Like a .50 caliber round into the side of a fuel tank, Black Rifle Coffee is one of the most explosive products on the market. Black Rifle Coffee Company is known for its take-no-prisoners approach to roasting coffee. Their flavors are as bold as their politics, and their passion for coffee is only matched by their patriotism and passion for helping veterans.
Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the coffee, the culture, and everything else that makes Black Rifle one of the most exciting and polarizing brands ever to roast a coffee bean.
I’m also going to actually review a bag of coffee from Black Rifle Coffee Company so that you can gain a bit more understanding of what they serve and decide if it’s something you want to try for yourself!
About Black Rifle Coffee Company
Black Rifle is a veteran-owned coffee company that was founded by Evan Hafer, a member of the United States Armed Forces, whose passion for his country is matched only by his love for delicious coffee.
Hafer spent twenty years as an infantryman and later a Special Forces soldier before becoming a CIA contractor. Hafer was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and while serving, Hafer was also refining an innovative approach to coffee roasting.
Hafer enlisted fellow service member Tom Davin, a fellow infantryman who served in the Marine Corps, to serve as co-CEO, and Matt Best, a former CIA contractor who now serves as the executive VP of Black Rifle Coffee Company. Together these three are the brain trust of Black Rifle, and their passion for great coffee is matched only by their love for America and our Armed Forces.
Evan and his team will be the first to tell you that Black Rifle Coffee Company is as much about country and community as it is about coffee. Don’t get us wrong; the coffee is fantastic. Beyond the coffee, this is a company with convictions that’s unafraid to tread into controversial waters. Their approach may ruffle a few feathers, but their legion of devotees is a testament that they’re on to something.
Evan Hafer distills their mission quite succinctly:
“Black Rifle Coffee Company is quite literally the combination of my two favorite passions. I take pride in the coffee we roast, the veterans we employ, and the causes we support.”
Black Rifle Coffee Company is proud to support the armed forces and first responders, and they do so through initiatives like their “buy a bag, give a bag” campaign, which provides a bag of Black Rifle to a service member or first responder for each bag you buy. Their boldest initiative is a plan to hire 10,000 veterans as the company continues to grow.
While Black Rifle Coffee Company goes to great lengths to give back to the military and first responder community, they also put their money where their mouth is at home. The Black Rifle Coffee team is now well over 1,000, and over half the staff has a military background.
Military veterans often return from service to an uncertain future, and companies like Black Rifle Coffee Company pay it forward and provide these returning heroes with gainful employment and a bright future.
Over the long term, the company plans to open coffee shops throughout the country, with each franchise operated by a veteran. Hafer and his team are in regular talks with venture capitalists to drum up the seed funding necessary to make these bold dreams a reality.
More Than Just Coffee
One thing that separates Black Rifle Coffee Company from other coffee brands is the emphasis they place on the lifestyle they’re so closely associated with. Black Rifle isn’t just a coffee purveyor, it’s a lifestyle brand and content provider, and none of its competitors go to the lengths they do to produce compelling content for their devoted army of Black Rifle Coffee fans.
Black Rifle Coffee Company produces an online magazine, Coffee or Die, that covers everything from coffee to military and intelligence news, special interest stories, and much more. The magazine employs a team of talented writers and journalists, and the content they provide goes far deeper than a simple blog. There’s also a podcast covering coffee and issues important to their community.
The Black Rifle Coffee app for Android and iOS makes it incredibly easy for fans of the brand to find everything they need in one place. You can read the magazine, listen to the podcast, and order coffee and merchandise directly from the app.
Reviewing the Coffee
While the culture surrounding Black Rifle Coffee Company is one of the reasons for its meteoric rise, coffee is at the heart of everything they do. From humble beginnings with a single roast to a product line of more than 25 different coffees, Black Rifle Coffee has something for everyone’s tastes. They say the proof is in the pudding, so let’s take a closer look at the coffee they offer to see if it’s worthy of the hype.
Black Rifle Beyond Black
The bag of beans that I purchased from the Black Rifle cafe that’s luckily right down the street is labeled as their second-darkest roast. The Beyond Black coffee is ideal for those who can never seem to find a dark enough roast. It’s not the darkest roast they have, but it’s definitely much darker than some others.
This bold brew is incredibly complex, with notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and nut, and a spicy and smoky aroma. I decided to go with this one out of their many different choices because I’d recently been trying out different dark roasts. I also planned on using this in my French press, which I prefer a darker bean for anyway.
