If you attended the 2022 NASA Championships at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, you might have awakened to the smell of a fresh batch of Daredevil Coffee. If you didn’t attend, you can still get fresh bags of Daredevil’s Corkscrew, a special blend named after one of the most famous racetrack turns in the world.
When it sells out, you can still purchase or place a subscription-based order to any of Daredevil Coffee’s products, which include a barbecue coffee dry rub, decaf options, hot cocoa and coffee blends barrel-aged in bourbon and mescal barrels. There are also other kinds of roasted coffee available as whole beans or ground.
If you’re not sure you why you would order your coffee from Colorado, consider this. Daredevil Coffee supports the automotive and motorsports communities. It puts its money where its beans are, so to speak.
“It was kind of by design. You know, as car guys, you just kind of naturally gravitate to trying to find a way to incorporate what you’re doing on your day-to-day business to support your passion,” said Matthew Bonno, who owns Monte Cervino winery with his wife Katelyn Murray, who launched Daredevil Coffee last year.
The couple met in high school, then attended the University of West Florida and moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., to start Monte Cervino winery, which began by making ciders and red wine. The company made its first inroad into motorsports by supplying the sparkling white wine used for podium ceremonies. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb was the first racing organization to spray Monte Cervino on its podium ceremonies. It was also the official sparkling wine of the 2022 NASA Championships.
When they decided to go into the coffee business, motorsports was always a big part of their plan. Rather than having a car meet at local coffee shop, Daredevil seeks to foster meets at local automotive businesses, racetracks and car dealerships. The company has a Sprinter van with everything they need to brew coffee on site, often free of charge, so that the people interested in cars can connect with people in businesses related to cars and racing.
“It really was kind of a needed thing that a lot of people didn’t realize was needed,” Bonno said. “But it was just a great fit. If you’re an automotive dealership or whatever, now you have 50 cars, dedicated customers and you have their attention and vice versa. They get to meet the owner of the business and, and decide if that’s someone they want to do business with. So it was a really good fit.”
Stationed in Colorado, the van has traveled to events as far away as California and even to events on the East Coast. Naturally, the Daredevil van does a lot of events local to them, including Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Bandimere Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway.
“If you’ve been to Pikes Peak before, you know it’s early in the morning and it almost always is cold first thing in the morning on the mountain,” Bonno said. “So when we launched last year, it was our first major event. We were up on the mountain, and it was like the perfect coffee weather. And man, we got our butts kicked. I mean, we had a line of 40 people the entire day.”
In terms of business infrastructure, wine and coffee really aren’t that far apart. They already had the packaging equipment and the tanks. They just needed to add the roaster, and kick-start the brand.
“Monte Cervino was already in the beverage industry, so it really allowed that transition to happen organically, which is really one of the big reasons why we were so eager to launch Daredevil so quickly, because we had pretty much everything that we needed right here in the facility,” Murray said. “So, it was quite fortunate that we aligned all of our needs and passions and business. All of this kind of came together with Daredevil.”
Murray has long been interested in coffee, ever since she was sneaking cups of coffee at age 10. A passionate student of the bean, how it’s grown and roasted and the flavor profiles that result, Murray does all the roasting and tasting in house.
“So it kind of starts, of course, with the bean,” she said. “There are several different species of coffee beans, and depending on what you’d like the end product to be, whether that’s dark, robust, bitter, earthy, or light fruity and floral, you can kind of pick and choose whichever starting point you’d like.
“For our process, we like to keep the beans and the roasting process as natural as possible,” Murray added. “We roast for however long, whatever blend we’re doing at that point, whether it’s a light to medium, medium to dark. We have different processes for all of those. Then it’s roasted, it’s rested, and then we start packaging. We really want to make sure to capture that freshness, because I think that’s one of our biggest draws. I think it has such a tremendous impact on the end result in your coffee cup, how fresh that coffee is. As soon as we can get it into the bags, we want to get it into the bags and out to our consumers. So that’s really a big focus of ours, that freshness.
“Because then you get all of those really great notes and it’s a tremendous difference between just going out and grabbing a bag from whatever your grocery store is,” she added.
Daredevil Coffee makes financial donations to nonprofits that support automotive history preservation, or use cars as a way to do good, like giving a ride in a supercar to a terminally ill child.
Daredevil Coffee also has a pretty decent collection of cars in its headquarters, including a Ford F-150 Raptor, a 1990 Acura Integra with a B18C3 engine, an E30 time attack car, an R53 Mini, C6 Corvette, the 1929 Model A that was on display at the 2022 NASA Championships and a Holden-based Chevrolet PPV used for land speed racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Bonno hit 151 mph in the car at a past event.
In addition to raising money for scholarships for high school graduates who want to learn a skilled trade, Daredevil also has created a fund for small business entrepreneurs who want to bring back American manufacturing.
A woman-owned business, Daredevil Coffee recently launched the Women of Motorsport Award, which Daredevil hopes to use to promote women in motorsports among the businesses, racetracks and racing organizations it partners with.
“Daredevil, it’s in that growing stage, so we just want to connect first, and we found that those rides and coffee events really do it. And then we just try to push people to online sales,” Bonno said. “We’re giving out coupon codes and we’re directing people to the site. When they get back home and, and they’ve offloaded their hauler and settled back in and, you know, they can go online and order our coffee. So, right now we’re just trying to put boots on the ground and do as many events as we can and really just grow the business and connect with the community.”
Prices vary, but you can find all Daredevil Coffee’s products on its website. Use your NASA code “drivenasacoffee” to get exclusive member discount on all Daredevil Coffee products.