Leite’s Loves . . . Fire Dept. Spirit-Infused Coffee

If you’re a little bit (or a lotta bit) coffee-obsessed and tired of spending $5 each morning on a decent cuppa, you’re in luck. We discovered–and sampled–an awesome new company, Fire Dept. Coffee, from the great, often-underestimated, Mid-Western United States. 

Whole coffee beans and a tumbler filled with amber liquor.

Fire Dept. Coffee is a veteran-owned business that’s dedicated to providing great-tasting coffee to people everywhere. Every order is freshly roasted in Rockford, Illinois, by a dedicated team of firefighters, first responders, and coffee connoisseurs. We had the pleasure of tasting Canadian-Maple Whiskey and Coconut Rum, both spirit-infused offerings. 

A lot of us at LC clamor for coffee. Like, in a big way. And some of us aren’t averse to the occasional tipple. Put the two together and you’ve found the key to our (slightly racing) hearts. We rely on it to get through marathon sessions in the kitchen but mostly we just love it for the taste–like everything else good in life.

Two mugs, one empty and the other filled with Irish coffee on a white wooden table.
: Tara Striano

How we taste tested the coffee

We each took a similar approach to make the most scientific judgments we could about Fire Dept. Coffee–by drinking as much of it as we could. Hot, cold, sweetened, unsweetened. A little mocha syrup? Why not–it’s for work, right? All in the name of helping out our readers.

Fire Dept. Coffee’s mission

And even better than their superb coffee, is their mission of supporting groups that help firefighters and first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges. Pop over to the Fire Dept. Coffee website and look through the variety of flavors, caffeine levels, and take note of their commendable mission–they’ve certainly earned new customers with us.

Diana says . . .

The Canadian-Maple Whiskey has a lovely, rich color and is very smooth. It offers a slight sweet-whiskey taste that’s natural tasting, not like some “flavored” coffees that taste artificial. All in all, this is a satisfying cup of coffee, and could easily be my new daily drinker. The aroma is wonderful–but not overpowering, so it could be drunk at the office without having coworkers presume I’ve got whiskey bottles hiding in my file cabinet. I also noticed that after drinking three cups, I wasn’t as jittery as I sometimes get with my normal coffee.

A bag of coconut rum infused coffee beans from Fire Dept Coffee.

I must confess that I was originally skeptical about trying the Coconut-Rum infused coffee–mostly due to rum doing me dirty in the past–but now this is probably my favorite ground coffee for cold brewing.

When I opened the bag, the aroma was so coconutty that I expected that to carry over into the brewed cup. It’s still a good cup of coffee–it just doesn’t pack the coconutty punch the aroma promised. The coffee itself (regardless of infusions) is smooth, complex, and not at all bitter, and would hold its own compared to any plain, premium brand. 

But…what about black, over ice, after steeping overnight? Holy deliciousness! Pronounced coconut flavor, subtle notes of rum permeated the brew. I’d have been just fine drinking this black because it’s such a stellar, satisfying taste.

Jenny says . . .

This coffee really surprised me. I mean, I like to think I know a little about coffee because I drink so much of it. Let me just cut to the chase and tell you that this stuff is fantastic. It’s some of the smoothest coffee I’ve ever made myself.

A bag of Canadian Maple Whisky Spirit-Infused coffee beans from Fire Dept Coffee.

A confession that makes me a horrible Canadian? I hate maple syrup. Well, I mean–I did. Maple Whiskey infused into a medium roast, robust yet velvety cup of coffee is the stuff of dreams. Maple-soaked, plaid-wrapped, bear-hugging dreams. 

The Coconut Rum medium-roast coffee has a much more pronounced scent–it smells like, well, coconut rum. Once brewed, however, I found, like Diana, that it wasn’t nearly as apparent anymore. I didn’t mind that so much, though. I’m not crazy about flavored coffee and this brew still had a nice lilt to it, yet wasn’t thankfully Jimmy Buffet-adjacent. It tasted like a really good cup of coffee with a hint of coconut rum, more obvious in the aroma than the taste. 

Both medium roast blends, I found they were just strong enough to have an assertive taste but not so strong that either left me feeling like I had overdone it by drinking 2 cups. And, even better, I enjoyed both coffees cold-brewed, served with ice. Now that’s the hallmark of an excellent coffee. I added a little cream to a few glasses but have enjoyed them both ways.

A glass of cold brew coffee with a French press and jar of cream in the background.
: Jen Altman

And as much as I enjoyed the coffee itself, I have to say that I was also delighted by the marketing and packaging. It’s thoughtfully designed, and everything just looks good: easy to distinguish, well thought out, and colorful without being maniacal. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. 

Coffee for a cause

When we’re in trouble or in danger, firefighters and other first responders race to our side without a second wasted and without a second thought.

The Fire Dept. Coffee Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supporting groups that help firefighters and first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges. Each month, the foundation directs 10% of net proceeds from Fire Dept. Coffee, as well as other charitable gifts, to these worthy organizations or individual heroes in need.

Which leaves an even better taste in our mouths than their coffee.

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