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Soylent Coffee: Nootropics, Fat, Carbs, Protein -- But Will It Give You The Toots? (arstechnica.com) 148

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Soylent has ventured in a new direction with its latest beverage: breakfast. Called Coffiest, the new offering has the same ingredient makeup, nutritional mix, and 47/33/20 percent fat/carb/protein calorie distribution as the 2.0 premixed version, but it also adds coffee flavoring, 150mg of caffeine per serving, and 75mg of the nootropic L-Theanine. According to Soylent founder Rob Rhinehart, a bottle of Coffiest supplies the drinker with about 400 kilocalories and about 20 percent of the daily recommended values for "all essential vitamins and minerals." "A lot of people are skipping breakfast," Rhinehart told Ars in a phone interview. "We wanted to provide a convenient and also really tasty option for them to enjoy in the morning." Additionally, the company will also be releasing a nutrition bar, called the Soylent Bar. This one will deliver 250 kilocalories per bar, and has a macronutrient breakdown of 38/43/19 percent fat/carb/protein. "Coffee flavor is extremely complex," Rhinehart told Ars. "The direction I gave was a little bit of a more darker, richer roast it's a little darker coffee. A little bit of cocoa powder, just a barely perceptible amount, but it rounds out the flavor nicely." "It was a huge challenge to develop a coffee flavor that would survive processing," he continued. "You can't take any risks with health or safety, so we have to eliminate any sources of contamination from the product and that involves heat. So we had some great food scientists and flavor scientists work out a flavor system that combines natural coffee extracts with an artificial flavor system. And it turned out pretty great." As for the toots, neither Coffiest nor the Soylent Bar will cause consumers to erupt with "horse-killing farts," a complaint made by many of Soylent's customers as well as Ars Technica writer Lee Hutchinson. For those interested in Soylent's latest concoction, Coffiest is available for purchase today at the Soylent site for about $40 for a pack of 12 servings (or $37.05 with a recurring subscription). The Soylent Bar will launch later for about $2 per bar. You can view Coffiest's nutrition facts here.
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Soylent Coffee: Nootropics, Fat, Carbs, Protein -- But Will It Give You The Toots?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The obvious SF reference: is it green?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess he came up with Coffiest, a hilarious product in a hilariously dark novel...

    • by cbelt3 ( 741637 ) <cbelt@yaho o . com> on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @08:26AM (#52677139) Journal

      Right. And these idiots used the name of a completely addictive beverage that, once hooked, condemns the drinker to a lifetime of consumerism ? I've heard of tongue in cheek, but jeez... why not just name it Liquid Heroin and be done with it ?

      ""...here's what makes this campaign great in my estimation - each sample of Coffiest contains three milligrams of a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it's simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest - three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar.""

      • by chthon ( 580889 )
        So, yeah, how long until they come up with "Soylent Green"?
      • Given that their original product also uses a science fiction reference that would be seen as negative were it not being used ironically, it's not surprising that they named the new one Coffiest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @08:06AM (#52677039)

    I won't buy Soylent's products because of the tiny, tiny chance that the company is run by psychopaths who thought "I've got a cool idea - let's make food products out of rendered fat from cadavers ... and just for the icing on the cake, we'll call it 'Soylent' - because it would be a hip joke and no one would ever believe we'd *really* do it."

  • This sounds interesting, but what about the growing number of people are allergic to Soy? They sure could not consume this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      This sounds interesting, but what about the growing number of people are allergic to Soy? They sure could not consume this.

      I can't digest soy, and I make sure to bring that up every chance I get, but the answer for people who are allergic to soy is the same as every other food: eat something else. HTH, HAND.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > I can't digest soy, and I make sure to bring that up every chance I get,

        if you want to stop bringing it up, then stop trying to eat it.

    • Soy shouldn't really be eaten by middle aged and older men. It messes your testosterone up.

      • There is not much actual soy in Soylent.

        It is a protein extract, so one of the hormone precursors that cause the hormone issues.

