Raven’s Brew Coffee® Stories—The Deadman's Reach® Coffee Chronicle
“I never thought death would be like this”, Allen thought to himself as he swung his feet out of his body. “It’s like watching a cheap TV with bad reception, only I can still smell the coffee.”
The coffee in question is of course Raven’s Brew’s cult classic, Deadman’s Reach coffee, and the excerpt above comes from John Straley’s “A Dark Story for Coffee Enthusiasts”, a 1997 novella released two chapters at a time to accompany bags of Deadman’s Reach coffee sold from December 1997 to May 1998.
The evocative name and dark history of a shoal beyond the equally ominous Peril Strait had fascinated Raven’s Brew Coffee founder Michael Beech since before he began the company. Thinking it was a great name for an Alaskan coffee, Beech and the Raven’s Brew team were inspired to design this special high-speed blend that when, “Served in Bed, Raises the Dead™”. The smooth, flavorful coffee with a caffeinated kick, expressive name, and skeletal logo artwork created by Ray Troll launched the blend into imaginations and coffee pots across the country.
A caffeine-fueled evening conversation between Beech, Troll and Straley began the novella project, which evolved to include a bag redesign with Troll’s logo art sitting over a nautical map with winks like “Ray’s Trolling Grounds”, “Michael’s Beach” and “Straley Reef”. Look closely and you will still find these on your bag of Deadman’s Reach coffee today!
With the story in tow, the Raven’s Brew team brought Deadman’s Reach coffee to the Northwest Book Fair in Seattle in 1997 as well as other mystery-writers' conventions to promote a winning combination: great coffee and a great read. As much as the project was a sales strategy (and a successful one!), it was a chance for the team to do something fun and original, and to get noticed outside of their home state. The sense of story and personality behind Raven’s Brew blends is something we value highly to this day.
More than 20 years since this unique plan, Deadman’s Reach coffee continues to be a Raven’s Brew bestseller. The original High-Speed blend is for when nothing but a strong cup of naturally high-caffeine coffee will do: Jump-starting the morning, cramming for exams, graveyard shifts, deadlines and inspiring great ideas. We confidently assert this coffee as “amazing no matter how it’s brewed”: a rich crema and sweet bite as espresso, a full body and smooth finish as drip, rich notes of dark, bittersweet chocolate as cold brew. As Straley, expressively, puts it: