If you have no clue what nootropic coffee is or think it's coffee sourced from somewhere the “tropics”, you're certainly not alone. Nootropic coffee or smart coffee is a specific type of coffee that is designed to improve cognitive function while fulfilling your coffee fix. In this article we take a look at everything you need to know about nootropic coffee, what it is, why it's good, and of course, what the best nootropic coffees of 2022 are.
As one hard core coffee lover to another, I can say nootropic coffee has helped improved my quality of life during the last 5 years. It's with this in mind, that we've put together the following guide based some of our personal experiences with these extraordinary coffees.
For those who already know what nootropic coffee is and just want some personal recommendations on the best nootropic coffee out there, take a look below.
Kimera Koffee has been a long-time favorite of ours when it come to quality nootropics. We did a detailed Kimera Koffee review some years back and to this day is something that we still appreciate. As an organic nootropic coffee formulated for focus and concentration, it's a product that is delicious as it is effective. Their coffee offers a substantial vitamin boost for your brain via all-natural add ins such as Alpha GPC, DMAE, L-theanine, and Taurine. This premium nootropic coffee delivers a burst of brain energy without the crash that typically accompanies high caffeine brews. Flavor-wise, their medium and dark roast options deliver a full and robust taste that has virtually no bitter aftertaste. It's smooth as silk.
Kimera Koffee is available in ground and K-Cup forms but unfortunately, lacks a whole bean option.
VitaCup is actually one of the original pioneers of the nootropic coffee industry. I remember them well when they first came onto the scene 5 years ago. VitaCup's Genius Blend is specifically formulated to help with energy and focus. Those two qualities admittedly go hand in hand but I was most interested in improving my focus. In a day and age where it's becoming easier to be distracted than ever, focus is an often undervalued skill. VitaCup's Genius blend includes a boost of MCT Oil (for a feeling of fullness and energy), Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Vitamins B1, B5, B6, B9, B12, and D3.
Having spent good time with this blend, I can say this is one of the company's most impressive offerings [full review]. One of the most memorable things about this coffee is how you wouldn't know it was a nootropic or vitamin coffee based on the taste. This brew sources high-quality beans from Mexico and Brazil while being medium roasting to perfection. The result is a very balanced, full, and refined flavor.
This coffee is offered in both ground and coffee pod forms. Like Kimera Koffee, there is no whole bean option.
We came across Grateful Earth Coffee not long ago and it didn't take us long to fully appreciate just how effective, convenient, and enjoyable this coffee is. This is instant coffee but please don't let that fact cause you to write off this product. This incredibly tasty coffee rivals specialty-grade coffee which is saying a lot given that it's instant and full of nootropics. It includes Turmeric, Cinnamon, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, L-Theanine, and Black Pepper to help boost energy, focus, and creativity. Check out our Grateful Earth Coffee review for additional information.
On the coffee side, it's a unique blend of gourmet Arabica and Robusta beans which yields a slightly sweet flavor that's packed with extra caffeine. They offer options for both a medium and espresso dark roast.
Four sigmatic finds its way onto this list of best nootropic coffees for a number of reasons. First and perhaps most importantly, this coffee does NOT taste like mushrooms. Quite to the contrary, it tastes like an impeccably smooth and flavor full high-end brew. Their quality mushroom coffee contains only half the caffeine of regular coffee but grants you double the mental clarity as it's chocked full of 500mg of organic Lion's Mane and Chaga mushroom powder. The antioxidant properties from the Chaga mushroom help support healthy immune function as well.
This coffee delivers a smooth, strong, yet crash-free experience that will satisfy even the most uncompromising connoisseurs. USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and single origin, this company sets equally high standards for its coffee as it does its nootropics.
This coffee comes in only ground form.
Having covered some of the best nootropic coffees out there, let's now take a closer look at what makes nootropic coffee in general so special and helpful.
What is Nootropic Coffee?
Let's first start with the term nootropics. Nootropics are substances (both naturally-occurring and manufactured) that can improve cognitive function, more specifically in the areas of attention, memory, creativity, and focus (reference). As such, nootropic coffee is often labeled as “smart coffee”.
