Sat. Jan 18th, 2020

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Battle-weary Marines of the 22nd Regiment drank coffee after heavy fighting on Einwetok Atoll in the Pacific Theater in February 1944.Credit National Archives and Records Administration
Battle-weary Marines of the 22nd Regiment drank coffee after heavy fighting on Einwetok Atoll in the Pacific Theater in February 1944.Credit National Archives and Records Administration

The military consumes a lot of coffee. It’s been a source of comfort for them for a very long time even if one of the old Army cadences runs like this, “They say that in the Army, the coffee is mighty fine. It looks like muddy water and tastes like turpentine.” Basic rations and coffee must go hand in hand and along with it come rituals on how it is prepared and consumed in garrison, the field and in warfare. The history of coffee supposedly goes back to the 10th century. That’s a long time for soldiers to be drinking brew and kicking butt.

In his book Gettysburg: The Pivotal Battle of the Civil Warauthor Captain Robert K. Beecham wrote about soldiers and coffee. He penned, “The power of the soldiers to endure the fatigue of the march and keep their places in the ranks was greatly enhanced by an opportunity to brew a cup of coffee by the wayside.” Coffee has consoled and fueled soldiers for hundreds of years.

In a fascinating article written by Jon Grinspan he describes the importance of coffee during the Civil War. “It was the greatest coffee run in American history. The Ohio boys had been fighting since morning, trapped in the raging battle of Antietam, in September 1862. Suddenly, a 19-year-old William McKinley appeared, under heavy fire, hauling vats of hot coffee. The men held out tin cups, gulped the brew and started firing again. “It was like putting a new regiment in the fight,” their officer recalled. Three decades later, McKinley ran for president in part on this singular act of caffeinated heroism.”

Ebenezer Nelson Gilpin, a Union cavalryman, wrote in his diary, in April 1865 at the end of the Civil War,  “Everything is chaos here. The suspense is almost unbearable.”

“We are reduced to quarter rations and no coffee,” he continued. “And nobody can soldier without coffee.”

Most in the military who consume Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) look forward to the instant coffee packs stuffed inside the durable pouch. Some MREs even have chocolate covered coffee beans.

In the world of coffee there are a lot of coffee brands out there. And in the world of veteran run coffee companies there are a lot of choices too. Black Rifle Coffee, Alpha Coffee, Java Jarhead, Fire For Effect, Counter-Strike, Ranger-Coffee, GI JOE Coffee.

Today consumers are learning a little bit about veteran run coffee brands that are having a big impact in people’s lives. Our goal today is to highlight some of the veteran brands that you might know about. Most of this information was gleaned from their websites “About Us” sections. If you get some time on a chill, Sunday morning, we recommend that you check them out! We originally published a list of 10 known veteran-owned coffee brands. We will continue to add to this growing list of vet owned brands!

Operator Coffee

It all started with a conversation about coffee and bringing vets together.  Zack and Brent were discussing how many vets feel alone after getting out of the military.  For years these men and women are surrounded by their teammates only to have their lives instantly change upon separation.  Many times vets have trouble making the transition and it becomes easy for depression to set in.
The conversation quickly progressed to how great it would be to have coffee shops that were vet and first responder friendly.  These shops could be a place for vets to get together and meet other local vets and first responders, building new friendships.  The conversation next turned to the love of excellent coffee.  With this conversation, Operator Coffee was born. Currently they roast the highest quality coffee, which they sell through their amazing dealers and online store.  Their coffee is roasted from 100% Arabica beans with no fillers added.

Silver Star Coffee

As with most great ideas, Silver Star Coffee started with two good friends having a cup of coffee. These two friends happened to be dads, so the coffee wasn’t hot, but the conversation was good anyway. Brian enlisted and served from 1999-2003 in the US Air Force, supervising and assisting in the training of fellow military technologists. After active duty he engaged in several entrepreneurial ventures before breaking into the coffee industry. Being of Costa Rican heritage he wants to show the world how real coffee should taste, as grown by his cousins in Central America. Mike is a former Amazonian and Silicon Valley tech professional, who fell in love with coffee in Seattle where he currently resides. Mike loves tinkering with eCommerce and web technologies so the two of them decided to go into business together.

They wanted to share the delicious rich flavor of Costa Rican coffee with their customers, but wanted to give back, too. That’s why they built a company that also partners with and supports veteran’s charities. Their coffee is sustainable, fair trade, and reasonably priced. When they provide a great service to their consumers, and at the same time are able to help those that have proudly worn the uniform, they consider our mission a success.

