I have not made it to Death Wish's shop, but I hope to one day. They seem to have a very loyal following and should be a great down-to-earth kind of shop.
My partner and I were discussing caffeine in coffee and I pointed out that Death Wish claims to have an “irresponsible” amount of caffeine in their coffee. We had no idea how they could claim that so we started looking into it. There is not a lot of information on their website regarding the coffee (http://deathwishcoffee.com). So we emailed them.
This is where Death Wish sets itself apart. I have emailed a lot of coffee companies and they don’t reply. As a blogger that is very frustrating. Death Wish responded fairly quickly and was willing to send me a sample right away.
I got the sample, which they sent by 2 day delivery (impressive). I opened the box to find a 4oz pouch of ground coffee and a sticker (thank you for the sticker! It is already on the back of my laptop).
We looked over the grounds and they looked very even. Right away we could tell it was roasted dark. It wasn’t burnt, like French roast, but still very dark.
We brewed it in a Melitta style pour over with 2tbls per 6oz water. This is slightly less than they recommend, but is consistent with how we taste our other coffees. The aroma was surprisingly absent. My partner said that it was a slightly harsh aroma. I could only smell the roast.
We both tasted and it was all roast with an after taste of caffeine. There were no subtle flavors or nuance. It was straight black coffee. You can tell there is more caffeine because you can taste it. I conveniently had a bagel with me when we were sampling, which helped clean the pallet of the caffeine. Otherwise, the bitter flavor hung around for a while.
I do wish I had more info before tasting (like a flavor profile). That would have helped us I think. We made some assumptions that I believe colored our tasting. We came to the conclusion that they were roasting Robusta beans to get the higher caffeine content. Robusta is known for having a terrible flavor, which we deduced was why they roast so dark. The website and the email response was surprisingly silent regarding the type of bean they use.
It was a decent cup. I don't think I would put it in the level with super fine coffees though. They have a target market and I think it is the right coffee for that market. I will say I love their branding. I wish more coffee companies worked their brand as hard as this.
Update 7/24 - Death wish responded via Twitter that they use a blend of Peru and Indain AB with a screen size of 17. All their coffee is USDA certified Organic and Fair Trade. Thank you for the clarification!