        Not that middle aged or older men really have much testosterone anyway.

    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:54AM (#52677613)

      This sounds interesting, but what about the growing number of people are allergic to Soy?

      They can eat people instead.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's my migraine trigger and that sucks!

    • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

      Because it makes things taste better, and is harmless in the vast majority of people ? And chances are, it's not the cocoa per se, but the theobromine in the cocoa. . .

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't his original thing on soylent that he didn't care about taste and had no interest in food? Why is "getting the flavor right" now suddenly important. Surely the whole point of his venture is perverted by making something taste like coffee rather than fish oil and whatever the hell else goes into it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because they already cracked the nut of being nutritionally complete? They can move onto further refinements. They're running a business, not some weak open source project that gets to "good enough" and then everyone walks away leaving it to stagnate so some other commercial offering can pop up based on the same project..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No thanks. I'm an old programmer. Three cups of coffee and a cigarette are all the breakfast I need !

  • well (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @08:26AM (#52677145)

    "horse-killing farts" is a rather loose standard. I'm thinking "cubicle clearing fart" would be more useful.

    • Agreed. As a city-boy, I've never been in a position to kill horses. I have, however, cleared my share of cubicals.

  • Farts? As reported by Arse Technica writer Lee Hutchinson...
  • But we are inside The Matrix, we deserve well cooked beef piece...!
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @08:42AM (#52677223) Homepage
    I dont mind meal replacements. there are several used institutionally and in hospitals that never get this much publicity but have been around for years. My biggest concern however is our growing dependence upon multinational and branded consumer food companies to provide replacements for basic food staples. most americans already rely implicitly on betty crocker and stouffers to fill in the blanks of their culinary Repertoire. For the past 20 years most thanksgivings in america have been an olympic feast of multibillion dollar corporate sponsored brands of pre-cooked, processed foods that emerge at the supermarket shelf unaccountably and ubiquitously.

    Will the soylent generation know how to steam rice, or properly cook poultry? could they prepare porridge or vegetables, or even remember how to cook dry beans? Does soylent foster an even greater social divide in the 21st century by short-circuiting the social past-time of cooking and eating together? how will this generation cope when there is no soylent?
    • Will the soylent generation know how to steam rice, or properly cook poultry? could they prepare porridge or vegetables, or even remember how to cook dry beans?

      I got to break it to you, statistically everyone has been doing this wrong for ever. They soak the beans, which is stupid, and they don't use a haybox cooker, which is even more stupid if you're not using a pressure cooker. But you're right, nobody knows how to cook any more. I've been the better cook in the majority of my relationships, which was very sad up until this one; I'm with a chef now and my cooking game has really improved over the last decade.

    • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:10AM (#52677395) Homepage

      I dont mind meal replacements. there are several used institutionally and in hospitals that never get this much publicity but have been around for years. My biggest concern however is our growing dependence upon multinational and branded consumer food companies to provide replacements for basic food staples. most americans already rely implicitly on betty crocker and stouffers to fill in the blanks of their culinary Repertoire. For the past 20 years most thanksgivings in america have been an olympic feast of multibillion dollar corporate sponsored brands of pre-cooked, processed foods that emerge at the supermarket shelf unaccountably and ubiquitously. Will the soylent generation know how to steam rice, or properly cook poultry? could they prepare porridge or vegetables, or even remember how to cook dry beans? Does soylent foster an even greater social divide in the 21st century by short-circuiting the social past-time of cooking and eating together? how will this generation cope when there is no soylent?

      Almost no one can start a fire with a flint nor build a workable bow or arrow tips anymore. Almost now one knows how weave their own fabric, nor preserve meats with salt, beneficial molds, fermentation or smoking. Almost no one can make antiseptics out of urine, bile and herbs.

      And you know what, we are fine. Unless we are waiting for an asteroid strike, the zombie apocalypse or some other shit that collapses human civilization, we will be fine.

