I don’t tend to spend time reviewing coffees that I don’t think I’ll like, but sometimes I’m sent coffees that I can’t ignore. Such was the case with Wake the Fuck Up Coffee, a coffee brand and concept, more than a particular coffee, that was created by the guys who also started the line of Melinda’s Hot Sauces. Food people? Yes. Coffee People. Probably not.
As much as I found the name a bit silly, I do admit that I found the video/commercial on the website a little funny. What I didn’t understand was why this coffee is supposed to be so good at waking you up. Does it have higher than normal caffeine levels as the label might imply? Is it a darker, stronger roast that hits you with a powerful flavor?
In corresponding with the PR firm promoting this product, I learned that WTFU coffee is a dark roasted, New Orleans-style coffee, which, as it turns out, means that this blend contains chicory. If you don’t know, chicory is a bitter relative of the endive family frequently added to and used to cut coffee. It has it’s loyal followers, but I tend to think of it as filler added to meat, or more aptly, coffee flavoring. Why add it if the coffee is good? I’m not the only person I know who finds it bitter and completely unappealing.
Interestingly, this crucial piece of information is conspicuously missing from the website and the packaging. If you dislike chicory coffee, you’d have no way of knowing that’s what you just bought. To add to my concerns, this coffee is pre-ground and nowhere can you find information about the coffee itself such as who roasted it, the roast date, or anything about the blend. (To the latter issue, I learned that the coffee consists of a blend of beans from Brazil).
Given that the coffee was pre-ground, I was left with few options in brewing it. I tried it as a pour over with a paper filter and found it pretty awful. The overwhelming taste is that of black pepper and pencil shavings. I tend to blame this mostly on the abundance of chicory. I’m thinking that despite being pre-ground, the coffee underneath, which I could get hints of after working past the chicory, may not be entirely bad. Chicory, especially this much, tends to obscure any real chance of tasting the coffee.
If you like chicory-heavy coffee, you may not want to completely rule this coffee out. If you do like it, though, it will be because you like chicory and not because you like coffee.