The slogan says it all: "Sleep is overrated. " Now repeat it three times with Tasmanian Devil speed. Shock Coffee has introduced the energy...

Share story

The slogan says it all: “Sleep is overrated.”

Now repeat it three times with Tasmanian Devil speed.

Shock Coffee has introduced the energy drink of the coffee world — brewed and canned coffee products that contain roughly 50 percent more caffeine than the average cuppa joe.

The company based in Queens, N.Y., claims a brewed cup of Shock Coffee has 160 milligrams per six-ounce cup, whereas traditional blends average 100 milligrams or less.

“People have two cups of coffee in the morning, right?” said Jeff Rosen, president of Shock Coffee, which will display its products at Coffee Fest Seattle today through Sunday.

“With Shock, you can have one cup.”

The company, owned by the convenience-store products distributor Price Master, isn’t the only player in the hyper-caffeinated coffee field.

Coffee Fest Seattle

The trade show runs through Sunday at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle. It is primarily for businesses that carry coffee, tea or related products and is not open to the general public. No children under 13 will be admitted, including infants. Admission is $30 at the door. For more information, visit

Coffee People in Portland sells Black Tiger-branded coffee, a brew it claims to have 30 percent more caffeine than traditional brands.

Black Tiger is intended for a younger audience — the same consumers who buy energy drinks such as Jolt and Red Bull, said Alexis Eldridge, senior marketing director for parent company Irvine, Calif.-based Diedrich Coffee.

The specialty-coffee chain also sells Black Tiger-branded shakes and ice cream, each cup emblazoned with a trademark logo designed to convey the power of its blend.

“It’s an incredible, emotionally intriguing tiger,” Eldridge said of the logo. “It’s an angry tiger.”

Neither company worries about marketing coffee with a higher caffeine content. They say it’s no different than ordering two, three or more extra espresso shots with a latte. That said, how much is too much?

University of Washington radiology professor Stephen Dager said the results widely vary.

Dager, who studied caffeine’s withdrawal effects on the brain, said people with too much caffeine in their system may feel flush, sweaty and experience heart palpitations or missed heart beats. Likewise, people who experience panic and anxiety attacks tend to have a lower tolerance to caffeine.

Dager said it’s up to the individual to decide. “You could have beer, you could have wine or you could drink a single-malt whiskey that has a lot of alcohol,” he said. “It’s a matter of what’s your preference.”

Shock Coffee prices

Triple latte or triple mocha: $1.99

12-ounce cup of coffee: $1.25 to $1.50

Whole bean or ground (13-ounce) canister: $9.99-$12.99

Shock-A-Lots chocolate-covered coffee beans (1 ounce): $1.49

Rosen, of Shock Coffee, wouldn’t divulge the company’s recipe, only to say its products include a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans that contain more caffeine, “just like some oranges are sweeter than others.”

The company’s hyper-caffeinated products — brewed coffee, canned triple lattes and mochas and Shock-A-Lots, chocolate-covered coffee beans — are carried in 4,000 convenience and dollar stores.

Rosen said the company has expanded into new markets, including wholesale accounts at universities, supermarkets and even prisons.


“They’re not carrying it for the prisoners,” Rosen said. “They’re carrying it for the guards.”

Monica Soto Ouchi: 206-515-5632 or

Caffeine doses
Drink Caffeine in a 12-ounce serving
Shock Coffee 320 mg.
Drip coffee 200 mg.
Red Bull 115.5 mg.
Jolt 72 mg.
Green tea 70 mg.
Dr Pepper 41 mg.
Coca-Cola Classic 34 mg.
Sprite 0 mg.