Ever since Black Rifle Coffee Company shot themselves in the foot (pun intended) with their NYT interview, many of their customers came to us looking for a real conservative Black Rifle Coffee Company Alternative.
Coffee Roasters – Saints or Scoundrels
I’ll give Black Rifle their due. Their marketing strategy is to cater to the military, police, first responders, second amendment advocates and all of their supporters, i.e., people who love America. This was a noble cause.
Up until recently, I had been proud to compete with Black Rifle. We appeared to share a common set of core conservative values. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
On July 14th, 2021, the executives of Black Rifle Coffee Company participated in a New York Times article, where they attempted to distance themselves from conservatives and the MAGA movement. Needless to say, this ticked off a lot of the Black Rifle’s customer-base and they are now up in arms (pun intended).
As soon as I heard this, I told my wife Alisha, “I’ll bet that Black Rifle will IPO (Initial Public Offer, i.e. sell a portion of their company on the New York Stock Exchange). Sure enough, on November 2nd they IPO’d for $1.7B. The entire 2nd Amendment / Conservative focus was nothing more than a ruse, to make Black Rifle a family name; all in the name of a future IPO. CLICK HERE for the full article about the IPO.
Coffee and Conservatism
I don’t believe that business and politics should go together. Unfortunately, that’s not the world in which we now live. The left’s “Cancel-Culture” has attempted to kill conservative businesses. Unfortunately for them, this strategy is turning around to bite them. Two can play this same cancel-culture game.
Conservatives are now coming out in droves to boycott liberal businesses and turning their buying dollar votes (buy-cott) to avidly support local, mom-n-pop, businesses like ours that share their conservative beliefs.
Screwgle figured out early in our business (2015), that my wife, Alisha, and I are conservatives. Screwgle labeled us as conservative coffee roasters and thus Lake City Coffee as a conservative coffee company.
Instead of hurting our coffee business, as Screwgle intended, our sales substantially increased. Although, we’re politically active, we try to keep our website and business focused on two things; great coffee and great coffee drinkers.
Burnt and Bitter Coffee
Coffee that is burnt and bitter is so 20th century. The U.S. Army, during WWI, decided to send coffee to Europe with our doughboys (solders). Coffee roasters have always had problems with their roasted coffee spoiling. The Army’s engineers tried burning the snot out of their roasted coffee, in an attempt to preserve the roasted beans.
The good new is that burning the beans worked. The bad news is that it created a generation of Americans that loved burnt and bitter coffee. And when the solders came home, guess who sold to them burnt and bitter coffee? You guessed it, Folgers, Maxwell House, Yuban, Hills Brother, and eventually so did Starbucks and Black Rifle.
Coffee was never meant to taste burnt and bitter. Your Great-Grandma, prior to WWI, would roast her own coffee every week. She gently roasted her beans low-n-slow to a medium brown and occasionally to a very dark brown, but never black.
Why did she roast every week? Because, Great-Grandma knew that the fresher the beans the better the coffee. Unfortunately, when you buy coffee today, almost all roasted coffee has been sitting in warehouses or on store shelves for months if not years.
Great-Grandmother’s coffee was smooth as silk. Her coffee had a naturally sweet flavor, which included all the subtle tastes that God put into that bean, like chocolate, nut, citrus, etc. Great Grandma’s coffee was so much better than today’s because her coffee was fresh roasted and it wasn’t burnt. In fact, if her roasted coffee wasn’t drank in 30 days, she threw it out!
Black Rifle Coffee Review
August of 2021 was huge month for us at Lake City Coffee (all two of us). Because we spend most of our time communicating with our customers, we know that many of our new customers were leaving Black Rifle and seeking an alternative. Considering that so many of Black Rifle’s ex-customers were coming to us, I wanted to know how well their coffee stacked up to ours. So, I decided to place an order with Black Rifle and try it myself. Below, I recount my experience and my personal opinion.
Placing A Coffee Order With Black Rifle
Black Rifle’s website is exactly what you’d expect from Wall Street; slick, impersonal, too many choices, very little helpful information, and devoid of personality. Oddly, there is no real content. Every pixel is screaming “Buy My Stuff”.
Unfortunately, the title names of each coffee roast had nothing to do with coffee. The coffee roast names, as far as I could tell, could have been selling breakfast cereal. “Gothic Serpent”, “Monk Seal”, “The Headless Horseman”, etc. Each offering’s name was totally meaningless.
Additionally, there must have been 50 different beans and roasts to choose from. To say it was confusing, is an understatement. If you weren’t a coffee expert, you’d have been lost with so many options.
