The Nootropic Coffee Blend I’ve Fallen In Love With

Until a few years ago, I hated coffee.  For most of my life I was strictly a soda drinker, and after I started getting more serious about my health ten years ago, I started drinking tea.  But coffee?  Nah.

That started to change in 2016 when I lived in Bali for two months.  After visiting a coffee plantation I realized that I actually enjoyed coffee as long as it was loaded down with chocolate, vanilla, caramel or coconut.  Since then I’ve occasionally made myself a cup of flavored coffee, albeit usually instant coffee rather than the real stuff.  

After I interviewed him earlier this year, Marius van Voorden introduced me to Noocaf, a nootropic-infused “smart coffee” formulated specifically for enhancing productivity.

My experience with Noocaf so far has been nothing short of amazing.  Caffeine can easily send me past the point of productive alertness and straight to a level of stimulation where I become jittery and unable to work for more than five minutes before pacing across the room.  

But with Noocaf, I always seem to land right on the sweet spot where I’m alert and fully energized while also being calm and focused.  

That’s because Noocaf adds several other ingredients which synergistically enhance the positive effects of caffeine while mitigating the side effects, particularly jitteriness and loss of focus.  

The Seven Ingredients In Noocaf

Coffee– There are six “nootropic” ingredients in Noocaf, but the coffee itself deserves mention too.  It’s a blend of Arabica bean cultivars, all grown in South America at high altitudes.  Preparation-wise, it’s a medium-grind dark roast. 

What that means is that it’s high-quality coffee overall, very versatile in how it can be prepared, and also a little bit on the lower-caffeine side due to both the types of beans used and the dark roast.  

This is smart in my opinion– most people who use caffeine as a nootropic take way too much, but really you’re better off combining caffeine with a) mild relaxants to mitigate the effects, and b) another stimulant that has overlapping mental benefits without contributing to jitteriness.  Noocaf does both.     

L-Theanine- The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is probably the most popular nootropic in the world, and for good reason: it provides the mental benefits that caffeine is supposed to provide, rather than the jiteriness that caffeine usually actually does provide.  

Simply put, adding theanine mitigates or even negates the jitters and anxiety that can accompany caffeine usage.  

L-Tyrosine- I’ve mentioned tyrosine in my articles on quitting caffeine addiction.  It’s an amino acid precursor to dopamine, and thus tends to get depleted in the brain when people use stimulants.  Combining it with caffeine slightly potentiates the effects of the caffeine, while also forestalling withdrawal symptoms to an extent.  

Alpha GPC- Another popular nootropic, though in this case not one I have much experience with.  Alpha GPC is a naturally occurring form of choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, one of the primary stimulant neurotransmitters.  

Research is a bit lacking, but there’s evidence that alpha-GPC enhances memory and mental processing speed in humans, as well as in rats.  Interestingly, it also seems to boost strength, presumably through neurological means such as enhancing muscle activation.  It’s also largely free of side effects. 

Taurine- Most people have heard of taurine as an ingredient in energy drinks, so you may be surprised to know it’s not a stimulant.  It’s an amino acid with mildly sedating effects.  It serves a similar purpose to theanine, though its effects are more physical and less mental compared to theanine– it does more to reduce jitteriness, while theanine does more to reduce anxiety.

Taurine has also been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in blood vessels while boosting blood flow, although this is not a brain-specific effect.  

Vitamin B6- Vitamin B6 is involved in mental function and mood regulation, and is also vital for proper memory function.  Many people are deficient in it, both because of a poor diet and in many cases due to B vitamin malabsorption in the gut.  In this case it’s used mostly for its memory-enhancing purposes.  

Vitamin B12- Another B vitamin, and maybe more important than B6, vitamin B12 is also one that people are more likely to be deficient in, again largely due to malabsorption but sometimes also diet.  Lower levels of B12, even within the normal range, are associated with impaired memory, concentration, and learning ability.  

How Does Noocaf Taste?

I’m the wrong person to ask here since I don’t like the taste of coffee.  The label says it tastes slightly sweet with a hint of chocolate, but as someone who usually mixes actual hot chocolate powder with his coffee, I can’t say I notice it.  

I did have a friend who likes coffee try it when he stayed with me.  At first he said it tasted terrible and watery because I didn’t use nearly enough of the ground.  On the second try, when I measured it out properly, he said it tasted good.  Not amazing, but solidly above-average.  

We ended up making a second, pour-over pot of coffee using the same grounds, and found that tasted pretty good too.  If you do this, you might want to use slightly more grounds though– again, not an issue for me since I mixed so much other stuff with mine.  

How I Use Noocaf

It took a few tries to get the dosing right.  Noocaf can still cause jitters if you consume way too much, but it gives you a much, much larger margin for error than regular coffee.  

For me, the maximum effective dose before I get side effects is at least twice as high as the minimum effective dose to see any benefits.  By comparison, regular coffee gives me about a 40% spread between the two.

One days when I want to focus on my laptop for hours at a time without distraction, I use two rounded tablespoons, combined with 8-12 ounces of water, to make my first batch of Noocaf first thing in the morning.  Again, I mix in chocolate and/or creamer, so this may not be optimal, flavor-wise, for those of you who drink their coffee straight.  

2-3 hours later, I make a second, pour-over pot, using the same grounds and another 8-12 ounces of water.  

This second cup of coffee is much weaker, which is perfect since a) I want to sleep that night, and b) the first cup hasn’t left my system by that point, it’s just down to like 70% of peak levels.  Pour-overs allow you to re-dose at lower levels cheaply and conveniently.

Lately I’ve started lowering the dosage a bit further, to one and a half tablespoons of grounds.  I find I actually like the effects better at lower dosages, which may have a lot to do with my caffeine tolerance going down overall as I’ve cut back my intake.  

If I think I’ll want three cups of coffee, I use a cup and a half (as in the size of the cup I drink out of, not measuring cups) of water per pot, meaning that cups two and three are effectively a mix of the first batch and the pour-over batch. I only increase the amount of coffee grounds by 25% rather than 50%, so each cup is a little weaker overall.  

Most importantly, I absolutely do not add in any other stimulants like adrafinil or nicotine, which only sends me into an over-stimulated state where I get jitters and brain fog.  Noocaf already has everything it needs to work.  

As I was preparing to write this article, I started asking myself, What if I designed my own nootropic coffee blend?  What would I out in it?

The conclusion I came to is that I wouldn’t do anything differently.  Every ingredient in Noocaf serves a clear purpose– unlike most supplement blends, there’s no “ingredient packing,” nothing that’s being thrown in just to lengthen the ingredient list and create an illusion of greater value.  All six additives truly add something to the effect.

You could make an argument for adding other things like kava, ashwaghanda or piracetam, but all of them either a) need to be taken daily for weeks, b) need to be taken less often to avoid tolerance, or c) would ruin the flavor.  

The more I think about it, the more I believe this is the best nootropic coffee anyone could make, at least given current knowledge of nootropics.  It’s my favorite nootropic right now, and I’ll be using it 2-3 days a week for a long time to come.  

Noocaf can be ordered from Noocaf.com