Death Wish is the go-to coffee at my Need Coffee local branch. We’re on their subscription plan. Coffee just shows up in the mailbox. It’s magic. And freshly brewed coffee is always the coffee of choice. Furthermore, freshly brewed coffee the way you like to brew coffee is always the coffee of your choice. But sometimes, that’s not easily accessible.
That’s when it’s time to turn to a prefab caffeine delivery system. Back when I used to drive around a lot more, I would lament how seldom you could find a canned or bottled coffee in your grocery or convenience store that was just that: coffee. Black coffee was not an option.
Now, though, we live in the future where there are prefab coffee options out the wazoo. And when you’ve gone external to the wazoo, that’s when I step in and want to try stuff. And the Death Wish Cold Brew has looked like a good option–but getting single cans of the stuff to try hasn’t been feasible. However. The good news is all three flavors turned up at my local Publix, which means they may be materializing near you (if they have not already done so).
The first one is…Unsweetened Black Coffee. Oh, I will never take a can of you for granted. It’s just Organic Cold Brewed Coffee, Organic Caffeine, Organic Natural Flavor. Done. And because that’s all it is, it’s just fifteen calories. This is basically your workhorse can. I need coffee. I need caffeine. I don’t need anything else. Boom. Now, it’s high quality coffee in a can, but it is still coffee in a can, with all its inherent limitations.
Next up I tried the Slightly Sweet variation. It’s the above plus five grams of sugar. Still just thirty-five calories. Now, this is not to my liking but that’s nothing to do with Death Wish. If you said you could only add one thing to coffee for the rest of your life, Widge, what do you choose? I’d say cream every time. So the sweetened black coffee just doesn’t do anything for me. Give it to me straight and black and ready to fight me, but don’t toss some sugar in there. But again…that’s just me. Your mileage may (and most assuredly will) vary.
It’s when we get to the Latte, though, that I think we find the crowning achievement. Because to a certain extent, black coffee is black coffee. And slightly sweetened coffee is black coffee that (IMO) wishes it hadn’t been slightly sweetened. But a latte…well, there’s a whole array of stuff that could happen with a latte. Milk changes everything, as our lactose intolerant ancestors could attest to. The first thing I noticed upon popping this can is that it actually smells good. Lattes…I mean…they smell like a latte. There’s nothing surprising about them. Nothing to write home about. This actually smelled good. Like “can I get this in a candle” good. A lot of coffee drinks when you pop them smell like some sort of chemical additive. None of that crap is happening here.
It tastes pretty amazing too. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of proper ratios when it comes to food and drink. It’s so easy to overpower the milk with the coffee and vice versa. But Death Wish has nailed it. The two completely compliment each other, and you never—like you can with say, Starbucks—get confused and think you’re slurping on some kind of dessert drink. Instead, the drink never forgets that it’s, at its heart, coffee.
I’ve also seen some lattes that sacrifice caffeine for taste. This is a delicate balance as well, since too much caffeine in anything and you taste…well, caffeine. Caffeine itself—not a great taste. But no, all three of these drinks have the same 300mg of caffeine in each. Now…know your limits, folks. If a small cup of coffee gets you set to run hurdles up a wall, you’re going to want to sip these…slowly. Your body takes, on average, about twenty minutes to metabolize caffeine…so sip a little, see how it goes, and then proceed. At this point in life, I have the same caffeine tolerance as that of the entire population of Vermont combined. But unlike me, normal, sane humans, use good judgement.
As I said, they’ll never take the place of you, at home, with your mad scientist setup, grinding and brewing coffee in the weird way that you love best. But if you need to grab and go, you need coffee that’s up to the task. And these three show up knowing the assignment and ready to do the job.
Want to find it in your neighborhood? Here’s their store locator. Happy hunting.