Fouled Anchor Coffee

Fouled Anchor Coffee is a Veteran-owned and operated business based in Fort Worth Texas. A FOULED ANCHOR is……….when an anchor gets caught-up in its rope or chain, it is fouled.  It must be untangled and tended to, in order to work right. In nautical lore, the fouled anchor has deeper meaning. It represents a powerful symbol of perseverance and the ability to overcoming a daunting task. The fouled anchor, to many, symbolizes what is possible with just a little  more effort and attention. Their company is founded on these same principles.  At Fouled Anchor Coffee, they always lean forward looking for the best cup of coffee that they can find for you!


Operator Coffee

 It all started with a conversation about coffee and bringing vets together.  Founders Zack and Brent were discussing how many vets feel alone after getting out of the military.  For years these men and women are surrounded by their teammates only to have their lives instantly change upon separation.  Many times vets have trouble making the transition and it becomes easy for depression to set in. The conversation quickly progressed to how great it would be to have coffee shops that were vet and first responder friendly.  These shops could be a place for vets to get together and meet other local vets and first responders, building new friendships.  The conversation next turned to the love of excellent coffee.  With this conversation, Operator Coffee was born.

Trident Coffee

Many things make coffee special to Trident Coffee, but the one cornerstone that symbolizes Trident Coffee is unification.  Been around the world, and have seen the effects of people highlighting and fighting over their differences, vice celebrating their similarities and coming together.  Coffee was the one thing that created bridges, not barriers. The owner has sat at tables and in bunkers with people he did not share the same language, same ethnicity, same religion, or same culture, but was able to connect with them over a shared beverage…coffee.  Despite all of the differences, he was able to display commonality by drinking coffee together and electing to share in our humanity even if just for ten minutes.  They want to continually create that community experience and remind people that people have a lot more in common with others than expected.

The Trident is the most powerful nautical symbol and is showcased by Poseidon’s ability to control the oceans and cause earthquakes in Greek mythology.  In that same manner, he had the capability to connect every person through earth and water.  These are the two ingredients Trident Coffee crafts; coffee and water, and Trident Coffee wants to use them to energize a community dedicated to living with courage and character and they hope you will join them on this adventure.

Alpha Brew Coffee

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.  

Black Rifle Coffee

Evan Hafer, an Army Special Forces veteran and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company, said he would hire 10,000 veterans. Hafer stated this in response to Starbucks announcing it would hire 10,000 refugees to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“Our plan is to build 600 stores in the next six years. I’m gonna try to push this forward with the community behind me,” Hafer said Tuesday as a guest on “Fox & Friends.” Hafer notes onhis website:

“I started Black Rifle Coffee Company to provide a high-quality, roast-to-order coffee to the pro-2A and veteran communities.  Between deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I worked to refine both my coffee roasting skills and my firearms skills.  I have spent over a decade researching coffee, refining my roast profiles and (of course) drinking what I roast.  Black Rifle Coffee is quite literally the combination of my two favorite passions.  I take pride in the coffee we roast, the veterans we employ and the causes we support.”

Black Rifle Coffee Company will provide premium products, deliver the highest quality customer experience, and serve as the premier coffee company to the conservative customer; while honoring those who protect, defend, and support our communities and our country.  Black Rifle Coffee Company is the world’s premium conservative coffee company.  Small batch and roast to order, we take pride in the high quality of the products we create.  Our coffee is carefully sourced from a variety of farms in South America, and we roast it knowing it will fuel freedom-loving Americans everywhere. 

Java Jarhead

The company’s founder and CEO, Matt Phillips (whose father was a WWII Marine), started in the coffee business back in 1979 as a runner with the Green Coffee Association of NYC. During his 35 years in the business, he lived in Brazil and worked as the Trading Manager for the largest Brazilian exporter of green beans, Tristao Trading in NY.  Matt left Tristao in 1989 to become the President and CEO of Branco Peres, another Brazilian Agri Group and coffee exporter located on Long Island. During that time he had the opportunity to become involved with supporting The U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s First District, whose headquarters is also located on Long Island. Many personal friendships were formed at that time, friendships which continue today.

Upon his retirement from coffee in 2005, Matt wanted to make a more direct contribution in regard to supporting our military, and volunteered to deploy to Iraq as part of the OIF LOGCAP logistical support mission. Matt deployed to Iraq in 2008 and forward deployed to FOB Warrior/Kirkuk, Iraq to support our warfighters on the frontlines of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. It was this experience in having the opportunity to see in person what steadfast people we have defending our nation — in all the branches of our military — that led to this idea which resulted in JARHEAD JAVA Coffee.

