If you’ve been on a backpacking or climbing trip with me, then you know that I am a zombie before a hefty dose of caffeine in the mornings. As an avid fly-fisher and ski mountaineer, I often find myself on the trail well before the sun, and on more than one occasion, friends have had to suffer through my grumblings because good coffee – or even a simple Diet Coke – have been miles away.
A few months ago, a friend handed me a tin of VOKE Tab, and my alpine start mornings, while not exactly fun and enjoyable (I doubt getting up at 3am to shoulder forty pounds of ski and photo gear ever will be) have been forever changed. Using a proprietary blend of Guarana Berry, Green Tea extract, and Acerola Cherry, a single VOKE tab delivers 77 mg of caffeine. It’s about as much caffeine as that tall Starbucks monstrosity you regularly pick up. However, that is where the similarities end. VOKE’s handy, chewable tablet form make them perfect for being on the go. Now I’ve always got a tin in the truck and in my fishing or climbing pack.
Additionally, that morning coffee you get on the way to the range or work is probably loaded with extra calories and sugar. VOKE is naturally flavored with Xylitol and Stevia, cutting all the extra sugar. It definitely is a little bit of a departure from the sugary goodness that is found in the average American diet, and the first time you chew one up, you’ll probably want to chase it with some water. Cost is another departure from the gourmet coffee habit. A tin of VOKE is just $7, so you’ve got a week’s supply for just a little over the cost of one Grande Reserve blend coffee from the Clover machine at your favorite Starbucks. It should also be noted, after years of being a staple among some of the biggest names in climbing and skiing, VOKE is moving towards the military market. We can definitely see the draw for the tactical world – easy to carry, no sugar/caffeine crash, and a virtually endless shelf life. I sure wish I had VOKE on long days in the field as a private instead of the slop that passed for instant coffee in our MREs. It seems like a perfect market, and we are excited to see VOKE get picked up by the community.
So does it work? I’ve been using VOKE as a way to kick myself out of bed during ski season to chase sunrise powder photos, and am very impressed. Typically, when my alarm goes of, I reach for a VOKE, chew it up, and go back to sleep. 10-15 minutes later I am awake – not the typical caffeine and sugar jittery I used to get when the morning ritual included an energy drink or double hit of espresso, just awake and aware. Is it a full swap for good coffee? That depends. If I am on the go trying to get to the ski hill or gym as early as possible, then VOKE is the way to go. If I’m just heading into the office or working on photo editing from home, brewing up a coffee has some nice psychological benefits too. If anything, it is nice to have another supplement in my tool kit that I know will consistently perform when I need it to, and is easy to carry (one tin with seven tabs weighs in at just over a third of an ounce). At $7 for a week’s supply, and an auto ordering system to keep you stocked up for all your upcoming spring and summer adventures, I think VOKE should be in every hiking, bug out, and EDC bag that you regularly carry.