Caffeine is freaking awesome. Sure, the health effects of extreme caffeine intake are a little unclear, and a lifetime spent working with the stuff is most probably bad for you, but that doesn't mean we can't have some fun in the meantime! Enter Phillip Broughton, founder of Funranium Labs, who has created an intense vacuum-extracted coldbrew coffee concentrate with 40x the caffeine contained in “normal” coffee. It's called “Black Blood of the Earth”, named after a deleted scene in the 1986 cheeseball classic Big Trouble in Little China.
Mr. Broughton is a radiation safety scientist at UC Berkley by day, and when a Type II diabetes diagnosis left him unable to consume sweeteners, he decided to harness the power of Science to create a coffee without the bitterness. Now, part of me thinks he might be better off trying to find a well prepared specialty brew that doesn’t have dark-roast bitterness in the first place, but hey, you know what? We’ve all got our palate preferences, and Mr. Broughton obviously wanted the Most Extreme coffee flavor possible with minimum possible bitterness. I say, “you do you.”
He certainly seems to have succeeded on the Extreme front with his 48-96 hour brew. Mr. Broughton suggests consuming no more than 100ml a day for safety. According to an SF Weekly taste-test, adding water to the concentrate didn’t noticeably change its inky blackness. Yikes.
I was reminded of BBotE by the mesmerizing .GIF (see above) of Truman Severson's SWRBC coffee meth-lab, featured in our recent coverage. Of course crazy coffee science experiments have a long history, and James Hoffmann and Jay Caragay have both played around with pressure and cold-brewing. However it seems like they didn’t go as far Mr. Broughton did in his explorations, and unfortunately Mr. Broughton’s BBotE experiments have focused on dark-roasted coffee, so the flavor possibilities of vacuum-process coldbrew for the high-end market remain to be seen.
You can get the classic BBotE in 1000ml or 750ml bottles, or you can get a set of eight 50ml samplers of the limited edition runs made with a selection of different coffees on the Funranium webstore. Also worth checking out are the Steins of Science, beer steins made from repurposed liquid nitrogen containers. Extreme coffee and extreme beer–clearly Mr. Broughton knows what’s up.