We Tried Death Wish Coffee's New Gingerdead Coffee. Expect A Buzz, Just Not A Holly Jolly One

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

If the pitch-perfect 1988 classic Bruce Willis action movie "Die Hard" can be called a Christmas movie, then a coffee with what looks to be vomiting gingerbread skeletons emblazoned on its packaging can be a holiday coffee. That's our perspective on Gingerdead, the new blend of joe from the slightly twisted minds at the Death Wish Coffee Company. We say twisted in the best possible way, of course, because the brand's tongue-in-cheek attitude resonates as well with us, as does a mug of its wildly potent coffee, something that is more needed than ever during these most wonderful but busiest and often stressful times, AKA the winter holidays. 

But what makes this a winter holiday coffee blend beyond the macabre artwork? The spices, of course. We'll get into the specifics of the spice blend and how well it works in Gingerdead Cinnamon & Ginger Flavored Coffee soon enough. But first, do you ever wonder why we associate certain spices with the holidays? According to Smithsonian Magazine, one major reason dates all the way back to the times of the Crusades. Many Europeans who ventured to the Middle East in search of glory in holy combat developed a taste for spices like ginger and cinnamon and, on returning home, surviving Crusaders brought these spices with them, and the flavors became associated with the feasts held at religious holidays. Who knew the Crusades could have impacted the history of this spiced coffee? But enough history: Here's the taste test.

What's in Death Wish Coffee's Gingerdead blend?

As per standard operating procedure with Death Wish Coffee Co., there is an absurd amount of caffeine in this coffee. We'll have specifics to follow — just know it's significant. That caffeine comes thanks to carefully selected and blended Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. The former is generally seen as the milder and more nuanced type of coffee bean, while the latter has a more potent flavor (potent can be seen in the pejorative light by some — these beans do lead to a more bitter brew) and a lot more potency caffeine-wise.

Also present in Gingerdead coffee are spices, and in this case those spices are, per Death Wish Coffee's own self-reporting: "A festive mix of liquid ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and even more ginger." Liquid, sure, but artificial? Never. This is a company that prides itself on always using organic ingredients, so what you taste is a flavor profile created using the real deal. On that front, while you probably know where ginger comes from (it's the root from the Zingiber officinale plant, per Wisconsin Horticulture) and that cinnamon is from the cinnamon tree (properly the Cinnamomum verum, per Smithsonian Magazine), but hey, what's allspice? Allspice, it turns out, per Britannica, was once thought to be a kind of pepper, but is actually a dried berry sourced from an evergreen tree native to the Americas. Now you know.

How much does Death Wish Coffee's Gingerdead coffee cost?

Death Wish Coffee Co.'s coffee is on the pricey side when you compare it side-by-side with other brands. Let's establish a baseline of cost using a budget coffee brand and a middle-of-the-road choice. At last check, a 51-ounce drum of Folger's Classic Roast Coffee sells on Amazon for $31.48. Let's do some math and we'll find that means paying just under 62 cents per ounce of coffee. Next, consider a 28-ounce bag of Starbucks Pike Place Roast Coffee — that's currently $17.56 on Amazon, which means around 63 cents per ounce. Then pivot to Death Wish's Gingerdead coffee: right now, on the company's site, a 12-ounce bag is priced at $19.99. This works out to $1.66 per ounce, or 2.6 times more expensive than the other coffees

The good news is that the more Death With Gingerdead you buy, the less the price kills your pocketbook, to stick with the whole morbid theme. If you buy two bags of the stuff, it costs $36.99, so that's a savings of several dollars. And when you buy in real bulk and order five bags at once, the deal gets even sweeter, as a five-bag order costs $89.99 — it would be just under a hundred bucks at the $19.99 price. You can also order Gingerdead coffee in single-serve cups, and the prices vary by order size there, too. A 10-cup box costs $17.99, a 20-cup box is $34.99, and for 30, it's $47.99.

How long will Death Wish Coffee's Gingerdead blend be available?

