Based on the faulty premise that all caffeinated beverages taste bad and are a major inconvenience, two young Bay Area entrepreneurs have raised more than $23,000 to develop a spray-on caffeine product.
20 Under 20 Fellow Ben Yu and Deven Soni, with technical advice from Chongxi Yu, say a scientific breakthrough has allowed them a way to make caffeine more soluble, so it can better enter the bloodstream through the skin. The product is called Sprayable Energy, and they recommend “a couple of spritzes” any time one needs a boost. From Yu and Soni:
So what’s our great breakthrough? Well, it turns out caffeine isn’t very soluble in water, and so it’s difficult to transport enough caffeine in a spray to have a significant effect. After months of research, we discovered we could increase caffeine’s solubility five-fold by using a simple derivative of a naturally produced amino acid, tyrosine.
Naturally, this is an affront to the specialty coffee industry, and perhaps Yu and Soni haven’t yet tried great coffee. Here is their inspiration:
Caffeinated Products Currently Suck. They are too expensive, too inconvenient, too filled with calories and questionable ingredients, and in many cases taste terrible. You also have to buy them multiple times a day, store them at the right temperature, and in 20%+ of the population can cause nausea, headaches, and a feeling of being overly wired. We hated making all these unfair compromises and developed a solution.
To each his own. Anya Kamenetz, for one, gave Sprayable Energy a go. In a column for Fast Company, she wanted to see how the spray-on experience compared to her daily coffee routine. I suggest reading her full account of the day, but here’s a bit of her conclusion:
I can’t say that I’ll be converting to Sprayable Energy any time soon. It turns out I like the ritual, and the flavor and aroma, of coffee. And without these atmospherics, I feel too much like a caffeine addict jonesing for a fix.