JARHEAD JAVA is the culmination of a desire to take 35-years of coffee-industry experience and mold it into something which can make a difference in the lives of our young men and women who have given so much in service and sacrifice to this great nation. Coffee has shared a special place in the American military tradition as far back as the Civil War, and continues to be a part of military life to this day.

Ranger Coffee

Ranger Coffee is a small but growing company. They claim to invest at least 50% of their distributed profits in the causes that promote and support veterans. They manufacture from specialty-grade Arabica beans imported from throughout the world.

Their “Ranger” blend is their signature blend and most popular varietal.  Their tagline is: “serving those who serve,”. Ranger Coffee is a veteran-owned and operated company. All coffee orders are filled within 48 hours of receipt and shipped via priority mail to ensure a timely delivery.  Under their “Coffee for the Troops” program, they provided coffee to the troops serving overseas. In January, 2012 they took the step of restructuring the economics of their business and investing 50% of their distributed profits in the causes which promote and support veterans.  Under this model, for every dividend or distribution that’s declared by the company and paid out to its owners, a corresponding dollar-for-dollar investment is made in non-profit organizations that are making the biggest impact in the lives of veterans.

Invader Coffee

Invader Coffee has a “Lone Star Blend” that is roasted, ground, bagged and shipped from Austin, Texas. They use only the freshest and best beans in the world. They have ground to order or Whole Bean option also available with quick delivery. Available only here. Invader Coffee is sold under the banner of  ROGUEAMERICAN. The company was founded in August 2011 by a Marine, who also served as a High Threat Security Professional and Executive Protection Specialist, in places like Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe and the United States.

They create custom hand distressed/vintage dyed T-shirts, and take extreme pride in creating custom designs synonymous with warrior history, pride, culture and ethos. Vitality, War, Life and Death are commonly found in their designs, symbolic of the dangerous environments and challenges many of their customers face each day.

11B Coffee 

11BCC is a veteran-owned coffee business whose vision and mission is inspired by a dedicated combat veteran and his coffee loving family.   It is the core of their company to first and foremost honor and recognize Veterans who have served honorably, their families, and anyone who supports them by offering exceptional tasting specialty coffee drinks and products.  In addition, they support and promote other local and veteran owned businesses, and work in partnership with their local VFW. 11BCC was co-founded by an enlisted soldier, Sgt(R) Victor Alaniz, his partner Erin McChesney, and their rescue Pit Bull Simba.

11BCC envisions bringing a unique coffee experience to the St. Louis area that is deeply rooted in the values and skills the US Army instilled in Victor during his career and deployments such as commitment to excellence, dedication, quality and service. His company’s mission is to provide customers with the ultimate coffee experience.

General George S. Patton said, “Better to Fight for Something than Live for Nothing.”  11BCC is a group of hard-working individuals who are inspired by our Veterans and their sacrifices, and who are committed to serving their community, local and veteran owned businesses, and suppliers with the utmost integrity and respect.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.” D Gabriel B, Daytripper

Victory Coffee

Victory Coffee was created by former Navy SEAL, Cade Courtney. Cade stated, “my teammates and I operated in some of the most hazardous places on the planet. And no matter how dangerous or miserable the situation was; like those who served before us, we always had that warm cup of coffee.” and, “This became our sanctuary. It’s this simple act of enjoying a great cup of coffee that “our team” wants to share with you. Regardless of the challenges that lay ahead – you’ll know you started your day the right way.”

Victory Coffees delivers 5-Star award winning coffee (whole bean, ground, or K cups) to your home or business every month. They ship orders weekly via USPS Priority Mail to ensure you receive the freshest roasted coffee and pride themselves on being a veteran owned and operated squadron that stands behind quality and customer service.

Bomb Coffee

BOMB Coffee is a veteran owned coffee company comprised of four dudes that set out on a joint mission to develop the world’s strongest coffee with BOMB flavor.

They’ve spent a long time sourcing the world’s finest Robusta coffee beans and fine tuning their roasting process to ensure every cup of BOMB Coffee delivers maximum caffeine levels without compromising taste. The BOMB Coffee roasting facility is located just outside Chicago, in Rockford, IL.

BOMB Coffee scoured the globe to find the world’s strongest coffee bean that was grown naturally and handled with extreme care. This search ultimately led them to small family owned farms located within the Sakleshpu and Coorg districts in the state of Karnataka, India.

They learned that many of these farms have been in operation for nearly one-hundred years, passed down through the family from one generation to the next. The level of attention and how the farmers tend to their crop is second to none, clearly they take pride in cultivating such a high quality coffee bean.

