The veteran-owned and operated coffee company Black Rifle, which has been in existence since 2014, is one of America’s most headline-grabbing providers of a cup of Joe.
You’ve probably heard of them, perhaps for their plan to hire 10,000 veterans within six years or their incentive to send one bag of coffee to an American serviceman on deployment for every one bought by a customer. Black Rifle is by its own definition the anti-PC, pro-forces coffee company that is looking to provide a brighter future for America’s veterans.
Much of the focus on Black Rifle Coffee Company falls on Evan Hafer, the founder of the business. A former Green Beret and military contractor, Hafer served abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan and it was while he was overseas that he developed a fondness for roasting his own beans and producing his own blends of coffee.
When he returned to the USA, Hafer started Black Rifle as a way to provide roast-to-order coffee to pro-Second Amendment and veteran groups.
That’s enough background for now, what about the coffee?
The Black Rifle Coffee Collection
A quick look at the Black Rifle website will put you in no doubt that this is a company that takes coffee seriously. While the branding is undoubtedly macho and clearly patriotic, the selection of beans, and choice of how to roast them, shows a certain level of knowingness.
The tasting notes provided on both the bags and the website blurbs would not be out of place on the menu of an upscale cafe. That’s certainly not a criticism of the brand or its integrity – to make good coffee, you have to know and care about coffee, which Hafer and co. clearly do.
The names of different roasts have a pretty clear theme to them, just as the company branding does. The darker brews have names such as “Murdered Out” and “Freedom Fuel”, and if you think a lighter roast will bring a gentler name, then perhaps you’d like to give AK-47 a try?
Silencer Smooth: Described on the BRCC website as the “quiet professional”, Silencer Smooth is a popular option with a sweet scent and notes of citrus on the tongue. A highly worthwhile mid-afternoon brew.
Gunship: If you fancy something a little sweeter, then the floral aroma and caramel tastes of Gunship will meet with your approval. Named for the military helicopter, this is a coffee that will offer you an uplift when you need it most.
AK-47: Blending the best of light Colombian coffees with darker, more heady ones from Brazil, the joy of AK-47 is that it offers different notes with every sip. Dark chocolate, citrus, and nutty tastes roll over your tongue in this tasty brew.
Coffee or Die: With a name that commemorates those who died for America’s freedom back when it all began, this all-rounder brew comes with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, who praised coffee for its ability to raise the spirits.
Just Black: Those who prefer drip coffee will get a kick out of Just Black, whose delicious rounded flavor features touches of cocoa and vanilla along with a buttery endnote. This was the first brew released by Black Rifle.
Thin Blue Line: With a taste that offers much the same experience as Just Black, and is equally good in a drip formulation, this coffee offers the added advantage that a portion of the price of each bag will fund life-saving equipment and other funding to law enforcement officers.
Coffee Saves: Themed around first-aid, this clean-tasting coffee does the job it needs to do just like the first responders who inspired it. Offering a sweet aroma with tinges of zest in the mouth, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
CAF: The C stands for “caffeinated” and we’ll leave it to the imagination to figure out the “AF”. Let us just note that a cup of this medium roast contains twice as much caffeine as the average cup of coffee.
There’s quite a gentle taste, considering, but it has the desired effect.
Fit Fuel: As well as offering a unique blend of flavors that run the gamut from bold to smooth, this blend offers a real caffeinated kick right when you need it most – such as before you hit the gym.
Freedom Fuel: The perfect coffee for a sustained burst of energy, this bold coffee is made from Colombian Excelso beans. Offering a dark, rounded flavor, it’s precisely the kind of strong brew that makes you feel like you can do anything.
Beyond Black: As we all know, the color black represents fear, the unknown and a sense of finality. In developing this smoky, spicy blend with dark chocolate tasting notes, BRCC feels that they have gone beyond black – staring fear down and coming out the other side.
Who wouldn’t want a cup of that?
Blackbeard’s Delight: A brew designed to do justice to the name of the legendary pirate Edward Teach, this one is made from 100% Brazilian beans, offering a darkly aromatic taste on the palate. May induce a “devil-may-care” attitude.
