Waiting to exhale

Breath the buzz
By CASSANDRA LANDRY  |  December 28, 2011

aeroshot

A nervous little chill ran through me as I stared at the Chapstick-size tube sitting on my desk. The ripped-open neon-green package for Aeroshot, a new form of breathable caffeine, instructed me to simply pull open the device and puff in. I cautiously raised the canister to my lips and . . . inhaled.

A soft layer of limey powder coated my mouth for a split second before it was gone, already dissolving. I giggled uncontrollably, and took a few more puffs.

A few days later, I'm sitting in the Breathable Foods offices in Cambridge with Mr. Aeroshot himself— scientist David Edwards, the biomedical engineer who graced these pages last year for being the brains behind the aerosol chocolate Le Whif — to find out exactly what happened when I took that breath.

"People often laugh the first time they do it," he says. "It's a unique experience, to essentially inhale your morning coffee."

The device holds 100 mg of caffeine — its powdered mixture also contains lime flavoring, sugar, and vitamins — and is the equivalent to a regular coffee at any café.

The intake of the caffeine through the Aeroshot occurs the same way it does with a cup of coffee, beginning in the mouth and continuing into the bloodstream and digestive tract. The difference, Edwards says, is the convenience: because it is dry, the Aeroshot doesn't fall to the same fate as a re-heated cappuccino or a melting iced latte.

"One of the things about caffeine consumption is that we often take more than we need, and you get a kind of peak of caffeine," explains Edwards. "But it is better for you if you take what you need when you need it and get little bumps of caffeine instead."

So, does it work? I can tell you that my first Aeroshot experience was underwhelming. But later in the week, in a rush to make a deadline and with no motivation to run out for a coffee, I fished one out of my bag and emptied it. This time around, I felt like I had been shocked awake, and was gripped with a tremendous sense of productivity for the rest of the workday.

Aeroshot — dubbed "nothing more than a club drug" by New York Senator Charles Schumer, who last week raised concern about its over-the-counter sale — is already a hit in Breathable Labs's sister city of Paris, and the shots will be available to Bostonians and New Yorkers beginning in January 2012. Look out, Starbucks?

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