The setting is picturesque. Their coffee is cultivated on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most biologically diverse places in the world with more than 5000 species of flowering plants and 508 different species of birds.

De Espresso Liber

The founder of De Espresso Liber developed an appreciation for fresh roasted, quality coffee beans while deployed to numerous remote locations around the world. During the course of these trips, he concluded that the taste of name-brand “quality” coffee mailed from home simply could not compare to the complexity of local coffees that had been brewed within days of being roasted.

Following these deployments, he decided to start a coffee roasting company. Its goal is to provide you with the same coffee experience he discovered overseas, at the coffee’s point of origin.

De Espresso Liber only roasts the highest quality, 100% Arabica, single origin coffee beans available. The distributors they do business with source their coffee directly from farms with whom they have developed longstanding relationships. These farms employ traditional farming and processing methods, resulting in a superior product. De Espresso Liber places great importance on roasting your coffee to the level you desire. Please contact them if you have any questions, or if you aren’t sure what level of roast you would like.

De Espresso Liber obtains beans from South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia, and Asia.

Counterstrike Coffee

The founder Brandon is a U.S. Navy FMF Hospital Corpsman Veteran.

Brandon is a 10 year Combat Veteran from Houston, Texas and is now producing a brand new line coffee that reflects some of the experiences individuals have while serving this country of ours.

The idea came to him while teaching his field to urban medical integration class. “I provide coffee for my classes and have a donation bucket. There were always a lot of contributors there, so I figured that there is a huge market there.”

Brandon reflected on his time in the service when coffee was held in high regard just to be able to function. He knew that if he designed a military/veteran friendly coffee brand that he could have some serious customers, but that’s not all. “All of the proceeds go back into the company with a portion being donated to charitable veterans organizations”

Alpha Coffee

Alpha Coffee used to be known as Lock and Load Java. They are a veteran and military-spouse co-owned and operated company dedicated to offering customers amazing coffee, promoting the warrior lifestyle, providing the highest levels of service, and giving back to the military and veterans.

On Sept. 11, 2010, we were co-founded by LTC(R) Carl Churchill, a combat veteran with 21 years of service as both an enlisted soldier and officer, and his wife Lori Churchill, a military spouse and coffee lover.  The company started out as Lock-n-Load Java, selling exclusively over the web.  In 2016 the company rebranded to Alpha Coffee, selling both online and via other retailers.  In 2017, Alpha will open their first coffee shop, staying close to home with their first location at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

From the start, Carl and Lori wanted to create a different kind of company guided by the principles they lived by.

They specifically promote the warrior mentality and ethos – the Alpha lifestyle.  This encompasses serving others, living a life of honor, embracing challenge, constantly striving for excellence, staying physically and mentally sharp, connecting with the outdoors and our natural world, and… drinking lots of awesome coffee! Team Alpha is made up of like-minded individuals who have embraced the warrior spirit and lifestyle.  All have committed to being part of a company that consistently provides outstanding, top grade premium coffee and serves its community of customers, its employees, and its suppliers with professionalism, honor, dignity, respect and integrity

GI Joe Coffee

G.I. Joe Coffee is a specialty coffee company which seeks to serve the highest quality Fair Trade coffees, expertly flavored and blended, and become the foremost Veteran-focused coffee company in the U.S. Their focus is to bring Veterans and their supporters within the same community of coffee drinkers, the means to aid in raising funds for disadvantaged, disabled, and differently-abled Veterans.

Their product is packaged with a nostalgic 1940’s style look and feel, similar to branding during WWII, and will feature military stories and facts, making their anniversary tin cans a must-have for collectors, history buffs, or simply those who enjoy reflecting on the historic past of our great nation.

Americans are very passionate and loyal to their country. Our patriotic style and flair provides an affiliation with favorite U.S. military branches, units, holidays, schools, notable leaders, and even presidents.

Connecting with those who understand the great sacrifice made by our Veterans, allows G.I. Joe Coffee to create a synergy sure to excite our customers and our partners like the USO, American Legion and Fisher House Foundation. Over 21 million Veterans reside in the United States, of which 3.5 million have a service-connected disability. Our partnerships will enable us to award funds to vital organizations that already aid Veterans and their families every day. Our future lies in our development of the G.I. Joe Coffee brand. Thus, the wider our distribution, the more people spread the word about our cause, the more effective we will be in affecting the lives of active duty military, veterans and their families who are in need.

Join us in the fight to take care of our heroes who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and with just one bag or single serve box of coffee per month, you will be contributing to the welfare of those who need us.

Their products are 100% Guaranteed. If for some reason you do not like their product and you have not opened it, they will quickly replace it.

*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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