Meth with cream: Fortified coffee naming

By Laurel Sutton

December 16, 2008

I was in a 7-Eleven over the weekend and got some coffee. The store near me has a huge self-service coffee station with all kind of cups, flavors, creamers, sweeteners, and additives like cinnamon and chocolate (they know to whom they must cater). I ignored the hazelnut-flavored coffee (ick) and the decaf, since I had a list of errands to run, and instead decided to try the new coffee with the bright yellow handle on the coffeepot (see image, courtesy of the Cruft blog).

FUSION! it practically screamed at me. OK, I figured, it’s some kind of bean blend – that sounds good. I sniffed it to make sure there was no chocolate in it (I’m allergic). I poured a big cup, added my normal pint of half and half, and was out the door. One hour later I was amped beyond belief and only then did I decided to find out what was in that coffee:

Their Exclusive Blend coffee is infused with all-natural herbs including guaraná, ginseng, and yerba maté, which they believe will boost your energy and sharpen mental alertness.

YES IT DOES ALL THOSE THINGS AND ADDITIONALLY MAKES YOUR HANDS SHAKE WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING!

I was not aware of this trend in fortified coffee. Since ephedrine became a controlled substance, it seems like the beverage industry is constantly developing new and innovative ways to deliver metabolism boosters in every kind of drink (including Stampede Beer, which we had the pleasure of naming). Cocaine is a highly caffeinated energy drink distributed by Redux Beverages. It contains three and a half times the caffeine of a more popular energy drink, Red Bull Aside from caffeine the label boasts 750 milligrams of taurine, another common ingredient found in many energy drinks, as well as guaraná (also in Fusion). Cocaine got pulled from US shelves in 2007 because the FDA decided that Redux was “illegally marketing their drink as an alternative to street drugs”. After a brief name change to “No Name”, Redux decided to go back to the Cocaine name. I’m not sure how they’re getting away with it now.

Fusion tasted OK, but not great. While looking online for a gift for my coffee-obsessed boyfriend, I came across this totally-illegal looking brand: Meth Coffee. I wonder if the FDA will have something to say about this.

It’s interesting that the same concept gets executed in such different ways. 7-Eleven chose to go with a name so abstract that despite the word “energy” on the handle, I didn’t realize it was amphetamine-flavored coffee, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. “Fusion” sounds so smooth and sophisticated, with a little bit of technology behind it. Meth, on the other hand, is in-your-face direct and practically dares you to drink some and sit still. I suppose it’s a comment on the culture that “meth” is the well-known slang for “methamphetamine”.

I also saw something called Muscle Milk when I was at 7-Eleven. I was too scared to buy any.

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