London Nootropics brews startup success with adaptogenic coffee blends

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

London Nootropics collection with coffee © London Nootropics
London Nootropics collection with coffee © London Nootropics

Related tags adaptogens ashwagandha stress management Rhodiola rosea Cbd L-theanine

Adaptogenic-coffee baristas and 'Dragon's Den' investment winners have crafted organic growth with ‘healthy buzz’ brews.

Launched in 2020, London Nootropics was formed by childhood friends Zain Peer and Shez Shaikh, when they realized the drawbacks of chemical-laced pre-workout drinks.

Determined to find a healthier alternative, they transitioned to coffee infused with natural ingredients, prompting them to explore the benefits of adaptogenic ingredients such as CBD, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and medicinal mushrooms.

The London Nootropics’ adaptogenic coffee blends were launched after two years of development.

Initially focused on crafting a pre-workout coffee, the founders soon discovered the diverse benefits of adaptogens beyond physical performance.

With guidance from nutrition experts, they fine-tuned their blends for cognitive benefits, stress relief, vitality, and more. 

Organic growth 

Peer and Shaikh enjoyed strong consumer interest in their brand from the get-go, thanks largely to PR campaigns and a mention on UK radio, Peer explained to NutraIngredients.

It was then that the business investment reality television show ‘Dragon’s Den’ reached out to the founders to invite them to participate.

“I got an e-mail in my inbox asking us to be on the show, and we didn’t take it seriously - it wasn’t until just before filming that we recognized the gravity, like oh my God, we're going to be on TV pitching the business. 

“In the end, it was an incredible experience.”

After a successful pitch to the five ‘dragons’, the company gained £50k in investment from Deborah Meaden and Sara Davies.

Their appearance on the show increased demand, leading to extreme pressure to maintain adequate stock levels, Peer explained.

"One of the most challenging things has been to balance cash flow and not hold too much stock while being able to scale up quickly to meet demand.”

And while most of these issues have been ironed out, there are always going to be things to adapt to, Peer noted.

“In November we ran out of sleeves for our boxes because the printers we use in Romania broke down. They were fixed, but not in time to ship the order, so a member of the team volunteered to go on a flight to Romania with two empty suitcases to collect them. Sometimes you just have to make it happen!”

London Nootropics now has approximately 10,000 customers a month buying directly via the website.

The adaptogenic blend line-up 

“In any given blend, we use only two adaptogens that work in synergy that are high quality, rich, and active compounds,” Peer explained.

The ‘Flow’ blend is intended to improve motivation, mental clarity, and focus. It contains an organic 8:1 dual-extract of lion’s mane with 25.0% beta-glucans from the fruiting body only. It also contains Rhodiola extract (RhodioLife), an adaptogen recognized for its effects on stress levels and brain function​. 

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The ‘Mojo’ blend is designed for physical endurance, strength, and vitality, containing an 8:1 fruiting body dual-extract of cordyceps which has been found to increase oxygen flow to muscles, aerobic capacity, and fatigue resistance​. It also contains Siberian ginseng, found to increase blood flow and oxygenation of cells.

The ‘Zen’ blend contains full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract (KSM-66) shown to alleviate anxiety, enhance memory and cognition, and help the body adapt to physical and mental stressors.

For now, the blend contains water-soluble CBD from organic hemp but the recipe will soon replace CBD with L-theanine, which has been found to improve mental function, Peer explained to NutraIngredients.

“We found that L-theanine to be just as or if not more impactful on your day as CBD, so we're excited to launch the reworked blend in a couple of weeks.” 

The CBD landscape is a tough one to navigate, and the recipe change will give London Nootropics much more freedom in distribution and claims, Peer noted.

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