You could say that this is one small step for Saratoga, and one giant leap for its coffee-loving masses. According to the locally founded Death Wish Coffee, the company will be sending their caffeinated wares into space on a June 28 mission aboard the SpaceX CRS-15, a NASA vehicle that makes supply missions, and is thrust into the cosmos aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. That vehicle will eventually dock with the International Space Station (ISS), where there will be six eager astronauts awaiting the shipment from Earth.
The man who gets credit for the world’s strongest promotion? Jeff Ayers, who co-hosts Death Wish’s “Fueled by Death Cast” podcast. On episode 18 of the podcast, Ayers and his co-host invited retired NASA astronaut and artist Nicole Stott on the show (she was the first-ever astronaut to paint in space, by the way), and after she noted that astronauts often get winded in space following spacewalks, Ayers suggested sending Death Wish Coffee to the astronauts aboard the ISS. (The coffee company boasts that it has the “world’s strongest coffee.”) “She thought it was a great idea, and she loves the coffee and wanted to share it with her friends and fellow astronauts,” Ayers tells me.
While Death Wish normally sells its coffee in one-pound bags or K-Cups, neither worked as a brewable or consumable option for the ISS’ occupants. That’s where NASA came into play. Stott hooked Death Wish up with the NASA Food Labs, and the two developed a freeze-dried version of their coffee, putting it “through all their normal battery of tests,” says Ayers. NASA then repackaged it in a special, space-ready drink pouch for its journey aboard the rocket to the ISS. “NASA Food Labs was absolutely the best to work with,” Ayers says. “I can’t thank them and everyone at NASA enough for working with us to make this whole thing a reality. It truly is a testament to this company—a small business that started in Saratoga and dared to dream big.”
Added Mike Brown, Death Wish Coffee’s founder, in a statement: “We couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the smoothness and strength of our coffee than by providing the crew aboard the International Space Station with an easy-to-make blend that will keep them on their feet, so to speak.”
Death Wish Coffee is available in supermarkets across Saratoga and the Capital Region, as well as in Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons and Shop Rite, among others.