      • Almost no one can start a fire with a flint nor build a workable bow or arrow tips anymore. Almost now one knows how weave their own fabric, nor preserve meats with salt, beneficial molds, fermentation or smoking. Almost no one can make antiseptics out of urine, bile and herbs.

        And you know what, we are fine.

        Well, yeah, "we are fine," except we have an unprecedented obesity epidemic which has significant social, economic, and environmental costs.

        Don't get me wrong: I'm not some "natural foods" nutter. On the other hand, we are in fact literally "what we eat." Our bodies gain nutrition and rebuild themselves from the food we eat.

        I'm NOT blaming the obesity epidemic just on "processed foods," though it's hard to believe that there aren't SOME aspects of them which contribute to it. Processed foods are ofte

      • And you know what, we are fine. Unless we are waiting for an asteroid strike, the zombie apocalypse or some other shit that collapses human civilization, we will be fine.

        As a child, I wondered why the average person did not know this stuff. It forces us to be dependent on others if we do not know it... as an adult, it seems like a conspiracy. How can you be free if you are ultimately dependent on society for your survival?

        Don't get me wrong, I think the benefits that society brings are extremely useful and desirable; however, I should have the ability to say, "fuck off" without dying.

    • If I don't know how to cook something I can find a step-by-step video or article telling me exactly how. Thanks to the internet, this knowledge isn't lost forever even if the required skills are a bit rusty. If this generation isn't cooking, I think it's more because they don't want to, not because they can't.
      • If I don't know how to cook something I can find a step-by-step video or article telling me exactly how. Thanks to the internet, this knowledge isn't lost forever even if the required skills are a bit rusty. If this generation isn't cooking, I think it's more because they don't want to, not because they can't.

        While I agree with your sentiment in general, I also think we've seen a marked decrease in the value of learned and practiced skills in the past decade or so, particularly with the growth of the internet.

        There's this sense that "I can always just look up X online" which leads us to think anything is possible, just a click away. On the other hand, a lot of stuff benefits from practice over time. I have a science background and know all sorts of stuff about how important measuring with care is, and precis

    • by Hodr ( 219920 )

      My grandmother used to say "Betty Crocker didn't spend a million dollars developing a cake mix that makes shit cakes". I think her point was that it's easy and good enough, so why bother doing it "from scratch".

      • My grandmother used to say "Betty Crocker didn't spend a million dollars developing a cake mix that makes shit cakes". I think her point was that it's easy and good enough, so why bother doing it "from scratch".

        I guess it depends on what your standards for "good enough" are. Cake mixes are fine if you like what they taste like -- they tend to have a few distinctive textures (depending on type and flavor). But there's only so much you can do with a mix that you dump together in two steps and just add eggs and water (maybe oil). There are certain textures you can only get from creaming together butter and sugar for several minutes. There are certain textures you can only get by slowly adding eggs one-at-a-time w

    • My biggest concern however is our growing dependence upon multinational and branded consumer food companies to provide replacements

      FWIW, Soylent is Open Source:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Coming from personal experience, it depends on the parents. If they value cooking and eating as a family, so will the kid. If they value McDonalds, so will the kid.

      I always had meals with my folks and they taught me how to cook early on. "If you like to eat, you need to learn to cook."

      Later on in bachelor life I started having Soylent as a cheap breakfast substitute. Partially since it's fast and easy, partially since I can make it in a blender and have a weeks worth of breakfast, and since cereal or
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      The whole concept of branding is to create intangible value. It's profitable because the marginal cost to the vendor is zero, but you the consumer pay a premium in cold hard cash for what objectively speaking is nothing.

      I never buy anything that claims to have a "proprietary formula", because that's exactly the same kind of intangible value ploy. "Proprietary" and "evidence-based" are mutually exclusive adjectives. Anything with a sound foundation in science can be reproduced by anyone with access to sc


  • Seriously, why the heck would you ever bother with this?

    Nutrition is partly about Macro nutrients and A LOT about micro nutrients. This shit has virtually no micro nutrients. You can survive on bread and water only as well but it's not healthy.

