Fire Department Coffee is delicious, ethical, and it supports a great cause. If you want to drink a cup of joe that makes your taste buds and your heart happy, this is the one!
- Each of the coffees I tasted was delicious without any sugar or creamer
- Coffee is roasted to order then shipped, so it is always fresh
- 10% of net proceeds support a great cause supporting firefighters and first responders
- 15% discounts for active military, veterans, first responders, and emergency dispatchers
- I’m now a fan of spirit-infused coffees, thanks to Fire Department Coffee!
What do you get when you combine freshly roasted coffee beans grown worldwide on environmentally and socially responsible farms with a veteran-owned coffee company run by a dedicated team of firefighters, first responders, and coffee connoisseurs? You get Fire Department Coffee, a company that donates 10% of Its net proceeds to support ill and injured first responders; that’s what we’ll be taking a look at today.
Fire Department Coffee was founded in 2016 by Luke Schneider, a full-time firefighter/paramedic and U.S. Navy veteran, who took inspiration from the “vital role that coffee plays in helping firefighters stay alert and energized through long shifts.” From the beginning, Fire Department Coffee has employed active and retired firefighters in various roles at every company level.
After going through strict testing and evaluation processes that ensure the beans Fire Department Coffee uses have been ethically sourced, each type of coffee bean they sell is roasted separately and differently in small batches at their facility in Rockford, Illinois. Doing it this way gives you a more complex, deep, and noticeably different flavor than other coffees you might have tried.
The coffee that you get from Fire Department Coffee is roasted to order, and it’s shipped within a few days — often on the same day — for maximum freshness. Fire Dept. Coffee even offers a 15% discount for active military, veterans, first responders, and emergency dispatchers. As I mentioned above, 10% of the company’s net proceeds go to the Fire Department Coffee Charitable Foundation. This 501 3c charity supports groups helping “firefighters and first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges.”
Fire Department Coffee sells whole bean and ground coffee in 12-ounce bags and a few flavors in Keurig-compatible single-use pods. As you might expect, they sell everything from light, medium, and dark roasts to espresso roasts, but they don’t stop there. Fire Dept. Coffee also offers an extensive line of “Donut Shop flavored” and spirit-infused coffees as well as decaffeinated and low-acid coffees, so you are sure to find something you’ll like.
Fire Department Coffee has at least 32 different blends and flavors on its site right now, and it sounds like they regularly add and remove limited-edition flavors. They sent me two bags to try, including their Original Medium Roast and the limited-edition Salted Caramel Bourbon Spirit-Infused Coffee.
I should preface the upcoming taste tests by saying that although it took me years to get to this point, I don’t like using cream or sugar; therefore, I’m picky about the stand-alone flavor of whatever coffee I drink. After trying plenty of different brands and roasts over the years, I’ve found that I’m not too fond of coffees that are harsh, sour, or that taste burnt; I’m more of a smooth, medium roast person.
Fire Department Coffee Original Medium Roast
Fire Department Coffee Original Medium Roast was the first blend made by the company, using Central and South American coffee beans. Opening the bag, I encountered a rich aroma that smelled delicious to my admittedly uneducated nose. If I had to describe it, I’d say that it smelled like a blend of roasted nuts, a little bit of pipe tobacco, maybe a little bit of dark chocolate, and something earthy; in other words, it smells like good coffee.
The bag says to add two tablespoons of ground coffee to six ounces of water, so for my taste test, I did just that. If you like an even more robust cup of coffee, you can add more grinds to the mix.
The Fire Department Coffee Original Medium Roast coffee grinds are a rich, dark chocolate brown. After adding the hot water (I heat mine in an electric kettle to 95ºC/203ºF) to the French Press, I gave the mixture a little stir then let it stew for four minutes.