Murdered Out: The very darkest blend in the Black Rifle stable, this blend is heartily recommended for anyone who likes their coffee hard. With beans sourced from Colombia, the brew offers a smoky, earthy taste that goes down smoothly with every cup.
The charitable story behind Black Rifle Coffee
While there is a sense of adrenalized aggression behind the names and some of the descriptions of Black Rifle’s stable of coffees, there is a lot more thought going into not just the selection of beans and the roasts that they use, but behind the whole BRCC endeavor. With every purchase that you make from this company, you are helping to put money towards an oft-ignored veteran community in the USA.
As Hafer has pointed out, people who have served their country abroad often return to an uncertain future. Black Rifle Coffee has employed a substantial workforce of veterans and saved brave service professionals from the fate that all too often befits those who have served: underemployment, homelessness and trouble later in life.
Part of Hafer’s long term plan is to open up coffee shops across America, each of which will be franchised to, and run by, a former serviceman. The company is also collaborating with financial experts to help provide the seed capital that will fund these startups.
Not only that, but purchases from BRCC directly go towards both the military and the people keeping America safe from the streets, with profits funding donations that go to the police, fire services, first responders and of course the serving military. When customers buy from Black Rifle they aren’t just getting great coffee for themselves – they’re ensuring that more of that coffee will go abroad to serving military personnel, who could surely do with it.
What else does Black Rifle Coffee Company offer?
As well as the range of different roasts, Black Rifle Coffee also have a few options for flavored coffee, with their hazelnut brew offering a rich and tasty flavor that goes well with an autumn evening, or a vanilla option that tastes a little bit sweeter than the rest, and is perfect with a cookie or two. There are also decaf versions of a few of their roasts, including Just Black (restyled as Just Decaf for the packaging).
Along with their exceptional range of brewable coffees, Black Rifle has gone to great lengths to make a more accessible product. Frustrated by the world in which it’s possible to be charged $18 for a single cup of coffee, they make their top-quality blends available for a much more reasonable price and make it simpler to enjoy.
Cafetieres and drip coffee percolators will allow you to get the most from their bagged coffee, while their single-serve coffee rounds are perfect for when you want just one cup; all you need is a Keurig machine.
They also offer more than just coffee – the recently-launched CC17 Combat Cocoa is presented in a cool canister that puts one in mind of the M18 Smoke Grenade on which it is modeled.
Once again, great lengths have been gone to ensure that the best ingredients are sourced, with Organic cane sugar and Arriba Nacional cocoa powder sourced from the wilds of Ecuador. Mixed with warm milk, this makes for one of the finest late-night luxuries you could wish for.
If you just need a coffee that you can make in the cup and then go, there is also the option of Black Rifle’s Instant Coffee Sticks. With a medium-dark Colombian coffee in the sachet, you can have the quality of a filter coffee with the convenience of an instant.
That’s ideal when you don’t have time in the morning before your commute to fire up a press or a Keurig machine.
Finally, there is a small but intriguing collection of additives that can make your coffee that little bit more enjoyable. There is a blend of Ghee and MCT which can be added to coffee in lieu of milk to give it a rounded, buttery taste and fits into a Ketogenic or Paleo eating plan.
The Morning Glory Creamer Protein goes superbly with the Fit Fuel coffee, saving you the need to eat protein bars before or after a workout and helping you to build muscle faster. Additionally, the Mocha MCT non-dairy creamer gives your coffee a sweeter taste, and is metabolized far more efficiently than a standard sugar or milk-based additive.
The Final Analysis: Does Black Rifle Coffee Make The Grade?
Black Rifle has nailed its non-PC, conservative colors to the mast – and there will be some who might turn down the option to partake in a cup or two because of this. There isn’t a hidden agenda with this brand, they put the politics right out in front.
That may be a selling point for you, or it may put you off, but it also might not matter that much to you. This is, after all, a coffee brand and we’re here to review the coffee they make; any mark we give will be all about the taste and value of that coffee.
The good news is that it’s excellent – these coffees are evident labor of love on the part of Evan Hafer and co., and they’ve evidently achieved what they set out to achieve. They’re also clearly not afraid to diversify, with more flavors and more products hitting the store all the time.
We’re interested to see what’s next from Black Rifle Coffee, but for now, it’s a full five stars out of five.