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Black Rifle Coffee Review: How Good Is This Coffee Brand?

You might have seen a militaristic coffee company popping up recently.

With coffees like Freedom Fuel and Liberty Roast, Black Rifle Coffee Company is making a name.

After nearly five years in the industry, I’ve learned a thing or two about coffee companies. So let’s take a look at Black Rifle.

In this Black Rifle Coffee review, I’ll take you on a deep dive. We’ll talk about the story of the company and the coffee lineup. And I’ll even offer my recommendation on where to start.

So, let’s dive straight in!

Black Rifle Coffee Company: A Quick Overview

Light Roasts3/5
Medium Roasts4/5
Dark Roasts5/5
Extra-Dark Roasts3/5
Single Serve5/5
On-The-Go2/5
Ready To Drink2/5

Black Rifle Coffee Company was started in 2014 by a former US Marine Green Beret. 

And it started with good intentions. Black Rifle aims to support veterans, law enforcement, and first responders.

The coffee itself is bold, rich, and deeply flavorful. There aren’t a ton of medium or lighter roast options. 

If you’re a fan of unique and interesting flavor profiles, you’ll probably be disappointed by the Black Rifle’s selection.

There is also a lack of beans in the lineup.

But with every purchase, some money goes to organizations that help veterans and law enforcement. It’s a great way to help support those groups without direct donations.

Don’t be scared off by the over-the-top military branding. The coffee itself is pretty normal. A lot more normal than the branding might lead you to believe.

Black Rifle Coffee: In-Depth Look

Now that we have covered the basics of Black Rifle Company, let’s dive into some of the aspects of this coffee brand.

We’ll take a look at how Black Rifle is similar to and different from other coffee companies.

How To Order

black rifle coffee
Source: shopify.com

There are actually three different ways you can order from Black Rifle:

  1. Per bag
  2. Coffee Club
  3. Exclusive Coffee Subscription

Black Rifle’s per-bag ordering is similar to just about every other coffee company out there. What that means is that you buy individual bags of coffee without any bundles or long-term commitments.

You pay for each bag separately, and nothing gets renewed.

Black Rifle Coffee Club is the company’s subscription service. What I like about this is that you have some control over the subscription.

You can set your orders to come:

  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly
  • Monthly
  • Bi-monthly  

But you can also choose the number of bags you get. Anywhere from 1-4 bags if you’re buying for a household. And anywhere from 80 oz to 320 oz if you’re ordering for an office.

The benefits don’t stop at regular coffee deliveries, though. You don’t pay for shipping while part of the Coffee Club. And you get early access to future Black Rifle roasts and blends.

Black Rifle also partners with other companies to give Coffee Club members discounts.

If you ask me, it’s actually one of the better coffee subscriptions out there. I don’t usually do this, but I actually would recommend this subscription to even casual coffee drinkers.

The Exclusive Coffee Subscription is essentially Black Rifle’s micro-lot subscription service. This isn’t the same as the Coffee Club.

The Exclusive Coffee Subscription is a monthly delivery of a new micro-lot sourced and roasted by Black Rifle. A micro-lot means the beans come from a single crop from a single farm.

The point of the ECS is to give a handful of members access to high-quality micro-lot coffee.

Is it worth it? Honestly, I don’t think so. I think you’d be better off heading to your local specialty shop and taking part in their micro-lot coffees.

As a former barista, trust me when I say that coffee shops will always brew better micro-lot coffee than you can at home. 

BOTTOM LINE
You can either order by bag, with a subscription, or with an exclusive subscription. I would actually highly recommend the subscription because you can tailor it to your needs.

The Freshness To Expect

In all honesty, the freshness in Black Rifle Coffee is no better or worse than many other coffee companies out there.

Black Rifle takes a lot of pride in being a small-batch roaster.

All that means is that Black Rifle roasts green coffee beans in small batches instead of all at once.

The benefit of being a small-batch roaster is that you’re more likely to get a fresher roast. Essentially, each time you buy a bag from Black Rifle, chances are you’re going to get a roast within a week of the delivery.