    The elephant in the room is the source of protein, soy. Soy LOWERS your testosterone levels. It directly impacts testosterone in men why the fuck would a man want to consume this shit?

    Here's a fast healthy breakfast; whole grain bread, sunny-side up egg, slice o
    • -wanna lose wait?

      Get busy?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I am sorry but in no world is a piece of toast a single egg and then a single slice of tomato going to be enough food for breakfast. I get it, its probably healthier, I get it you need to consume less then your output if you want to loose weight, but my lunch is at 1 in the afternoon. a piece of bread, an egg and just a slice of tomato isn't enough food for a 8 year old.

      You turn away alot of people who need to eat healthier when you absolutely minimize the portion sizes to minuscule proportions.
      1 slice of

      • I am sorry but in no world is a piece of toast a single egg and then a single slice of tomato going to be enough food for breakfast. I get it, its probably healthier, I get it you need to consume less then your output if you want to loose weight, but my lunch is at 1 in the afternoon. a piece of bread, an egg and just a slice of tomato isn't enough food for a 8 year old.

        You turn away alot of people who need to eat healthier when you absolutely minimize the portion sizes to minuscule proportions. 1 slice of whole grained bread, toasted: 65 calories 1 egg, fried: 92 calories 1 (thick) slice of tomato: 5 calories.

        162 calories is NOT ENOUGH FOR BREAKFAST. Eating a breakfast like that will guarentee snacking later, which defeats the point. Source: http://www.thecaloriecounter.c... [thecaloriecounter.com]

        And that is why you add rashers, mushrooms, potato cakes, beans, coffee and OJ for a full English Breakfast!

  • Soy Protein = Avoid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:05AM (#52677361)

    As a once in a blue moon thing to eat/drink, these Soylent products are alright. However, I drink a cup of coffee every day. I shudder to think what the estrogenic effects of consuming vast amounts of soy protein daily are. Not to mention the other terrible ingredients listed in there. Maltodextrin is a simple sugar. Why not use a sugar like turbinado?

    You'd be better off getting a casein/whey protein shake and mixing it with fruit, some nut butter (hehe), and some fibrous substance like psyllium as a meal replacement drink. Sure it's not vegan or lactose tolerant, but who really cares what vegans feel.

    I'll pass on this.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      As a once in a blue moon thing to eat/drink, these Soylent products are alright. However, I drink a cup of coffee every day. I shudder to think what the estrogenic effects of consuming vast amounts of soy protein daily are.

      If only we had some control population where consumption of soy products of different kinds are common so that we could see short and long term effects ... Oh, we have! Soy use is ancient.

      Not to mention the other terrible ingredients listed in there. Maltodextrin is a simple sugar. Why not use a sugar like turbinado?

      You mean "dirty" simple sugars are better than "clean" ones? Are you one of those "raw" fanatics?

      You'd be better off getting a casein/whey protein shake and mixing it with fruit, some nut butter (hehe), and some fibrous substance like psyllium as a meal replacement drink. Sure it's not vegan or lactose tolerant, but who really cares what vegans feel.

      I'll pass on this.

      Citation needed! Why would that be better?

  • by clifwlkr ( 614327 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:06AM (#52677367)
    I mean really, we aren't that far off from it when we start eating this kind of heavily processed food. Why not just mix this stuff into solids and throw it in a bag and eat it out of a bowl?

    It is not that hard to cook simple meals. Heck, cook up a big pot of something on one day, and eat leftovers if you are short on time. At least you know what is in it, and it is going to be much, much cheaper. I just cooked up a big pot of Himalayan bahl dat (lentils) and some spiced rice last night and I would be surprised if it took me 15 minutes of effort. I now have a healthy breakfast (this is actually what the Himalayans eat) for the week that costs me about 3 dollars. Throw a piece of chicken on the grill. How long does that take?

