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.