And keep in mind that coffee doesn’t really start to go bad for about two weeks.

BOTTOM LINE
Black Rifle Coffee is a small-batch roaster. That means you’re very likely to get as fresh a roast as possible each time you order a bag.

How Black Rifle Packages Its Coffee

black rifle packages
Source: shopify.com

Black Rifle’s packaging is the most divisive I’ve ever come across.

Personally, I’m really not a fan. But I understand the appeal.

Black Rifle follows a naming and branding scheme that is military-focused. You get roasts like the AK-47 Espresso Roast or the Silencer Smooth Roast.

After all, Black Rifle is a veteran-founded and veteran-owned company, so it makes sense.

Black Rifle is all about love for America. And at times, it can be a little overbearing. 

If you’re asking the barista what I think, I would say it’s a clever way to package the same quality coffee as most other medium-sized national roasters.

On a strictly objective level, Black Rifle uses resealable, airt-tight bags with one-way valves. All that means is that you don’t necessarily have to have a good container. The bags will keep your beans fresh for a couple of weeks.

BOTTOM LINE
Black Rifle uses a military naming and branding scheme that can come across as too heavy-handed for average consumers. But it is a veteran-owned company that focuses on helping other veterans transition to civilian life, so it makes sense.

The Black Rifle Coffee Collection

The time has come for us to take a closer look at Black Rifle’s actual coffee lineup.

I’ll walk you through each type of coffee, from light roasts to single-serve pods.

And I’ll give you my recommendation on where to start in each category.

Light Roasts

Black Rifle certainly didn’t make its name with light roast coffees. Those came later.

But the lineup of light roasts is actually pretty ironed out at this point.

The Gunship roast is a newer light roast that is carrying a lot of weight at the moment. It has a lighter body with citrus and floral notes.

That’s complemented by the Space Bear roast. Space Bear is the lightest of the roasts and features floral notes with a hint of citrus and a black tea-style body.

But in my opinion, the best option is the classic Silencer Smooth Light Roast.

Silencer Smooth is a more classic light roast with a balanced body and hints of milk chocolate and orange citrus.

It’s a great light roast for any type of brewing and should be every light roast lover’s first stop.

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Medium Roasts

Black Rifle started with a handful of medium roasts. And those roasts are still around today.

The Liberty Roast is a good option. It’s a Peruvian coffee with notes of hazelnut and chocolate. I’d recommend it to just about anyone who likes single-origin medium roasts.

There is also the AK-47 Espresso Roast, which is a great medium roast coffee. It’s rather odd to find a medium roast espresso, but I’m a big fan.

Another good place to start is the CAF Roast. This is Black Rifle’s caffeine-heavy coffee. It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. That means it has about double the standard cup of coffee’s caffeine content.

But my personal recommendation on where to start is the Just Black Roast. It’s the medium roast for the folks who love drinking black coffee with a balanced body and full flavors. It has a smooth texture with notes of cocoa, vanilla, and butter.

Trust me, it’s a great all-around coffee.

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Dark Roasts

Black Rifle’s dark roasts are arguably the money-makers. They are dark, smooth, rich, bold, and everything you need in a dark roast coffee.

Blackbeard’s Delight is a smoky, nutty, and chocolatey coffee from Brazil. It’s a pretty classic Brazilian flavor profile, and it goes well with or without cream and sugar.

Freedom Fuel fills a slightly mellower slot in the lineup. It features tasting notes of dark chocolate, walnut, and anise.

In my opinion, it isn’t anything too special. But, the mellowness of Freedom Fuel makes it easy to brew, no matter your preferred method or recipe.

There’s also the Honduran Tactisquatch Roast, which has notes of black currant, molasses, and orange. It’s my recommendation for someone who likes black coffee with some interesting flavors.

But my overall recommendation is Beyond Black Roast. It is a super-classic dark roast that is smooth, bold, and rich. It has a slightly smokey taste with hints of dark chocolate and some citrus.