To start, the design of this bag is very relevant to Black Rifle’s branding. The black bag and glowing green details make for a cool color scheme and the suited-up soldier on the front is sporting night-vision goggles.
If this doesn’t tell you they’re serious about how dark this roast is, then I guess you’ll just have to get to the actual taste testing to find out!
It’s also important to mention that the back of the resealable bag has a description of the roast and a label of the roasting level, and the side of the bag informs you that it’s a whole bean and roasted in the USA.
Upon opening the Beyond Black bag of beans, I was hit with the very strong and spicy aroma that Black Rifle promises of this coffee. The hint of chocolate was there, but in the aroma alone, the spice was strong.
This nose-tingling smell carried through the brewing process and had the same effect even in the tasting process.
As I mentioned before, I used my French press to brew up this bag of beans, and I’m very happy I did. The chocolate and spicy bold flavor really carried through this very strong coffee.
Not only that, but I could immediately taste these notes on my first sip. If I wasn’t already awake, this cup of joe sure did the job!
What We Like About It
What’s there not to like? The design of the resealable bag, the spicy aroma that gets your nose tingling, the immediate taste of all the notes, and the company itself.
Everything about the Beyond Black roast from Black Rifle is an experience. This really was one of the darkest roasts I’ve had, and the spice was definitely prominent.
Well, there are a couple of things that might not be the best for everyone. I loved the fact that the spice was evident from smell to taste, but I would have also loved for a more perfect balance of the chocolate. It was there, but I would have to say the spice really does take over.
While it can be a great thing how dark this roast is, it also might be too dark for some. Luckily, though, Black Rifle has a ton of other options to choose from when it comes to their coffee.
Other Black Rifle Coffees
Here is a list of some of the other coffee beans that Black Rifle carries. They have so many, there’s sure to be one for everybody!
In addition to its main product line, Black Rifle Coffee also offers special edition blends with regularity. You’ll find a few medium roast flavored coffees like hazelnut and vanilla, as well as limited edition products usually tied to charitable endeavors, like their Thin Blue Line and Coffee Saves roasts.
Silencer Smooth is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s flagship light roast, and it’s an exceptionally drinkable Arabica from Colombia. This roast still packs a punch, contrasting nicely with its smooth and crisp finish. The aroma is sweet, and the coffee tastes of citrus with a hint of vanilla.
Another light roast, the Gunship roast is a bit heavier than Silencer Smooth, and it offers a pleasing floral aroma with notes of caramel. The finish is still smooth, but this roast certainly has a darker edge than Silencer Smooth.
Power Llama is made from Peru Arabica beans that have undergone a washed process; this light-bodied roast features a nutty aroma and tasting notes of almond, citrus, and chocolate.
Sourced from Peruvian Arabica, the Power Llama blend is ultra-light with a pleasing nutty aroma and citrus, chocolate, and almond notes. Power Llama is one of the more interesting roasts in the Black Rifle coffee line, and it’s ideal for coffee drinkers that like to stray off the beaten path.
This lighter roast comes with a nutty aroma and tasting notes of chocolate, almond, brown sugar, and a hint of nostalgia for those who were able to score a bag of the original Flying Elk.
Similar to Power Llama, this washed Arabica is grown in the famed Tarrazu Canton of Costa Rica. This roast offers a nutty aroma and notes of almond and chocolate with a hint of brown sugar sweetness.
The one that started it all, Just Black, is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s flagship roast. This roast is made to be the best drip coffee you’ll ever taste, and it packs a punch while providing a smooth finish and notes of cocoa and vanilla.
A classic medium roast coffee that’s reminiscent of the original Just Black roast, CAF is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s high-octane answer to the calls from their community for a more highly caffeinated roast.
Coffee, or Die
The Coffee, or Die roast is a medium-bodied blend inspired by Ben Franklin’s iconic “Unite or Die” drawing. Compared to the other medium roasts they offer, this one falls a bit flat and doesn’t have the same subtlety or aroma as other blends we sampled.
Made from organic Mexican Mocabe coffee from the Chiapas region of Mexico, the Organic medium roast is USDA organic certified.
Black Rifle Coffee Company’s USDA-certified organic roast of Mexican Mocabe beans from the Chiapas region is a spot-on medium blend that’s ideal for your daily cup. Fans of chocolate and orange should enjoy this vibrant and bright roast.