The resulting cup has a rich chocolate color; the taste is a little chocolatey, a little smoky, kind of mellow with a hint of something fruity, but most importantly, it’s smooth — which is perfect for someone (like me) who prefers drinking their coffee black. This is one of those coffee blends that I would be happy to drink for breakfast or throughout the day when I need a little pick-me-up; it’s delicious without any cream or sugar, so that’s a win.
If you like an even darker and more potent cup of coffee, you can add more grinds to the mix.
Fire Department Coffee Salted Caramel Bourbon
I hadn’t tried a spirit-infused coffee before this review, so Salted Caramel Bourbon sounded like a tasty place to start for a newbie like me. There’s nothing on the bag or the site about the origin of the beans for this batch, but to be honest, I’m not a big enough coffee-snob that I even have a favorite country of origin. Once again, I stuck my nose in the bag and sniffed a flavorful combination of dark chocolate, caramel, and oaky bourbon. It would be fair to say that it piqued my interest.
The Salted Caramel Bourbon coffee grinds are very similar in color to the Original Medium Roast, making sense considering this is also a medium roast. I put the coffee grinds into my French Press, added the hot water, stirred it, and allowed the coffee to stew for four minutes.
While the Salted Caramel Bourbon coffee’s color was similar to the Original Medium Roast, the aroma was entirely different; you can definitely smell the bourbon!
The result was this bourbon-flavored cup of goodness. I could taste hints of caramel and salt, but the most potent flavor was similar to what would happen if I had infused my coffee with a shot of bourbon. The Salted Caramel Bourbon coffee tastes delicious on its own (assuming you like the taste of bourbon, of course), but this is actually a flavor that I’d consider adding a splash of half-and-half to because it would only add to the richness.
Fire Department Coffee Salted Caramel Bourbon would be so good with something sweet after dinner; I’m thinking a slice of pecan pie. Yummmmm.
Wondering how spirit-infused coffee is manufactured, I was interested to learn that Fire Department Coffee takes green unroasted coffee beans and infuses them with the particular spirit used for that batch. After the green coffee beans are infused with their specific spirit, they are roasted.
During the roasting, the alcohol cooks off, leaving behind its distinct flavor and aroma. By enjoying spirit-infused coffee versus a shot of bourbon in the coffee, the drinker gets to enjoy the rich bourbon taste without having to worry about failing a breathalyzer — because they aren’t actually imbibing.
I enjoyed my taste test, and I’ve enjoyed the cups of each I have had since then. The used French Press coffee grounds go straight into our compost bin, so there’s no waste.
Since Fire Department Coffee uses only natural flavors and doesn’t add any sugars or artificial sweeteners to their coffees, their coffees are keto-friendly. Their coffees don’t contain allergens like dairy, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, so if those are things you have to watch for, this coffee is safe. While the coffee isn’t Vegan-certified, it does not include any milk, egg, or dairy products.
Fire Department Coffee recommends that for the freshest cup of coffee each time, you store your coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They also recommend that you drink their coffee within a month of receiving it for the best taste. There’s even a Coffee of the Month Club if you want to try something new each time, as well as a Spirit-Infused Coffee of the Month Club.
I am one of those people who likes to drink coffee throughout the day; in fact, it’s not unusual to find me with a cup of coffee in hand late in the afternoon or early evening. I like the little pick-me-up that it provides, and thankfully, it doesn’t keep me up all night. Fire Department Coffee is delicious, ethical, and it supports a great cause. If you want to drink a cup of joe that makes your taste buds and your heart happy, this is the one!
Fire Department Coffee prices range from $12.99 to $19.99 (depending on the flavor you choose) for a bag of ground or whole bean coffee or a box of coffee pods. To guarantee the freshest coffee every time, it is only available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Each of the coffees I tasted was delicious without any sugar or creamer; Coffee is roasted to order then shipped, so it is always fresh; 10% of net proceeds support a great cause supporting firefighters and first responders; 15% discounts for active military, veterans, first responders, and emergency dispatchers; I’m now a fan of spirit-infused coffees, thanks to Fire Department Coffee!
What Needs Improvement: Nothing