This coffee is here for the holidays, and then it's gone. Maybe not forever, mind you — Death Wish Coffee has brought out limited-time coffees that sold out and went away without public plans for a return only to indeed come back later. That was the case with the company's Blue & Buried blend, for example, which was a coffee that came out in the early summer and was gone by autumn but then returned a bit later in the same year. Like with earlier limited releases, we can't tell you for exactly how long this Gingerdead blend of coffee will be available because Death Wish is not telling us. Per the company's site, "Gingerdead Coffee is only available for a limited time," so don't wait too long to buy it, because once supplies of the stuff run out, it might not be replenished — at least, not until next year's winter holidays, we are guessing.

And FYI, if you prefer to get your coffee from Amazon, right now, as of the time of this writing, Gingerdead is listed as "in stock" so there are no signs of a coming (spiced) coffee shortage yet. And also FYI, a 12-ounce bag of Gingerdead coffee sells for the same price on Amazon as it does on Death Wish Coffee Co.'s site, so no harm in shopping for it from the retail juggernaut.

How does Gingerdead compare to other Death Wish Coffee products?

So, in the most obvious way, Gingerdead coffee is just like all the other coffees from Death Wish Coffee Co. in that it's very, very strong. It's also quite comparable to the other coffees from Death Wish in that it's made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, as noted. Whereas so many coffee brands are outspoken about their 100% Arabica"coffee offerings, Death Wish is always out front with the fact that it uses both, and that means not only more strength, but also a similar flavor profile across its selection of products. Or at least a baseline of flavor profile — we'd use the words robust, roasted, and moderately bitter to describe Death Wish Coffees — the addition of spices makes Gingerdead quite distinct, as are many other flavored coffees Death Wish makes.

With Blue & Buried, the words (beyond robust, roasted, and moderately bitter) sweet, fruity, and, of course, blueberry came first to mind. The company's Pumpkin Chai blend has some of the same warm spice notes as Gingerdead, but still tastes very different. And of course, there is much more sweetness in the Gingerdead than the espresso blend or other non-flavored coffees from Death Wish. Long story short, this coffee fits the lineup: It tastes like a Death Wish coffee to be sure, but it's also very much a unique entrant to the fold.

What are the stats for Death Wish Coffee Co.'s Gingerdead coffee?

You know the spiel on this by now, right? Coffee is one of the foodstuffs that does not have to follow standard FDA's nutrition labeling rules, so we can't tell you anything specific about this coffee's nutrition information (via Registrar Corp). You can take it for granted that a single brewed cup of the stuff has almost no calories, no fat, no protein, no sugar, almost no sodium, no appreciable vitamins or minerals, or any of that sort of stuff — no wonder drinking black coffee doesn't ever fill you up, right? And in fact, quite the opposite: per Healthline, drinking coffee can increase your metabolic rate so you may burn more calories than usual even when at rest.

Anyway, while we can't share specifics on the nutrition here (what few there would be to share anyway), we can tell you that, per Death Wish Coffee's own reporting, there are 59 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce of the company's coffee when it is properly brewed. Assuming a standard six-ounce serving of coffee, that means 354 milligrams of caffeine per cup of Death Wish coffee. And for comparison, the company reports that, on average, most brewed coffees have 26 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, or 156 milligrams per cup. Death Wish is over twice as potent as regular drip coffee.

Did we enjoy Gingerdead coffee from Death Wish?

Yes, we enjoyed Death Wish Coffee's new Gingerdead Cinnamon & Ginger Flavored Coffee. Candidly, it's not our favorite Death Wish Coffee ever — that honor goes to Blue & Buried, a coffee that packs in so much flavor it would be sacrilege to adulterate it with cream, oat milk, sugar, or anything else. This coffee, Gingerdead, does indeed have a great spice profile and a subtle sweetness, but it tastes almost like something is a bit lacking; it's like a chef left out that last little sprinkle of salt that would have truly made their dish pop. And sure, you can compensate for the slight dearth of complexity here with cream, milk, nondairy creamer, and/or a sweetener of your choice, but we like our coffee black, so it was a bit of a letdown to feel this way.

Now, granted, other Death Wish Coffees have set a very high bar; perhaps if this our first foray into its offerings we'd have naught but good things to say. As it stands, being that this coffee does have a nice holiday spice profile — you can taste the cinnamon distinctly, and you can really smell the ginger — we'll be enjoying it this season but moving on to other cups of joe after ringing in the New Year. Last note on the caffeine, though: we are wide awake right now, and that is after a bad night of sleep. So that's a win.