The history of coffee is very interesting. The plant, which was first discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century, spread throughout the world by lovers of this “medicinal fruit.” It then spread from the Arabian Peninsula, out of places such as Turkey and into the hands of travelers who made their way into France, Italy and hundreds of years hence it arrived in the good ol’ US of A. Historians state once it reached America in 1668 the first coffeehouse opened in New York in 1696. It was called the “The King’s Arms”.

How interesting that a coffee house noted as the King’s Arms would soon fade into obscurity and hundreds of years after its closing American military-based coffee brands are sprouting up all over the U.S. These brands and founders are known for their independent mind-set, entrepreneurial spirit, and loyalty to a country that gives opportunity to those with a creative spark who enter her American military ranks. Loyalty to the king? Pah! Try loyalty to the flag, brother!

It’s likely that a life of regimentation brings out the desire in people to create. Today there are a lot of coffee brands embraced by the military community. One of those brands brought to my attention is Alpha Brew Coffee. I don’t recall if Ricky Doyon, one of the founders of Alpha Brew, reached out to me or if I called him to do a review. Either way I ‘m glad that I got a chance to test his brand of coffee out because it’s good.

Spotter Up likes to do honest reviews. We’ve returned products to companies that just didn’t pass our muster because it was inferior in some way. We will never recommend poor products to our troops, law-enforcement brothers and sisters patrolling our nations’ streets, nor our emergency responders who count on good gear and good fuel to keep them going.  Tight budgets means money should be well-spent and if the product will break-down or for some other poor reason fail! we will feel badly. We prefer to let the product stand on its own merits and go from there.

Freedoms Out shirt at Alpha Brew

Okay, let’s be clear here: Doing a taste test on coffee is purely subjective. Brewed coffee can vary wildly in its flavor and chemical make-up. When we review a product such as apparel or gear we apply our standards of Functionality, Weight, Durability, Cost, Comfort and give it an Overall Total. Rating liquid and food products is going to be tricky but not impossible. I’m clearly not a paid coffee-tester so I’d rather impart to you the idea, in my review at least, that good veteran coffee brands should have a wide selection, taste better than being reasonably good, have options in their coffee blends, espresso blends, and also single origin coffees.  They should have their own distinct mission and whatever their personal views are in a spectrum of beliefs they should be influencers for good in our communities.  Their logo and packaging should be smart, the shipping and cost should be affordable and the quality of the product should want you to come back for more. Alpha Brew sent me some free samples of the Alpha Brew Single Origin Guatemalan for $15.00 and the Alpha Brew Super Charged Ethiopian at $17.50. I was not paid to do this review.

For starters, in my mind coffee should have perfect acidity and leave a good aftertaste in my mouth, and should not be consumed with milk or sugar. Don’t mess it up with flavor additives. It should be tasted black to get the purest taste-test. Did Alpha Brew give me a good, smooth taste in my mouth? Yes, Alpha Brew did just that, with the Single Origin Guatemalan that I tried. I don’t want a bitter brew. Good aroma? Check. Did it have good body? Yes. I don’t like an oily coffee that sits in my mouth and doesn’t dissolve. I prefer a coffee that has a good balance of watery and not too syrupy texture or buoyancy. Coffee should taste as good as it smells. Will it smell like a wet dog burning or taste like fishy oil? Alpha Brew did not! Some coffees smell bad and taste good, or vice-versa. Alpha Brew was pleasant to the nose and tongue.

Here’s some info from their page: Brendon Mahoney is founder of and co-owner of Crossfit San Mateo/Alpha Project Strength and Conditioning in San Mateo, CA.  After earning All American honors, competing in the 2004 Olympic Trials and winning multiple ACC titles, he joined the Nike Farm Team in Palo Alto, CA to train for the 2008 Olympic Trials. As a busy husband, father of three and owner of multiple businesses, staying healthy and being strong isn’t a choice. It’s a requirement.  Brendon currently serves in the Army National Guard as an 11B Infantryman with B4 ASI as a sniper.  He currently enjoys drinking Alpha Brew, bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and making awesome people in the Bay Area even more awesome.

Ricky Doyon is a Marine who operated in worldwide in tactical intelligence and reconnaissance.  He first got into Crossfit while working with a bunch of SEAL’s who challenged him to come try “Crossfit” with them in 2007.  He started to accumulate certifications in fitness and nutrition after seeing a lack of knowledge among military leaders in charge of physical fitness.  He has trained all levels of the military from admin personnel to Tier 1 Operators in SOCOM, as well professional MMA athletes to The Biggest Loser contestants.   He enjoys geeking out on anything from nutrition, mobility, coffee, cars, and movies.

 

Alpha Brew coffee does not utilize a “base” coffee or blends. They use only single origin and proudly tell the consumer they are not offsetting cheap quality beans to make it taste a little better just to make a profit. They rely on coffee beans coming in its purest form and highest quality to make the consumer happy.  They also offer a super charged coffee which is specifically engineered to give you no crashes, or jitters. They infuse that coffee with nootropics for increased energy and focus.

Their coffee is vacuum sealed in strong 5 mm coffee bags you can buy that rids over 99% of oxygen that would turn the coffee stale. They also offer a coffee subscription that allows you to tailor how many bags of coffee you want, and how often you want them.  If you want one bag per week or more, this is doable. You can pick which coffees you want, by picking the grind size or whole bean and then pick how often you want them.  Let’s look at some of the pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Smart looking packaging and logo.
  • Excellent coffee that comes in 12oz. bags of whole beans.
  • Single Origin coffee that are not blends or vague in where it came from.
  • They offer a quality Ethiopian coffee.
  • They offer a quality Guatemalan coffee.
  • They package their coffee in true vacuum sealed bags that removes over 99% oxygen + nitrogen flush to preserve the precious beans.  Bad packaging is a strong indicator of poor lack of concern for shelf stability, freshness, and exposure to light and oxygen.
  • Good looking apparel that is affordable and supports their goal of building a good coffee brand.
  • Military-minded brand.
  • Subscriptions are offered for those who want to schedule regular coffee deliveries to their front door.
  • Founders that understand fitness, nutrition, military service and what makes a good product.

CONS

  • At $15-$18.00. There high-quality coffee costs more than the average bag of coffee. However you are not getting coffee on the scale of Starbucks or Folgers House. This is a veteran run brand that is growing and will be more scalable. I believe that price is justifiable for a good bag of coffee. I’m willing to pay a little over $12-$15.00 for good brands, especially to military or law-enforcement minded brands.
  • A small selection. They offer a few choices however we expect very good things from Alpha Brew.

Death Before Decaf 3/4 Sleeve Unisex

Let’s just say that I feel that Alpha Brew is cutting out a path for itself among the growing amounts of veteran run coffee companies and there are many out there: Black Rifle Coffee, Lock N Load Java, Java Jarhead, Fire for Effect, Counter-Strike, Ranger-Coffee, GI JOE Coffee. Veterans as consumers are a fickle bunch and loyalty counts for a lot. Companies that sell to the military-minded members must offer a good product for a good price and they must follow through on what they do and say in order to gain credibility in the veteran world. Alpha Brew is off to a good start. If a brand has a buffet of different artificial flavor profiles, they aren’t standing on the quality of their beans.

There coffee reheats well, tastes good, and is truly drinkable. Great beans, tasty flavors, patriotic people, so what more could you ask for? Please give them a try.

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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