A Colorado-based vet (and current firefighter) partners up to launch the socially conscious Fire Department Coffee
Milkshakes masquerading as breakfast beverages. Cutesy designs scrawled into latte foam. These may work for some people, but for others, a strong, no-nonsense cup of joe is best. That’s the philosophy, anyway, behind Fire Department Coffee, a small-batch roaster founded by two military veterans (one a Coloradan) now working as firefighters, on a mission to “make the easiest-drinking coffee for our nation’s hardworking men and women.”
Mark Williams, a former Marine who lives in Denver, and Luke Schneider, a Navy veteran who lives near Chicago, understand the average serviceperson or firefighter’s need for dependable sources of tasty psychostimulants. “We learned while serving in the military and fire service that caffeine and good-tasting coffee are critical for long nights and high-octane lifestyles,” they write on their website.
They also understand—and respect—that these individuals, their target clientele, may not have room in the budget for a $5 cup of specialty brew from the corner café. “We’re doing this as grassroots as we can,” Williams says. “People who defend this country don’t always have the resources to buy ultra-expensive coffee. We know that. We’re trying to keep them in mind. We want to deliver those folks a fantastic cup of coffee they can afford.” A 1-pound bag of Fire Department Coffee is $12-$14.
The Illinois-based company donates a portion of its revenue to military and firefighter charities, and strives to source its beans through socially and environmentally responsible channels. “We focus strongly on the social piece,” Williams says. “When we started the company, we decided to champion pro-military and pro-veteran organizations, and also to find farms that are sustainable, good for the environment and good for the people who grow the coffee.” All of which adds up to a company that’s industrious and humble, hip and down-to-earth at the same time.
“By running a company that targets veterans and service-sector workers,” Williams says, “we’re able to cater to people we understand and care about. And because of that, we’re able to do the thing right.”
FIRE DEPARTMENT COFFEE
Luke Schneider and Mark Williams launched Fire Department Coffee in July of 2016 with the goal of bringing the easiest-drinking coffee to the nation’s hardest-working men and women. Schneider is a Navy veteran and firefighter paramedic near Chicago. Williams is a Denver-based Marine Corps veteran and firefighter.
SPIRITS WORLD Craft cocktail fan as well as java freak? You’ll want to try the line of spirit-themed coffees from Fire Department Coffee. Infused with bourbon, rum or tequila, the batches are hand-crafted using responsibly sourced beans from the Mexican growing region of Chiapas. Best part? Guilt—and hangover—free. Get it: 1-pound bag, $20