Lake City Coffee sources all of our single-source beans from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. So, to compare apples to apples, on September 28th 2021, I placed an order of Black Rifle’s “Flying Elk”. I chose “Flying Elk” because it was also from Costa Rica and was also (supposedly) lightly roasted.
After placing the order, we immediately received an automated and canned confirmation email. Never once, did we receive any communication from a real live human being. Obviously, Black Rifle is still stuck in the, impersonal, industrial 20th century.
Black Rifle’s Coffee Arrives October 13
Two weeks after placing our order, the coffee finally arrived. The box arrived slightly damaged, but the coffee bag was in tact. The coffee bag looked just like the picture on their website.
Just like nearly every industrial coffee company in the U.S., Black Rifle’s plastic bag of “Flying Elk” included a “One Way Valve” imbedded into the side of the plastic bag. The idea here is to allow the “out gassing” of the beans to escape the bag, but not allow air into the bag.
First of all “out gassing” is a myth. So, why the valve? At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut, I just chalk it up to more marketing BS.
I squeezed the bag slightly, to test the valve, and whatever air was in the bag easily got pushed out of the valve. An hour later, the bag was again full of air (or bean out-gassing). So much for the value of valves.
No Roasting Date
Here’s a truth that the industrial coffee companies don’t want you to know. All coffee starts going stale the minute it’s roasted. A week later and you can tell the difference. A month later and your once fresh coffee is now stale and bitter.
Even more insidious is the fact that no amount of space-age packaging technology can keep your coffee even remotely fresh.
Therefore it’s imperative for coffee lovers to make sure that all coffee they purchase has a roast date on the bag. Unfortunately, very few industrial coffee companies post the roasting date on their coffee bag. Black Rifle is no exception. Nowhere on their coffee bag was the roast date indicated. Frankly, I was disappointed because I expected more from a company that claims to be conservative.
I drink coffee everywhere I go; five star hotels, five star restaurants, fancy-dancy coffee shops, you name it. I’m just curious if anyone has coffee better than mine.
I’ve tasted worse coffee than Black Rifle’s bag of “Flying Elk”. Generally speaking it was not better or worse than any of the burnt and bitter coffee from the large industrial coffee companies, including Yuban, Hills Brothers, Charbucks, etc.
Here’s the bottom line. Black Rifle’s “Flying Elke” tasted bitter and burnt (note that we ordered a “light roast”, which turned out darker than my “dark roast”). There wasn’t a hint of any other flavor but burnt; no nut, no citric, no chocolate, or any other of several dozen flavors that good coffee often has.
Black Rifle Coffee Company Alternative
Here is why Lake City Coffee is the best alternative to Black Rifle Coffee Company.
- Beans – We source 100% of our beans from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Our beans are high altitude and shad grown, hand picked, mountain water washed, sun dried, and hand sorted by small, single-source, Costa Rican, farmers.
- Roasted – All of our beans are roasted low-n-slow, from very light, to medium brown, to dark brown, never black.
- Fresh – Our beans are roasted and shipped the same day. 99% of our orders are delivered in 24-72 hours.
- Communications – Because we communicate personally with all of our customers, Lake City Coffee is first and foremost about people and secondly about coffee. Long before your coffee arrives, you will receive a personal (non-automated) email from either Alisha or myself. Call, and you’ll talk to Alisha or myself. Email, and you’ll hear from Alisha or myself. Text, and you’ll hear from Alisha or myself.
- Taste – We want coffee just like great-grandma used to make; smooth as silk, with subtle flavors of chocolate and nut. So, we only produce what we like. If you don’t like what we like then go buy from Charbucks or Black Rifle.
- Education – Buying the best beans, roasting them to perfection, and delivering them to you within hours, is only 50% of the great-cup-of-coffee equation. The other 50% of the equation is in your brewing technique. We want you to learn how to make coffee worthy of your great-grandmother. That’s why we have dedicated a large majority of our website to teaching you how to make awesome coffee. Start with our “FAQ” tab. And if that doesn’t work, then give me a call.
Lake City Coffee – True Conservative Mom-n-Pop Roasters
Alisha and I love our coffee, but we love our Lake City Coffee customers much more. Many of our customers have become dear friends, who are spread from one end of this great country to the other. They differ in location, career, race, religion, and politics, but they all love great coffee and they love our country just as we do.
From the very beginning, Black Rifle Coffee Company’s strategy was to IPO. Thus, they followed Wall Street’s advice to distance themselves from conservatives, therefore they lost sight of their customers. You know the saying, “Get Woke – Go Broke“.
We won’t make that mistake, because we know who we are, who you are, and our purpose is to serve you. If you’re looking for a real Black Rifle Coffee Company Alternative, then check us out.
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