Interestingly, there are some who think caffeine is a nootropic simply because it can give you more energy to think better. While coffee does offer some nootropic-like benefits, it is technically not a nootropic on its own. The coffee we're talking about here is a whole other thing. It's a way of taking your brain's productivity to the next level while enjoying the world's greatest drink.
For some brief history, the term “nootropic” was first coined by Corneliu E. Giurgea who was a Romanian psychologist and chemist. He specified that a nootropic must meet the following requirements which incidentally disqualifies caffeine from being a nootropic.
- Enhance the memory and learning process
- Enhance resistance of learned behaviors to conditions with the tendency to disrupt them
- Protect the brain from physical or chemical damage
- Increasing the effectiveness of the tonic cortical and subcortical control mechanisms
- Be non-sedating, have minimal side effects, or none at all, and be non-toxic
Choosing the Best Nootropic Coffee?
Let's be honest here. If the coffee doesn't taste good, I won't drink it regardless of the brain benefits it confers. I'll leave the reader to judge whether that's a responsible statement or not. But in the end, you'll want to choose a nootropic coffee that artfully balances flavor and efficacy. Every brand will have its own approach to formulation but ultimately, the best nootropic coffee will be one where you can't taste the nootropics.
Choosing the best nootropic coffee is not unlike choosing your favorite regular coffee. The main difference is identifying your goals for what you want to get out of your morning brew.
Grind and Delivery Form
Fortunately, nootropic coffee just like regular coffee comes in standard whole bean, ground, or even instant forms. However, not every brand offers all three options so you'll need to do a little digging.
As you may have already noted, most nootropic coffees come in only preground form. This is common since many brands will need to grind their coffee first before infusing them with nootropics. However, there are some nootropic brands that carry whole beans. Of course, there's also an option for nootropic K-Cups and coffee pods. If you're a K-Cup user, we recommend going with VitaCup.
Often times light roast coffee will allow more of the bean's natural flavor to express itself. On the other hand, darker roasts will deliver a richer and bolder flavor mixed with a slight smokiness that naturally results from the bean being exposed to hot temperatures for a long period of time. Kimera Koffee and VitaCup offer excellent choices for a quality dark roast nootropic coffee.
Related Article: Differences between coffee roasts
Each nootropic coffee will have a varying mix of ingredients. Additionally, these ingredients will be present in different quantities. When selecting the best nootropic coffee for your particular needs, consider what areas of cognition you're looking to enhance. Are you looking for enhance stability and focus or creativity and mood control? The description of the nootropic coffee you're considering should tell you what specific areas of your cognition this product was formulated to improve.
What are the Benefits of Nootropics
The benefits of nootropics are many and equally varied. Because the term nootropics covers a wide variety of substances that improve overall cognitive function, each substance will offer a different benefit. For example, Four Sigmatic leverages concentrated mushroom extracts while Kimera Koffee contains natural amino acids such as Alpha GPC, Taurine, DMAE, and L-Theanine. Meanwhile, VitaCup is choked full of vitamin B's. Being that each coffee uses different nootropics, each a coffee will deliver different benefits.
Having said this, nootropic coffees as a whole offer the following benefits.
- Improve memory and focus
- Foster creativity
- Increase blood flow in the brain thereby supporting the regeneration of brain cells
- Speed up learning processes
- Improve your mood
- Increase motivation and focus while exercising
- Combat physical and mental stress by regulating brain chemicals
Nootropics can be very fast-acting no different than caffeine. In the same way that first sip of coffee gives you a near instantaneous boost of energy and clarity, so to can nootropics give you instant brain power. Whether it's studying for an exam or aiming to meet a near-approaching deadline, nootropics can give you what you need when you need it.
Conclusion to our Nootropic Coffee Guide
Hopefully this guide will have provided you with a foundational understanding of what nootropic coffee is all about. Who'd have thought that drinking coffee can actually help make you smarter? While it's a relative niche' market, it's a trend that has been rapidly growing popularity. And given the world's increasing concern with health, it will likely only gain in adoption.
If you're a health conscious coffee drinker but don't necessarily want to mix the world of nootropics with your morning brew, consider taking a look at our list of the best healthy coffees of 2022. These coffees were in part chosen because of the ways in which the beans were roasted and prepared in order to deliver the highest amount of antioxidants.