Do you like eating? do you like coffee? then read no further. But if breakfast is but the step between drought-mindful shower and miserable schlep, then fill your bunker shelves with Soylent.
Soylent, as you may know, is “healthy, convenient, and affordable food” that provides “all the protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients that a body needs to thrive”. Soylent is a meal substitute, and is available as a bar, a powder, and a bottled drink, the latter in regular and coffee flavors. The bar was recently found to cause explosive diarrhea for some wretched souls, but I had no such issues while drinking Coffiest. In fact, it was quite the reverse, as you’ll see if you read on…
Unlike food–which is cooked or dished up or blended or roasted or baked–Soylent, the makers stress, is ENGINEERED. The words used to describe its origins include “intelligently designed”, “food system innovation”, “Food 2.0”, and “exploring the frontiers of food technology” — all deliberately evoking visions of astronaut rations. It’s all about technology–the bottle looks like a docking station for a nanobot (if such a thing should exist). When you unscrew the cap, you’re momentarily surprised it hasn’t unfolded into an Amazon drone. The formula could have been unearthed from a crater in Roswell. This Soylent is not green, people.
Soylent is targeted at a busy human without the time to slap together a PBJ-Sriracha sandwich or chew an apple. (Note: this person is probably so very busy as s/he works in TECHNOLOGY, and lives in the Bay Area.) S/he is concerned with good nutrition, is well-informed about gluten, and knows that granola bars are candy dressed as health food.
This post is written with the clear understanding that I meet few of the above criteria. I’m old-ish, and prioritize leisure over most activities. I’m not a serial thrill experiencer whose brain and skills are so much in demand that I have no time for food other than as fuel–heck, I see your CTO promotion and I raise you my thrill on slicing open an avocado at its instant of green to yellow metamorphosis. I admire and respect a good meal, I do.
I’d never subsist on Soylent, but would I consider it for an occasional meal substitute? I tried Soylent Coffiest, sourced for me by my tech-genius nephew.
My big, big problem with Coffiest is that it fails miserably on the coffee front. First, it is goopy, practically coating the back of a spoon like dilute custard, and its emollient consistency makes it the opposite of the texture I associate with coffee. And second, the coffee taste is of very low quality, and by low quality, I mean shitty. It’s got that burnt bean taste, and that sour metal aftertaste, and it reminds me of the worst coffee I’ve had in my life (back in an Edinburgh Starbucks in 2003, if you must know).
Coffiest is best cold. When it’s hot, it raises the vengeful ghost of the latte you might have had. When it’s room temperature, it tastes like the tears of Elon Musk. It’s oobleck all gussied up in a tuxedo–liquid down your throat, and then solid in your gut for hours after consumption. I’m slightly nauseous after half a cup; drinking a bottle (400 ml) at one go would be too disruptive to my inner bay areas.
BUT it’s nutritionally magnificent. The main ingredients are “Soy Protein Isolate, Algal Oil, Canola Oil, Rice Starch, Oat Fiber”, and the combination of soy and algal oil (yes, from algae) gives it the optimal combination of protein and carbs and vitamins and minerals for humans. It is the healthiest bottled beverage on this planet–you could probably postpone death and reduce taxes if you drank this daily. It has 400 calories per bottle–a lot, until you remember that it’s a meal substitute and not a nutritional supplement. I don’t think you could get this level of nutrition within this calorie count from any traditional food combination at this price–approx. $3.25 per bottle. It’s vegan and nut-free, though not gluten-free.
The beverage is dark, chocolatey brown, but you’d likely never know that as you’d chug it straight down, being too busy to pour it from bottle to glass, see?
I can totally understand (and even second) the choice of Soylent if you must skip a meal and the alternative is junk food snacks and/or soda. Heck, I figure Soylent is much closer to food than, say, Coke or Pepsi, which I hear make for excellent toilet cleaners. But anything more than occasional consumption of Soylent seems unbearably joyless when you think of the pleasure foregone by skipping that rolling-pin burrito, by not slurping down chole with a hubcap-size bhatura. As with most things in life, moderation seems key; drink Soylent responsibly, folks!
Soylent Coffiest can be ordered from the company website or Amazon. 12 bottles for $39.