“Nootropics are a booming industry right now and so is coffee,” making them both attractive business opportunities, Kimera Koffee co-founder Frankie Pimentel told FoodNavigator-USA.
Indeed, according to Credence Research the global nootropics market will reach $6 billion by 2024 – up from $1.3 billion in 2016 with a compound annual growth rate of 17.9% predicted over the period.
At the same time, the percentage of Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis increased to 62% this year, compared to 57% in 2016, according to the National Coffee Associations 2017 National Coffee Drinking Trends report released in March. It adds that consumption of gourmet coffee is a strong driver of overall consumption with 59% of all cups of coffee consumed qualifying as “gourmet” – a significant increase from 46% in 2012.
But consuming both nootropics and premium coffee on a daily basis can add up for consumers, indicated Pimentel, who, along with the company co-founder, knows from personal experience of drinking Dominican coffee and taking nootropic pills daily as part of a pre-workout routine or before work.
Drinking the two together as a cup of Kimera Koffee, however, can cut consumers’ costs almost in half, Pimentel said. “If you buy premium coffee and nootropic pills you will probably pay almost double than what Kimera Koffee costs,” which is $21.95 per 12-ounces, he added.
Kimera Koffee also offers consumers convenience by infusing 725 mg of premium grade nootropics for increased focus, power output and cognition, into coffee grown in the Caribbean where the “volcanic based soils … provide the perfect pH for plentiful growing,” said Pimentel, adding the high elevation contributes to a longer maturation cycle which allows for a “fuller, denser bean that yields a more complex taste.”
Overcoming formulation challenges
While the idea of combing coffee and nootropics seems like a natural fit to Pimentel who often took nootropic pills with coffee, the actual formulation proved to be more complicated.
Pimentel explained that in the process of creating the final formulations, the co-founders of Kimera Koffee tested 52 prototypes.
“We had a list of about 15 different nootropics and when you drink them in pill form you do not notice how bitter some of these can be,” Pimentel said, adding that most of the combinations of nootropics and coffee “tasted like crap.”
After three months of trying to formulate the blend on their own, Pimentel said he and his co-founder turned to a lab in Virginia for help.
“After our first conversation, they quickly pointed out that not all nootropics are generally regarded as safe food additives per FDA standards. This was kind of a blessing in disguise because it immediately eliminated about eight nootropics and allowed us to focus on lesser combinations,” Pimentel said.
Finally, Pimentel said, the team identified combinations that did not affect the taste of the coffee – allowing the partners to conduct blind taste tests to find the best tasting option that also had noticeable effects from the nootropics.
Since launching the product on Amazon in 2015, the company has seen an average of 10% sales growth month over month and earned the “Amazon’s Choice” label for strong sales, good feedback and great customer service, according to the firm.
Pimentel attributes this growth in part to the company’s strong authentic social media presence, and to partnerships with “very influential people in the fitness industry such as, Jujimufu, Ben Greenfield and The Mind Pump Radio team.”
He says the company will continue to build on its initial momentum by focusing on sales in Europe as well as its partnerships in Scandinavia, Canada, India and Singapore. In addition, he said, Kimera has “some new products coming out this year that we are keeping on the down low, but we are really excited for.”