Fire Dept. Coffee founder on mission to give back to first responders


A Rockford firefighter is making sure everyone stays wide awake as he’s turned a hobby for making coffee into a booming business.

When Luke Schneider isn’t making coffee at Fire Dept. Coffee, he’s fighting fires for the Rockford Fire Department.

“I started drinking coffee in the Navy, and then the fire service, because it’s a necessity to stay awake, working long hours,” Schneider said.

That’s why he launched Fire Dept. Coffee about 2 years ago. It has since blossomed into a booming business.

“We’re working on launching Fire Dept. Coffee charitable foundation and we want to focus on giving back to firefighters and first responders who’ve got injured on the job,” he said.

When Luke and his wife started brewing coffee as a hobby at home, they never imagined it would grow into a legitimate business. Even the national news recognized the Schneider’s for their mission to give back. 

“We really just dove in and started roasting and started learning about different coffee from different regions,” Schneider said.

Dave McWilliams is a retired fire captain from the Chicago suburbs. As soon as he tasted Fire Dept. Coffee, he knew he wanted to get on-board the venture.

“It’s unbelievable to see how fast it’s growing and we really almost can’t roast it fast enough,” McWilliams said. “It’s awesome and great to see we are getting more people here. It’s a great feeling, seeing it grow so much.”

The company’s small staff is now shipping thousands of pounds of coffee to anxious customers. Fire Dept. Coffee just started selling on Amazon.

“It’s freshly roasted. It’s blended. We perfected our blend over the years and it’s been tried and tested by the hardest working men and women in our nation,” Schneider said.

Schneider hopes to move out of the company’s current 20th Street location and into a bigger location soon. 

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