATIBILITY: Death Wish coffee pods are easy to use and compatible with most coffee machines.
- BOLD FLAVOR: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle, never bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile that's also low in acidity. We've carefully selected premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from around the world to deliver you a bold taste we know you'll fall for.
- FAIR AND ORGANIC: Every single serve of Death Wish Coffee is bursting with Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost you can be proud to support.
- DEATH CUP DESIGN: Our rigid single-use Death Cup capsule design is built to hold our best-selling coffee and won't easily slip out of your hands. And best of all, they’re recyclable, making you a hero for your mornings and a hero for the planet.
Ready-to-drink cold brew in cans, for when you just need that caffeine kick on the go
- ORGANIC POWER: Every 8 fl oz can of Death Wish cold brew is jam-packed with Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost all day long.
- ENERGY ON THE GO: For those breakfast on the go kind of days, jump-start your morning by grabbing our ready-to-drink coffee cans and be out of the door in a matter of minutes. Fuel your day with 300 mg of caffeine in each can.
- QUALITY BREW: Our cold brew canned coffee is expertly made using low carb, dairy-free, and keto-friendly ingredients that ensure you get the highest quality energy with every sip.
- BOLD AND STRONG: We've carefully selected and expertly roasted premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans from around the world to deliver you a coffee beverage with a bold taste of caffeine. Its slightly sweetened flavor is something you'll instantly fall in love with.
- TRY IT RISK-FREE: Thousands of satisfied customers will tell you just how awesome our canned coffee drinks are. But we'll let you be the judge. If you don't love our coffee, we'll refund your order, no questions asked.
Instant coffee sticks – perfect for when you’re out camping, traveling, or bikepacking. Just add 8 oz. of water or milk, stir, and enjoy
- PREMIUM BEANS: The smooth, never bitter taste that is recognizable in every stick of our Death Wish Instant Coffee is sourced from Arabica and Robusta coffee roasted through our unique process that naturally enhances the flavor of this world's strongest coffee without any reservations.
- STRONGEST CAFFEINE KICK: Each pack of 300 mg of caffeine satisfies our main goal to provide you the flavor and highest caffeine content that may result in energetic days and sleepless nights.
- ORGANIC POWER: Each pack is jam-packed with USDA Certified Organic coffee, giving you a natural caffeine boost all day long that you can bring wherever you go.
- READY-TO-BREW: Simply tear open a packet, pour into a cup, and add 8 oz of hot water or milk at 170-degrees Fahrenheit to enjoy its best taste in an instant.
- TRY IT RISK-FREE: Thousands of satisfied customers will tell you just how awesome our single-serve instant coffee is. But we'll let you be the judge! If you don't love our coffee, we'll refund your order, no questions asked.
How to Brew the Death Wish Coffee
As with any kind of coffee, the caffeine content (as well as the taste) of a cup of Death Wish coffee will vary depending on the brewing method you choose.
If you want to have a stronger brew, you can use either a French Press or a Chemex. To get fresher coffee, you can buy whole beans and grind a fresh batch of beans for your morning brew. If you think your brew is a bit too strong, you can always adjust your water ratio.
There is no one way to brew coffee – it depends on how you want to have your cup. But the guys at Death Wish Coffee actually have a recommended brewing ratio to get the most out of your brew.
Unlike other coffees that prescribe using 1 tablespoon for every cup, Death Wish Coffee recommends 2.5 tablespoons of grinds to every 6 ounces of water. Following this ratio, you’ll easily get the bold, strongly flavored cup that you’re after. If this ratio is too strong for you, you can always change the ratio and use less coffee grounds.
Want a slightly stronger brew? Here are some ways to brew a stronger cup:
- Try increasing the coffee-to-water ratio bit by bit.
- Try grinding your beans a little finer than what you normally use – but not too fine that you might end up with a bitter brew.
- You can also experiment with using slightly warmer water. But be careful not to use boiling water for your coffee grounds or you might end up burning your coffee.
- Use a French Press to give you more control over the extraction time. (I don’t recommend going beyond 8 minutes, though, as you might end up with a coffee that’s too bitter to taste.)
My Notes on Death Wish Coffee
I was keen to sample Death Wish Coffee’s Dark Roast when I first heard of it. Using the recommended brewing ratio and grind size, I prepared my first batch of this coffee. I was filled with excitement and curiosity as my kitchen was filled with that familiar aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
At first sip, I found the taste slightly bitter, and definitely stronger than any coffee I’ve tried before. It has a hearty, full-bodied mouthfeel that is pleasant to taste. Although I prefer medium roast coffees, I enjoyed this bold and straightforward coffee. There are subtle notes of chocolate, which gives off that smoky, slightly burnt taste.
Overall, I liked it and I wouldn’t mind buying this coffee again. It does taste like a premium roast, and it delivered on that caffeine high it promised.