How We Created the World’s Strongest Medium Roast Coffee

By DeathWishCoffee — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

A lighter shade of bold

Death Wish Coffee has been to both the Super Bowl and the moon (literally), but when our founder and CEO, Mike Brown, finally perfected the original blend for Death Wish Coffee, life wasn't so astronomical.

“I had lost everything, had debt in the tens of thousands, my car was just repo-ed, and I was living in a small garage apartment rent-free thanks to the love of my mom. Yet that day back in 2011, I was somehow given a gift of inspiration and luck that allowed the perfect coffee to come together right in front of me, the original Death Wish Coffee. The feeling I felt that day was something I had never felt before. It was life-changing, and I never thought I would have that feeling again,” he says.

Plus, our Dark Roast coffee isn't just good coffee, it's the World’s Strongest Coffee. The perfect blend of beans, combined with a proprietary roasting technique, allows us to deliver more caffeine than any other coffee brand, with zero bitter aftertastes. The intensely bold, rich coffee is a cult favorite with coffee lovers around the world. And you don't mess with the best coffee.

Or do you?

Is it possible to make a lighter medium roast coffee that's still as strong and delicious as the dark roast that's so well-known and loved?

What’s the Strongest Coffee Roast?

Making coffee that's strong in every aspect—bold in flavor and loaded with caffeine—is no easy feat. Yet Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast delivers on all accounts. It's smooth, full-bodied and gives you a high-octane kick to wake from a zombie-like slumber or an afternoon slump so you can tackle whatever your day has in store. Plus, it boasts new flavor notes we didn't even know were possible in a coffee.

We already knew how to perfectly roast coffee beans so they naturally contain extra caffeine—without the bitterness that typically accompanies it. To make our dark roast, the OG Death Wish Coffee, the world's strongest—we found a way to tweak the time and temperature during roasting to amp up the caffeine and keep the flavor rich and enticing. This craft of creating a deliciously strong dark roast gave us a place to start with the new medium roast.

But roast alone wasn't enough to make the perfect cup of Medium Roast coffee.

So, we turned to the source: the beans.

Robusta coffee beans blow away the competition in any caffeine contest. That's why we use them in our dark roast. But you'd never want to drink straight Robusta coffee. It's eating-your-enamel harsh. To avoid that effect, for our dark roast, we not only use our special roasting technique, we also add Arabica coffee beans. Although Arabica beans have about half the caffeine of Robusta beans, you still get an energy boost, plus the taste is smooth and never bitter. The result was so good for the dark roast, some of our favorite customers have been known to drink pots of it each day.

(And an added benefit: Robusta beans and Arabica beans are also often used in espresso. Because of that, you can make espresso with any ground Death Wish Coffee.)

For Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast, we wanted to remain true to the full body that is perfectly represented in our Dark Roast. But we also wanted to highlight some more of the brighter notes you typically find in third-wave coffees, like stone fruits and caramel. So we went back to the beans, playing around with different ratios of the best coffee beans from numerous origins.

For the Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast, we source only high-quality coffee beans from nutrient-rich soil in India and Peru. And in every roast, the beans we use are Certified Organic and Fair Trade, which has benefits for the environment, the farmers and your health.

This time, we discovered that adding some Yirgacheffe beans from Ethiopia lent sweet, fruity notes. We added those to Robusta and Arabica coffee beans and toyed with the roasting profile of everything to accent the flavors we wanted.

“It probably took about a dozen or so roasts at least before we nailed the final formula,” says Master Roaster Dave. “It took minor ratio adjustments, increasing caffeine without affecting flavor and tweaking the roast profile ever so slightly to maximize what we pulled out of this blend.” (We were basically playing scientist, but not “mad” scientist. More like geeky foodie scientist.)

After a bunch of experimentation, we found the perfect combination of beans and level of roasting to give the coffee some nuance that makes you keep coming back for more—while keeping the caffeine just as high as our dark roast.

Medium Roast vs. Dark Roast

Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast is a new experience compared to the Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast. It's a lighter shade of bold. Just like our Dark Roast, every bag of Medium Roast contains only:

1. Fair Trade Certified™ coffee beans.

You can be assured that the farmers and farm workers who grew and harvested your coffee receive fair, livable wages, work reasonable hours in fair working conditions and use sustainable production methods. In turn, this helps support their local communities and economies.

2. 100% USDA Certified Organic Coffee.
Our farmers never use any chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. All of these wreak havoc on the environment. They destroy the groundwater in already impoverished countries, deplete vital nutrients in the soil and add toxic waste to the soil. Similarly, our roasters don't use any chemical products to clean equipment or control pests in and around the production facility.

3. Coffee beans.
We don't ever sneak any additives or “extra” caffeine into our blends.

However, the two are clearly different. Here's a quick breakdown:

Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast

The beans: Robusta, Arabica and Yirgacheffe beans grown at a higher altitude in Ethiopia, India and Peru. That elevation lends a complex yet balanced flavor profile to the cup.

The color: A shade or two lighter than our original blend.

The caffeine content: The World's Strongest Medium Roast. Double the strength of an average cup of joe.

The acidity: Low-acid. Low bitterness.

The profile: Still bold but more mellow notes and super smooth.

How the coffee tastes: Nuanced with notes of stone fruit, hints of caramel and roasted peanuts and a finish of smooth dark chocolate.

Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast

The beans: Robusta and Arabica beans sourced from nutrient-rich soil in India and Peru.

The color: Super dark brown, almost black.

The caffeine content: The same amount of caffeine as our medium roast: The dark roast is double the strength of the average cup of coffee.

The acidity: Equally as low as our medium roast.

The profile: Strong coffee flavor. No bitterness. But, slap-in-the-face intense.

How the coffee tastes: More standardized with a richer flavor of cherry and dark chocolate throughout.

A Lighter Shade of Bold

Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast is an addition we're incredibly proud of. It's the World's Strongest Coffee, with a slightly lighter taste.

It's also an excellent way to introduce Death Wish Coffee to friends or family who are coffee drinkers but don't like a dark roast. (Warning: They may become Death Wish Coffee lovers and steal your ground coffee. We call these people "Bold Diggers.")

“I know our fans are going to love what we created and enjoy the new flavors they will discover without sacrificing the lasting energy our community expects,” Master Roaster Dave says.

As with all Death Wish Coffee, you can make a cup of coffee with our Medium Roast whole bean coffee, ground coffee or Death Cups, using any of the standard brewing methods. We like French press, pour-over, Aeropress, drip coffee maker, or you could even make cold brew or use an espresso machine.

Who knows? Maybe one day we'll try to create more roasts with the same amount of caffeine and strength as our dark and medium roasts. For now, we want coffee lovers to enjoy the strength they've come to love, in a lighter medium roast taste that can't be beaten.

Be one of the first to get your hands and mug on some Death Wish Coffee Medium Roast.

It's the best damn medium roast out there for coffee lovers who want a strong cuppa.

Shop Medium Roast.

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