Caffeine has long been used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to improve endurance in high intensity exercise or sports. But the way in which people consume it varies wildly. Drinks, tablets and gels all contain different quantities and qualities of caffeine with some that might not be much stronger than a tea and others that are four to five times as strong. We spoke to Mayur Ranchordas, sports scientist and cofounder of Amunra coffee about his brand-new performance coffee that is specially designed to maximise both performance and recovery. We spoke to Mayur about:
- What is driving the demand for “clean caffeine”
- The difference between natural caffeine and energy drinks
- The benefits of a performance coffee for athletic performance
- Why polyphenols are important for athletes
What was the inspiration for Amunra?
All three of the founders have come from a professional sports background. We all recognised that caffeine is one of the most widely used nutritional supplements by athletes of all kinds. It enhances cognitive and physical performance, reduces fatigue among many other benefits, but the problem was that athletes we worked with were often consuming caffeine in different forms and different quantities. Drinks or tablets don’t taste particularly nice and can sometimes cause gut upset, but people were taking it for the performance enhancing benefits. We noticed that athletes were often turning to coffee. It gives athletes the energy they want but without the bad taste or side effects.
So, we started to wonder if we could create something with high levels of natural caffeine and polyphenols that athletes would love. The polyphenols are key because they are a great anti-inflammatory. They help with recovery and overall wellbeing. We realised that if we can create something that has all the right properties, the right amount of caffeine, high in polyphenols and it tastes good, we’re on to something.
Amunra also aligns with our “food first” approach. We always try to tidy up athletes’ diets by getting the right nutrients through food first, then adding supplements, not the other way around.
What is “clean caffeine” and what is driving the demand?
Clean caffeine refers to it being found naturally in food, vs. being added as a supplement. The coffee beans we have selected for Amunra are naturally high in caffeine.
Our food first approach means that we are focused on getting people to ingest it in a natural form that fits into their natural routine vs. taking supplement tablets. Most people already drink coffee so our approach is a scientific one that can take what you already do naturally and enhance it to improve your performance and recovery.
A good example to illustrate our food first approach is with Vitamin C. If you take a Vitamin C tablet, you’re getting Vitamin C and nothing else. It’s synthetic. But if you eat kiwis and oranges, that are naturally high in Vitamin C, you’re also getting all the other properties found in those fruits like fibre, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients. Amunra is similar. You’re not just getting caffeine, you’re getting polyphenols and hydration.
In supplement form, caffeine is a diuretic and can dehydrate you, but in coffee, studies show that it is similar to drinking water. It is actually hydrating.
The demand for this kind of coffee is there. If you go to a coffee shop or supermarket, you have no idea how much caffeine is in the coffee you’re purchasing. The content in a large americano varies wildly from shop to shop or depending on the way you make it at home. We’ve selected beans that are naturally high in polyphenols and caffeine and we’ve roasted them more slowly so that the caffeine content is always consistent if you make it as directed. People are gravitating toward products that have more health benefits. For example, if you were going to eat blueberries and you knew some had a much higher nutrient content vs. the ones in the supermarket, which would you choose? The same can be said for coffee.
What’s the difference between natural caffeine and caffeine-infused energy drinks?
Caffeine infused drinks are drinks where caffeine is added synthetically. Most people report the greatest number of side effects when drinking products with synthetic caffeine. For example, with a caffeine supplement like Pro Plus, people tend to report side effects like gut upset and a crash after an hour. But, if you take the right amount of caffeine in a natural form, there are almost never any adverse side effects. The recommended dosage is 1-3mg per kg of body weight. There’s a range because everyone metabolises it differently. The only way to know how you personally metabolise caffeine is either through a DNA test that measures the specific genotype, or simply to listen to your own body when consuming it.
What’s the benefits of drinking Amunra vs. normal coffee?
Regular coffee that you purchase in a shop or bought in a store will very rarely tell you the caffeine or polyphenol content. You might get details on the taste or the origin, but details about caffeine is almost never available. Most people drink coffee for taste and for energy with no awareness for the science behind it. We’ve found the perfect beans with a naturally high caffeine and polyphenol content and we’ve roasted them in a particular way to preserve the nutrients while enhancing the tasting notes. That’s how we came up with the brand: great tasting coffee that ticks the science box. The benefits are clear: high amounts of polyphenols, consistent caffeine and great taste.
Lots of people know caffeine improves performance but can this sort of coffee also help aid recovery?
Absolutely. It is the polyphenols in the coffee that can aid recovery. Polyphenols are also found in many other plant-based products like wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, tea or dark chocolate, but most people are not aware of this. Polyphenols are full of anti-inflammatory properties. If you take them after high intensity exercise, polyphenols in coffee can reduce the perception of muscle soreness, reduce inflammation and help you recover quicker. Caffeine can help improve your performance but Amunra can easily become a recovery drink.
For more information about Amunra, go to: https://amunrauk.com/