Healthy Drinks

This ‘Perfectly Calibrated’ Coffee Keeps You Alert Without the Jitters

Photo: Stocksy / Tatjana Zlatkovic
If you love the way coffee tastes, but don't love the way it makes you feel, Taika is the answer. As someone who is super sensitive to caffeine, a cup of coffee makes me anxious and, shortly thereafter, just as tired as I did before my first sip. Then I tried Taika, an adaptogen-infused coffee that's designed to provide a boost of energy without making you feel totally wired. It's the first coffee I've had that truly leaves me feeling more alert without also feeling like my heart is trying to escape my chest.

Taika was created by Michael Sharon and Kal Freese, two people who, like me, love coffee but could do without the negative side effects. Freese is a master barista ranked among the top 10 best baristas in the world in 2015, and he was feeling the impacts of essentially drinking coffee for a living. Sharon is a former project manager at Facebook who started using adaptogens to offset his coffee-induced anxiety. The two joined forces to create a perfectly calibrated, ready-to-drink cold coffee.

Each can contains 120 mg of caffeine, compared to an average of 250 mg in a similar-sized cold brew, as well as adaptogens l-theanine, ashwagandha, lion's mane, reishi, and cordyceps militari. "We made something that was kind of like a Trojan horse," says Sharon. "It looked like great coffee, it tasted like even better coffee, and it was secretly much healthier than any other coffee. The vision for the broader company is to take these packaged products that people consume all around the world, every single day, billions of tons a day, and redesign them to be both delicious and authentically healthy."

Taika The Sampler Box


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The natural compounds that comprise Taika work together to deliver more energy than a traditional cup of coffee. L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves, counteracts the jitters and crashes while improving focus. Ashwagandha, a leafy, flowering plant, helps to calm you down. Lion's Mane is a mushroom that supports memory, concentration, and cognitive function. Reishi is a mushroom that helps your body manage stressors. And Cordyceps militari is a mushroom that supports better energy levels, stamina, and physical performance.

Learn more about adaptogens from a registered dietitian: 

Currently, Taika offers three drinks: black coffee (12 for $59), oat milk latte (12 for $59), and macadamia latte (12 for $59). Taika makes its own oat and macadamia lattes to ensure they're sustainably produced and free of unnecessary additives. The oat and macadamia lattes are sweetened with allulose and monk fruit. They're sweet, but not too sweet—as someone who usually drinks coffee without sugar, I found these to be a welcomed change of pace. You can try all three flavors with the sampler box (six for $36).

Taika Oat Milk Latte

The oat milk latte has the same deliciously creamy finish you'd expect from an oat milk latte.

Taika Macadamia Latte

The macadamia latte has a subtle buttery finish that pairs nicely with the subtle sweetness.

Taika Black Coffee

Black coffee keeps it simple and tastes just like black iced coffee. If you like a different kind of milk or creamer than the ones Taika currently offers, you can grab the black coffee and add whatever you'd like for a morning brew without the jitters.

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