The Starbucks Frappuccino-killer is finally here.
Soylent announced August 9 that it’s launching a coffee-flavored version of its popular meal-replacement milkshake. The bottled beverage, which will be called Coffiest, will be made with real coffee and contain all the nutritional goodness of its predecessor, plus 150 milligrams of caffeine.
A Soylent Bar is also coming down the pipeline — the newest form of the meal-replacement since the company released ready-to-drink bottles last August.
A quick Google search on “coffee Soylent” reveals that the addition of caffeine isn’t a revolutionary idea. There are dozens of threads on Reddit and forums on the Soylent website in which users share tips and tricks for combining the two drinks. The company took notice.
“I read the community posts all the time,” Rob Rhinehart, cofounder and CEO of Soylent, tells Business Insider. “Also, looking at my own life, I would drink my Soylent and I would pour coffee, and I thought, Why can’t I put them together?”
Rhinehart compares the taste of Coffiest to a dark, robust roast with a hint of cocoa.
In addition to caffeine, Coffiest adds another trending ingredient to the mix: L-theanine. It’s an amino acid found in green tea that’s purported to cancel out the jitteriness often associated with a caffeine buzz. There is only limited evidence that this turbocharged combo actually works, however.
Soylent fanatics — a group that, disclaimer, includes me — won’t be missing much if they switch to Coffiest as part of their morning routine. The drink meets 20% of the daily recommended values for all essential vitamins and minerals. It’s made from soy protein isolate, lab-made algae oil, and a host of ingredients I can’t pronounce.
Rhinehart says more Soylent flavours will also be released down the line.
Coffiest will most likely be a wildly better choice than the sugary, caffeinated beverages you can find at a gas station or convenience store. A bottled Starbucks Frappuccino Coffee Drink contains 32 grams of sugar (more than the World Health Organisation’d recommended daily intake for adults and children), whereas Coffiest contains 9 grams.
The forthcoming salted caramel-flavored Soylent Bar will have 250 calories and contain about one-eighth of an average adult’s recommended dietary needs. Rhinehart described it as a “robust snack” rather than a full meal.
“We see the drink as a full meal. Four-hundred calories is definitely going to fill you up. The bar fits into that by being very portable, light, and convenient,” he says.
Part of the appeal of Soylent, until now, has been its simplicity. You grab it from the fridge and know exactly what you’re getting — a milky, slightly sweet mixture that fills you with 20 grams of protein and 400 calories. It’s a one-size-fits-all alternative to any meal of the day.
Coffiest and the Soylent Bar introduce the first element of choice into the company’s product line. That might seem counterintuitive — why not make eating well a no-brainer, with no decisions involved? But Rhinehart says the expansion answers a call from customers who are craving variety over simplicity.
Just don’t expect Soylent to launch a variety pack anytime soon.
“We definitely want to keep our core of being simple, clean, consistent,” Rhinehart says. “We’re not going to have a huge inventory and hundreds of different options, but a little bit of variety will give users some choice and hopefully increase the usage.”