    I am really surprised this kind of over processed food is even slightly popular in this day and age.
  • As Paul Erdos [britannica.com] said: "A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems".
    I wonder what would come out after drinking Coffiest...
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:13AM (#52677407)
    and then cigarettes that make me drink more Coffiest which in turn makes me drink more Popsi and the Cycle of Consumption completes (doesn't anyone get the reference? am I just too old?)
  • by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @09:22AM (#52677447)
    Gotta love them using the name Coffiest. It's a name from a Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth science fiction book that lampooned marketing and consumers, "The Space Merchants". Here's a quote... "...here's what makes this campaign great in my estimation - each sample of Coffiest contains three milligrams of a simple alkaloid. Nothing harmful. But definitely habit-forming. After ten weeks the customer is hooked for life. It would cost him at least five thousand dollars for a cure, so it's simpler for him to go right on drinking Coffiest - three cups with every meal and a pot beside his bed at night, just as it says on the jar."
  • Soylent, bringing specious scientific claims to nerds, because over-priced nutritional supplements aren't just for ignorant mouth-breathers anymore!

    Buy your own protein powder and caffeine. Add some l-theanine if you want, whatever.

    The last group of people who had food powder marketed to them so they could be more efficient for their overlords was housewives in the 1950s, and you don't have to be a feminist to see how fucking terrible their lives were.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 )
    Just the thing to wash down my Soylent Green.
  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2016 @10:03AM (#52677657)

    I understand that this has proteins and is somewhat balanced but really, adult humans shouldn't be drinking ANY digestible carbs. Carbs should come from solid food, preferably in complex form.

    Digestible carbs from liquids are handled differently in the body than they are in solid form, they are more readily available for breakdown and digestion. The occasional fruit juice or milk isn't going to kill you, but make a habit of drinking carbs every day (such as this breakfast drink) and you could be harming your kidneys.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      I understand that this has proteins and is somewhat balanced but really, adult humans shouldn't be drinking ANY digestible carbs. Carbs should come from solid food, preferably in complex form.

      Digestible carbs from liquids are handled differently in the body than they are in solid form, they are more readily available for breakdown and digestion. The occasional fruit juice or milk isn't going to kill you, but make a habit of drinking carbs every day (such as this breakfast drink) and you could be harming your kidneys.

      Is it amateur night or what? Consumption of too much sugars can harm ones kidneys - but only if one first get diabetes and even then it is indirect (capillaries getting plugged due to high levels of blood sugar, kidneys eyes etc. are sensitive to such damage). A healthy adult would have no problem as long as they eat/drink enough but not exaggerate (-> diabetes).

  • This sounds like a gut-bomb.

  • I prefer food. I'm not a meat-and-potatoes man, mind you, but I'd definitely take a rare steak, baked potato and cup of freshly-ground Columbian Supremo over this. Or tea if there were compelling data that theanine was really all that useful. A salmon steak and a cup of tea is actually a typical lunch for me.

    The words "proprietary blend" smack of branding. The advantage is bound to be the placebo effect, for which they hope to charge me a premium. If there is empirical evidence you can point to on Googl

  • Did I miss something there ? Have they changed what a calorie is ? Last I checked the recommended daily intake of calories was 1800 or so. 400 kilocalories would be well over 200 day's worth.
    • That comment in the original article made me chuckle. Although it is technically correct and OK to use the term kilocalorie for food measurements, everyone in the world shortens it to "Calorie". But using the correct official term makes things sound more scientific-y and awesome-nerd.

      https://www.nutrition.gov/what... [nutrition.gov]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        I don't and the food industry doesn't. If anybody would do a write-up on anything listing nutritional values and use "calorie" instead of "kcal" etc. I would think they didn't know what they were doing.

    • by snax ( 160434 )

      Food label Calories, and the ones in the daily recommendations, are in fact kcals.

  • Their “coffee” is only using half the recommended L-theanine to caffeine ratio [examine.com] for increasing focus without causing jitters. At such a low L-theanine dose it seems like it’s just thrown so they can hit the “nootropics” marketing checkbox, and makes me question their other claims of meeting daily values for “all essential vitamins and minerals”.
  • Are you five years old? Use real words if you want to be taken seriously.

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