It’s my recommendation for the timeless taste of a dark roast.

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Extra-Dark Roasts

Extra-Dark roasts are also sometimes referred to as espresso roasts or French roasts.

These roasts tend to be used mostly for espresso shots or darker coffees like Turkish.

They are certainly unique in their profiles. And Black Rifle features just one extra-dark roast.

It’s called Murdered Out Coffee Roast and has notes of smoke and dark chocolate.

In my opinion, it’s a good choice for someone who likes a diner-style coffee that’s strong, rich, and packs a punch. It’s probably best with cream and sugar.

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Single-serve

If you have a Keurig, you’re in luck with Black Rifle. Black Rifle has a huge selection of K-Cups.

Pretty much the entire lineup of coffees is also available as single-serve K-Cups.

Black Rifle refers to the pods as “Coffee Rounds.”

Black Rifle even has non-coffee rounds called Combat Cocoa Rounds (which are hot chocolate). 

But for most people, I would actually recommend the Mixed Coffee Rounds or the Supply Drop.

The difference between the two is just how many rounds you get. But with both options, you get a mix of Black Rifle’s most popular coffee roasts.

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On-The-Go Coffees

BRCC Instant Coffee Packets

Black Rifle features a handful of products that are faster options for coffee than a typical brew.

Things like instant coffee, canned coffee, and even coffee pouches for chewing.

Black Rifle has Just Black Cold Brew packs that are essentially for steeping in water to create a cold brew.

And there’s a hot counterpart to the cold brew ground coffee packs simply called Coffee Steep Bags. Those act like tea bags for fast and hands-off brewing.

Black Rifle also dipped its toes into the instant coffee world with the BRCC Instant Coffee Packets. These are little sleeves of instant grounds you can dump into a cup of hot water for instant coffee.

They contain 100% Colombian coffee that is pretty solid.

I’d recommend them for an emergency stash for those mornings you forgot to buy fresh beans the night before.

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Ready-To-Drink Coffee

Black Rifle actually has two ready-made coffees in the lineup.

The first is the Espresso Mocha. It comes in a can with 200mg of caffeine and 100% Colombian coffee.

It’s a great option for a quick coffee on the go as long as you don’t mind refrigerated coffee.

But I’d highly recommend Black Rifle’s Ready To Drink 300. It’s a caramel-vanilla-flavored triple shot of Colombian espresso.

The Colombian espresso gives the coffee a balanced and smooth flavor. The balance is perfect for adding caramel and vanilla. It’s a canned coffee that’s definitely worth trying.

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FAQ

Now that you’ve had a deep dive into Black Rifle Coffee Company, you might have a few burning questions.

I answered a few of the most common questions I get about Black Rifle in this section.

Does Black Rifle coffee have more caffeine than regular coffee?

Most of Black Rifle’s coffee has similar amounts of caffeine to regular coffee.

However, the C.A.F. roast from Black Rifle has about 200 mg of caffeine. That’s more than double a standard cup of regular coffee.

Is Black Rifle coffee good for espresso?

Black Rifle Coffee AK Espresso is actually quite a solid espresso roast.
Personally, I like my espresso smooth, rich, and balanced. The AK

Espresso roast is all of those things. I’d recommend it to a more traditional espresso drinker.

Does Black Rifle coffee roast its own beans?

Yes, Black Rifle Coffee roasts its own beans.

Black Rifle Coffee even roasts in small batches. That means that every time you buy a bag, you can almost be guaranteed to get as fresh a roast as possible.

My Final Thoughts

Black Rifle Coffee Company is a cleverly branded coffee company that isn’t pushing the boundaries of quality coffee.

But it does do a lot to help United States veterans, first responders, and law enforcement. It is, after all, a veteran-owned business.

If you support those groups, this is a great company to buy from.

If you’re looking for simply the best coffee your money can buy, there are plenty of other companies that are doing similar things to Black Rifle.

In the end, it’s a fine company with great coffee. Certainly worth a shot!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.