Eat Your Coffee

There’s big business in caffeinating people, but it doesn’t have to be in a cup. Caffeine-infused peanut butter, toothpaste, and jerky can all give you an equal buzz.

December 30, 2015

Most people’s morning routines involve brushing their teeth and chugging a cup of coffee. But that second step can be skipped with the launch of Power Toothpaste, a caffeine-infused peppermint toothpaste that gives you a full coffee hit in one foamy mouthful.

We love coffee because of its effects on our body: energy, alertness, and focus. 54% of Americans aged 18-54 drink a cup every single day. Sure, it’s been linked to headaches and cancer risks, but for every scaremongering study you’ll find one telling you that it can lower depression and prevent type 2 diabetes.

But why limit ourselves to liquid java? This might not be a question you’ve considered, but enough entrepreneurs have, which is why we now have so many caffeine-infused products available today, all able to give us that energy hit with a couple of bites. Hey, why shouldn’t you eat your energy?

I’ve rounded up some of the best treats available to keep you hyper all day. For reference, an average cuppa joe has 100mg of caffeine. The FDA suggests that 400mg a day is the maximum an adult should have.

Power Toothpaste

WHAT IS IT?

A peppermint toothpaste that promises a morning boost per brush. Price TBD.

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

Approximately 106mg of caffeine per milliliter of toothpaste (a brush load)

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a brand new company, created with a Silicon Valley-esque vibe. It’s founded by twenty-something entrepreneur Dan Meropol and his toothpaste description reads like a pitch on Product Hunt.

”We treat toothpaste with the spirit of innovation seen much more commonly in Silicon Valley and far too rarely in the corporate behemoths of personal care. Toothpaste is a technology product that helps people clean and care for their teeth… but we believe a toothpaste can and should do more. With Power Toothpaste, you get a rush while you brush.”

That aside, the product has a number of things going for it. Coffee takes a while to absorb into your system, but your gums process it quickly, getting you to that wide-eyed alert stage while you’re brushing.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

The toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, as this would require certification from the FDA. As it stands, it’s classified as a cosmetic product. The coffee “high” might hit you quicker, but it also ends sooner, so you’ll need to replenish during the day. They also don’t list the caffeine amounts on their website — you have to inquire for clarification, and I don’t appreciate that. They’re starting an Indiegogo campaign in January.

STEEM Peanut Butter

steem coffee peanut butter

WHAT IS IT?

Peanut butter that will give you a buzz. $5.99 from STEEM.

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

1200mg per jar, 150mg per serving

THE LOWDOWN:

STEEM was launched in Massachusetts in 2014. The inspiration was finding the perfect hangover cure. Since launch, the STEEM team has worked hard to develop an outreach program and gain media coverage for the brand.

The product is made using natural peanut butter and the goal is to create a caffeine-packed protein boost, a good addition to any diet. STEEM says the caffeine is released slowly because peanut butter takes longer to digest than coffee. “It’s a time-saver; your two favorite products in one jar,” STEEM co-founder Chris Pettazzoni told the Boston Herald.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

It’s 210 calories for two tablespoons – an average amount of peanut butter. But if you need a couple of cups a day, this might start showing on your waistline. And they’ve recently tangled with the FDA, who sent them a letter in December 2015 asking for clarification.

“The FDA is concerned about the marketing of a peanut butter, a food popular with many children, containing added caffeine. The company has indicated in recent media reports its desire to behave responsibly, but has not submitted to the FDA any information about the safety of its use of caffeine in its peanut butter product.”

Get Up and Go’s Caffeinated Cookie

WHAT IS IT?

A cookie that you don’t want to dunk in your coffee. $20 for 30

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

180mg per cookie (half a cookie is one serving)

THE LOWDOWN:

“Why sacrifice taste for energy? We make Energy Delicious. That’s why we make caffeinated baked goods. Each is equivalent to an energy shot, or a cup of coffee. There’s no coffee taste, except in our espresso products,” said Chris Bogdan, who started his caffeinated cookie company in 2012. He sells cookies, brownies, and granola bars, all with a healthy dose of caffeine.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

It’s hard to eat half a cookie, so you might end up extra buzzed by mistake.

Bang!! Caffeinated Ice Cream

bang caffeine ice cream

WHAT IS IT?

Available in single serving tubs and quarts, Bang!! Ice Cream promises 3.6oz of caffeine per serving — a scoop equals around 125mg of caffeine. Remember, an average cup of coffee has 100mg. The ice cream is available in four flavors: Cooky-Mint, Iced Latte-Da, Peanut Butta and Heaps of Gold. Bonus news: it’s kosher!

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

125mg per scoop

THE LOWDOWN:

Bang!! Caffeinated Ice Cream was founded in 2011 in Wisconsin to help people get that extra boost with their sweets. No sugar coma when you’ve just had your daily coffee, right?

“Shortly after finishing off the pint, I got a good boost lasting about 2 hours. I felt alert and focused, not a sugary boost or jittery,” wrote Ted Kallymer on Caffeine Informer.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

For the time being, unless you live in one of the six states they supply, you’ll have to enjoy ice cream without an added boost. You can check locations here. And the ice cream is high in fat, at 17 grams per quart.

Death Wish Coffee

deathcoffee

WHAT IS IT?

The strongest coffee in the world – a cup will last you all day. $19.99 a pound

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

660mg per 12oz cup

THE LOWDOWN:

Their big selling point is “having 200% more caffeine than any other brand.” They make it using premium beans with notes of cherries and chocolate, and have created something of a cult following since their launch in 2013.

ANY DOWNSIDES?

You’re going to have to drink it, so if you were wanting a food replacement you’re out of luck. Also, the 660mg amount is a little worrisome. “Case reports have shown toxicity at about 700mg,” Dr. John Spangler told ABC.

Lightning Rod Energy Beef Stick

jerkystick

WHAT IS IT?

A beef jerky stick infused with caffeine. $3.99 for three

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE?

60mg per stick

THE LOWDOWN:

The enhanced jerky was created by Power Hungry Foods in Minnesota, and today’s product took two years of research and 30+ recipes. “We tried 20 different ingredients,” said Rody Hawkins, founder of RDI Foods, a product development consultancy that helped create Lightning Rods. “We finally found two, ginseng and guarana, that had the properties we wanted and also made a nice-flavored product.”

Once the recipe was confirmed, Hawkins had to get it USDA approved. “It was an interesting process,” he said. “We had to go to them several times to explain what we were doing and how. They were originally going to reject it out of hand – they wouldn’t approve the word ‘energy’ for a label. We asked about ‘synergy,’ which means things working together, and eventually that was approved.”

ANY DOWNSIDES?

Lightning Rods used to have a few competitors in the market, but they’ve all removed the caffeine from the jerky. Perky Jerky, a $15 million company, launched in 2009 with a caffeinated jerky product, but in 2014 they removed the caffeine as the USDA requirements were too convoluted. Lightning Rods Jerky is approved for now, but this is something it will have to keep contending with.

The future of coffee/food mashups

“Coffee has a lot of health benefits,” Professor Miriam Nelson told the Washington Post. “Specifically when you’re drinking more than a couple cups per day.” And it’s often easier to eat than drink, so we could see serious lifestyle improvements by eating our coffee.

But the FDA has started paying attention to these new coffee products, and their supervision could put small companies out of business. Especially people who can’t afford the (understandably) rigorous checks they require. But the end result should bring more options for consumers.

In the future, we can all chow down on chocolate chip coffee cookies and know that we’re looking out for our health. Kind of.


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Zara StoneZara Stone // The Hustle
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