Fire Dept. Coffee, a coffee brand launched by firefighters in 2016, recently debuted its ready-to-drink Nitro Cold Brew line in seven-ounce cans. Navy veteran, firefighter, and paramedic Luke Schneider with the Rockford Fire Department in Illinois started the company with the help of South Florida firefighter paramedic Jason Patton. After all, it’s coffee that helps keep first responders alert during long shifts, says Patton. The two were brought together by Patton’s hilarious YouTube videos, Fire Department Chronicles, parodying firefighters’ work to add comic relief to their challenging job. The company sells more than a dozen types of coffee freshly roasted at its Rockford roastery (whole bean or ground), including light to dark, espresso, single origin, flavored, and infused, with beans sourced around the globe. The Nitro Cold Brew comes in four varieties that contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and are best served chilled. One choice, ShellBack Espresso, is intense and has a bitter edge but is softer than regular espresso. The others are sweetened with 12 grams of sugar (about a tablespoon): Nitro Latte has skim milk and cream; two infused, Vanilla Bean Bourbon and Irish Coffee, are made with spirits — the alcohol is roasted out but bold flavors remain. As part of its mission, the company also donates a portion of profits to first responders and firefighters who have been emotionally or physically injured on the job. Ready-to-drink cans, a 4-pack with each variety, $15.99, are available at firedeptcoffee.com. Fire Dept. Coffee, ground, is also available on the website and at Star Market locations, $13.99 to $19.99 for 12 ounces.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND