Packaged coffee drinks usually come in two forms. It is either a drink which resembles coffee, but is actually a mix of oils, non-dairy coffee creamer, instant coffee and a mound of sugar, or it’s a specialty coffee drink brewed cold (toddy-style) and concentrated to a point where it is hard to drink right out of the bottle. Both of which have some real tasty drinks, but until now that was about all there was. Now there is a third, and quite delicious, option. Black Medicine is a small batch craft brewed hot process coffee – something more akin to a micro-beer than your usual morning pick-me-up drink. It is a different and very enjoyable spin on your usual coffee.
Black Medicine does not come in a can or even a PET container, but in a bottle most resembling beer. I had these during my morning meetings and it was great to have everyone stop me and see if I am finally given in and started drink in’ early, only to wonder and be impressed at my newfound caffeine fix. It helps that the design of the label is so classy and gives off the feel of a micro-brew as well, enough so that I have had a hard time not collecting the bottle. The design is a very understated black on black with easily readable black text, really making it look sleek and really selling the handcrafted yet professional feel.
Practically, the bottle works too. The cap is a twist off, so it can be opened easily without an opener and can be saved for later if you wish, the fonts are easy to read and the whole printing job is clear and well laid out. While there is no direct caffeine listing, it does state that this has 50% more caffeine than ordinary coffee drinks. The ingredients are laid out nicely as well as a little well written copy explaining what the drink is about without seeming cutesy or full of schtick. The only improvement I could see making is to the cap – which is a plain black metal, and would be cooler if it had the brand logo on it. Overall however, the package design of Black Medicine is quite brilliant.
I have had many cold-brewed coffees before, and I really enjoyed the utter smoothness and concentrated flavor of that brewing method. I have also had dozens of canned coffees, drinks which are yummy in a junk-food sense, tasting like a coffee milkshake.
Black Medicine is different than that – being hot-brewed, like a drip coffee or french press, only they have used a new process involving some sort of crazy alchemy where they keep all oxygen from degrading the coffee – I don’t really understnad it, but the results are enough proof. Somehow, they work their blend of 3 different beans (1 organic and 2 others) and the temperature and this nitrogen atmosphere to mimic cold-brewing’s smoothness, but keep more flavor and body from the beans. The result is something fruity with a whole lot of flavor, without any real acidity. The closest I can think of is getting a Clover coffee ( found in specialty coffee shops or popping up in Starbucks) with something like an Ethiopian Yergachaffe (they dry the coffee fruit and then peel it – makes for an extra fruity flavor).
The drink comes with no sugar or cream – just straight coffee, and it doesn’t it either. Even if you are not a fan of straight black coffee, most likely you will be after having one of these. They have serving directions involving pouring it into a mug and heating or adding a little cream in it if you feel like it – but all you really need is to refrigerate, crack open a cold one and enjoy.
Producing coffee this way, and really caring about your beans you select leads to a very strong cup of coffee. According to their packaging, it leads to 50% stronger of a cup, and I can totally vouch for that. Black Medicine is POWERFUL stuff! While they don’t list a caffeine amount (brewing a hot coffee with the same caffeine content every time is not an easy thing), it is obvious about 10 minutes after sucking a bottle down that this is no ordinary cup of coffee. Even if you are a caffeine junkie this will give you your fix and keep you buzzing for at least a good couple hours.
The other nice thing in regards to their nutrition is the lack of any real preservatives and added garbage. They add a little vitamin C to preserve their drink instead, which I have not seen used before to any great effect. Its also cool to have a little vitamin C with my morning coffee anyways. The lack of sugars and creamers also keeps the calorie content down, so you don’t feel at all guilty giving into this little treasure too.
My only issue is that I received 3 samples from the company, and they were gone in less than 3 days (it was hard not sucking them all down the same day I got them). You can buy a bottle online for either 3.50 a bottle or 80 bucks a case, but the shipping adds enough onto it that I can not see realistically buying a whole lot of them, unless it was for a special occasion. However,if you are lucky enough to find this in a store near you, I would absolutely not pass this one up.