Need an energy boost? Try coffee body spray

At $15 for 40 doses, this caffeine product is much cheaper than your daily Dunkin' Donuts latte

By Anya Kamenetz
Published August 20, 2013 8:35PM (EDT)
    (<a href=''>fantom_rd</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(fantom_rd via Shutterstock)

Caffeine is America's favorite drug, bar none. And while we've extolled the culinary and social aspects of coffee over the years, sometimes people don't have time for a leisurely cup of joe and just want a quick fix.

Today Ben Yu, 21, one of Peter Thiel's 20 Under 20 fellows, and his partner Deven Soni, have introduced a patent–pending form of caffeine that you spray directly on your skin. (This is not to be confused with Aeroshots, another novelty energy booster that is a powder you spray in your mouth.) The marketing materials claim that caffeine diffuses through your system more gradually through the skin than through drinking. Plus, at $15 for 40 doses, it's wayyy cheaper than Red Bull.

Yesterday morning, I tried it.

6:15 am: It's my morning to get up with my toddler daughter. She is super psyched to be alive as usual. I am moving a little more slowly.

9:20 am: I miss my morning coffee. Cold brew from Brooklyn roasters Oslo with milk and two packets of raw sugar. Instead I take the four–inch–long atomizer and deliver 4 sprays to the inside of my left wrist. The foamy liquid delivers no residue on the skin. I sniff––no aroma whatsoever, let alone a rich, roasty one. Sigh.

9:27 am: My eyes pop open like Betty Boop's.

9:43 am: Whoo–hoo! The rush is a little bit disconcerting. Despite the claims, it feels like I drank my coffee very, very quickly. The tiny bottle contains 40 doses, 160 sprays. It's recommended not to take more than 20 sprays in a day, but it would be pretty easy to overdose with such a small bottle, or if you just lose count.

10:06 am: I offer my office mate at the co–working space a couple of sprays, but he says no way.

11:04 am: I'm writing my third blog post of the day, feeling no more jittery or distracted than usual.

2:15 pm: I'm hitting the post–lunchtime slump. The little caffeine canister is sitting right there on the corner of my desk, and the free cans of Coke Zero are all the way downstairs. I take a little squirt to the back of the neck.

2:17 pm: Whoo!! Heart is beating fast.

4:49 pm: Well, I got through my day.

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. It's also worth remembering that there are growing health and legal concerns arising from products with huge amounts of caffeine.

On the other hand, the $40 billion energy products market might have room for a solution that delivers this kind of jolt this quickly, with an extra spray of novelty to boot.

Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz is NPR’s lead digital education reporter. She’s the author of two previous books, Generation Debt and DIY U.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Body Spray Caffeine Coffee Fast Company Inventions Peter Thiel