Death Wish Coffee Review

Death Wish Coffee Review

Affiliate Disclosure - Click to expand

Today I'll be looking at Death Wish Coffee, a dark roast coffee blend that is notorious for its extremely high caffeine content.

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

Well, that changes today.

Quick Summary

Pros

  • Consistent across brew methods
  • High caffeine content
  • Balanced, relatively smooth
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Fair Trade

Cons

  • No complexity
  • No sweetness
  • Not The World's Strongest Coffee
  • No listed roast date

What is Death Wish Coffee?

Death Wish Coffee is a blend of arabica and robusta beans, primarily grown and processed in Peru and India.

It is a very dark roast, with roughly 2.5 times the amount of caffeine of a "typical cup of coffee".

Death Wish Coffee claims to be the "World's Strongest Coffee", but as we'll see later in the review, this claim is merely a marketing tagline that is unsubstantiated.

Who Death Wish Coffee is For

To the undiscerning coffee drinker who has built up a strong tolerance to caffeine, Death Wish may be worth a try.

Who Death Wish Coffee is NOT For

If you value taste over caffeine, there are far better coffee options out there.

Death Wish also isn't the coffee with the highest caffeine content on the market, so if that's most important to you, you might want to look elsewhere.

Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee, 16 Ounce Bag
8,003 Reviews
Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee, 16 Ounce Bag
  • Stay awake with The World's Strongest Coffee. Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee has double the caffeine of your average coffee
  • Our premium beans are carefully selected and expertly roasted to ensure a bold, smooth brew that you will love
  • Take pride knowing that your coffee is Fair Trade, USDA Certified Organic and Kosher
  • This perfect dark roast will make you the hero of the house or office
  • If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund your order. No questions asked

Video Review

Super Bowl Ad

My first exposure to Death Wish Coffee was during Super Bowl 50, where they aired this ad after winning a competition that Intuit hosted:

General Notes & Observations

Roast: Dark
Producers: Unknown
Country of Origin: India and Peru
Region: Unknown
Variety: Unknown
Processing method: Unknown
Growing altitude: Unknown
Roaster tasting notes: Cherry, chocolate
Coffee Concierge tasting notes: None

The World's Strongest Coffee?

Death Wish Coffee Packaging

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 vs. Arabica

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 that make up the majority of what is sold and consumed. 

These two coffee species 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 coffee blend includes Robusta and Arabica beans. The extra caffeine is brought out by the Robusta beans. 

How Much Caffeine is in Death Wish Coffee?

Death Wish Coffee claims to be 2.5 times as strong as your "typical" cup of coffee.

I suppose what they mean by "typical" is a 100% arabica coffee.

If you're looking for the specifics, Death Wish has 728mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup of coffee, according to Caffeine Informer.

This comes out to roughly 60mg of caffeine per fluid ounce.

A typical cup of coffee is measured at 5-6 ounces, which means you are getting a whopping 300mg of caffeine per cup of coffee.

That's like drinking three 5-Hour Energy drinks.

But is Death Wish Really The World's Strongest Coffee?

The short answer is no.

Biohazard Coffee has an even higher caffeine content than Death Wish, coming in at an insane 928mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup of coffee, according to Caffeine Informer.

Black Insomnia goes even further, with 1105mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup of coffee.

And then there is Devil Mountain Coffee Company's Black Label, which has a ridiculous 1555mg of caffeine per 12 ounce cup of coffee.

One can only wonder what the tipping point is here...

Death Wish vs. The Competition

Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee, 16 Ounce Bag
Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company, USDA Certified Organic & Fair Trade (12-Ounce Bag)
Our Pick
Biohazard Whole Bean Coffee, The World's Strongest Coffee 928 mg Caffeine (16 oz)
Black Insomnia Bean Coffee - The World’s Strongest Coffee - High Caffeine, Smooth Roast, Delicious Flavor - 1lb Bag
Highest Caffeine Content
"Black Label" Dark Roast Ground Coffee, "World’s Strongest Coffee With Highest Caffeine, Lab Tested, USDA Certified Organic (16 oz.)
Brand
Death Wish Coffee
Death Wish Coffee
Biohazard Coffee
Black Insomnia
Devil Mountain Coffee Co.
Coffee Name
Original Blend
Valhalla Java
Biohazard Coffee
Black Insomnia
Black Label
Caffeine per Ounce
60mg
60mg
77mg
92mg
129mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
728mg
728mg
928mg
1105mg
1555mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
3.8
n/a
7.5
n/a
n/a
Amazon Rating
Price
$19.99
$15.99
$19.99
Price not available
$19.99
Death Wish Organic USDA Certified Whole Bean Coffee, 16 Ounce Bag
Brand
Death Wish Coffee
Coffee Name
Original Blend
Caffeine per Ounce
60mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
728mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
3.8
Amazon Rating
Price
$19.99
Valhalla Java Ground Coffee by Death Wish Coffee Company, USDA Certified Organic & Fair Trade (12-Ounce Bag)
Brand
Death Wish Coffee
Coffee Name
Valhalla Java
Caffeine per Ounce
60mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
728mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
n/a
Amazon Rating
Price
$15.99
Our Pick
Biohazard Whole Bean Coffee, The World's Strongest Coffee 928 mg Caffeine (16 oz)
Brand
Biohazard Coffee
Coffee Name
Biohazard Coffee
Caffeine per Ounce
77mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
928mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
7.5
Amazon Rating
Price
$19.99
Black Insomnia Bean Coffee - The World’s Strongest Coffee - High Caffeine, Smooth Roast, Delicious Flavor - 1lb Bag
Brand
Black Insomnia
Coffee Name
Black Insomnia
Caffeine per Ounce
92mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
1105mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
n/a
Amazon Rating
Price
Price not available
Highest Caffeine Content
"Black Label" Dark Roast Ground Coffee, "World’s Strongest Coffee With Highest Caffeine, Lab Tested, USDA Certified Organic (16 oz.)
Brand
Devil Mountain Coffee Co.
Coffee Name
Black Label
Caffeine per Ounce
129mg
Caffeine per 12oz Mug
1555mg
Coffee Concierge Rating
n/a
Amazon Rating
Price
$19.99

Equipment Used

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.

Of course, a simple automatic drip coffee maker will do just fine as well. Just make sure to grind a bit more on the coarse side.

Ratings

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.

Aftertaste

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

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.

Balance

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

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.

Complexity

You don't buy this coffee for its 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).

Flavor

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

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?

Sweetness

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

Versatility

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

Death Wish Coffee

The Verdict

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.

There's also coffee that is even stronger than Death Wish (in terms of caffeine) if you're crazy enough to try it. For that, my recommendation would be Biohazard Coffee.

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 This Coffee?

If you've tried this coffee, let us know what you thought by leaving a review in the comments section below.

If you have questions, I'm also happy to try and answer them. Leave those below!


Death Wish Coffee

$19.98
3.9

Acidity

2.0/10

Aftertaste

5.7/10

Aroma

2.7/10

Balance

5.7/10

Body

6.0/10

Complexity

2.2/10

Flavor

4.6/10

Forgiveness

6.0/10

Sweetness

2.4/10

Versatility

1.6/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • No complexity
  • No sweetness
  • No acidity
  • Unknown freshness
  • Not ideal for immersion brew methods like French Press
  • Not really the world's strongest coffee

Last update on 2019-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API