This pleasing medium-body roast is a godsend for coffee lovers who have issues with acidity. The Liberty blend is smooth with notes of brown sugar and citrus. This 100% Arabica coffee is grown in Guatemala, and every bag you buy provides a bag for the troops and first responders.
While it’s not the same micro lot released in 2019, the new Escape Goat is a high-quality, medium roast Arabica with delicious notes of berry, chocolate, and orange, giving it a distinct place in the BRCC lineup.
While it’s not the same micro lot released in 2019, the new Escape Goat is a high-quality, medium roast Arabica with delicious notes of berry, chocolate, and orange, giving it a distinct place in the Black Rifle Coffee Company lineup.
This Arabica blend is sourced from Ethiopia, and it offers a pleasing flavor with notes of red berries and chocolate. Ideal for after dinner or with dessert, the Escape Goat blend is one of our favorite medium roasts in the line.
Similar to Escape Goat, this Ethiopian Arabica offers a fruity and sweet aroma with heavy acidity and flavors of berries, citrus, and cane sugar. This roast is undoubtedly delicious, but the heavy acidity may rub some coffee drinkers the wrong way.
One of the better cups of coffee in the line, this incredibly complex blend is a honey-processed Catimor coffee from Zambia, Africa. This coffee is complex and balanced, with ripe melon, citrus, and caramel flavors.
AK-47 is BRCC’s only espresso roast, offering a rich and smooth taste and tons of complexity. AK-47 is one of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s few blends featuring a mix of light roast from Colombia and dark roast from Brazil. The synergy between the two flavors is impressive, and AK-47 is ideal for brewing by the pot or in the espresso machine.
The new Tactisquatch is a Honduras Arabica offering tasting notes of black currant, molasses, and orange –– with pleasant aromas as powerful as a near Tactisquatch sighting in the woods.
This hilariously named roast is on the darker side, and it features a complex flavor profile with notes of currant, orange, plum, and molasses. Made from 100% Arabica beans from Honduras, this is one of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s tastiest dark roasts.
This roast is exceptionally dark and not for the faint of heart. The Blackbear’s Delight consists of Brazilian Arabica beans roasted to the brink of destruction. This brew has deep chocolate notes and a nutty aroma that offers a surprisingly smooth finish.
Freedom Fuel is a 100% Colombian roast made from Excelso beans and is one of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s most popular roasts. Excelso coffee is prized for its rich flavor profile, high acidity, and sweet and smooth finish. Black Rifle rates it an 8/10 on their roasting scale.
If you can’t manage to get enough flavor from other beans, the Murdered Out roast should be perfect for you. These Colombian beans offer an extra-dark roast coffee that provides a vibrant flavor with an aroma that’s so heavy it threatens to overload the senses.
How They’re Sold
BRCC offers ground coffee and whole bean varieties in 12-ounce bags. The entire coffee line is available in bags, and many roasts are also available in “rounds” designed for Keurig brewing systems.
You can purchase beans a la carte or as part of their Coffee Club subscription. With the Coffee Club, you can set delivery as often as you like. In exchange for your loyalty, Black Rifle waives shipping fees and provides a discount on your price per bag.
Beyond the Beans
If nothing else, Black Rifle Coffee Company has created a devoted fanbase that buys their beans for the lifestyle they represent as much as the coffee itself. The Black Rifle brand includes various lifestyle products that make it even easier to enjoy their coffee.
You’ll find the usual swag, like t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and the like. Black Rifle also has a full line of coffee brewing equipment and accessories, such as Chemex-style brewers, pour-over brewers, and much more. The brewing equipment, in particular, is all of exceptional quality, and much of it is made by industry leaders with centuries of experience.
Black Rifle Coffee Company is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing brands in the industry. Their pro-America, anti-PC messaging may rub some people the wrong way. Still, the proof is in the pudding with their coffee, and it’s tough to argue its deliciousness.
After reviewing the Beyond Black roast they carry, I can safely say that Black Rifle produces good, strong, and flavourful coffee. Having tried it, I’m now curious to taste some of the many other different options they have.
With a rotation of over 20 different roasts, Black Rifle offers something for virtually everyone. Their flagship Just Black roast is a standout, while the Murdered Out roast is perfect for fans of the darkest and most full-bodied coffee possible. Whether you align yourself with their politics or not, these guys roast a damn good cup of coffee.
Black Rifle Coffee Review: Bold And Patriotic
A Black Rifle Coffee review that focuses on the Beyond Black roast and lists many other options that Black Rifle Coffee Company offers.
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