Viscous Coffee, a café in Adelaide, Australia, sells a cup of super-coffee that contains five grams of caffeine – 80 times more than a normal cup of java and half the dose considered to be lethal. Called the “Asskicker”, the strong beverage comes with a health warning for people with heart problems and blood pressure issues.
A cup of espresso has about 60mg of caffeine, while a serving of standard filtered coffee has about 150mg of it, depending on how it is prepared. The Asskicker contains five full grams of caffeine, which Viscous Coffee owner Steve Benington says is enough to provide 12 to 18 hours of “sustained up-time”. But the high caffeine content means it shouldn’t be consumed in one go, but slowly, over a period of four hours.
Benington says he came up with the idea for the Asskicker when an emergency department nurse asked him for something that would keep her awake and alert for an unexpected night shift. “She consumed her drink over two days and it kept her up for almost three days — I toned it down a little after that and the Asskicker was born,” he recalls. Nowadays, the complex concoction is made with four espresso shots, four 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes, 120ml of 10-day brewed cold drip and is finished with four more 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes. “Each cold drip ice cube is approximately equivalent of a bit more than two shots of espresso in caffeine,” Benington explains.
Photo: Viscous Coffee/Facebook
As word of the strong iced coffee spread around Adelaide, a lot of young people started coming in to drink it as a challenge. “I talk to them first, make sure they understand what they are doing, and people often think I’m trying to talk them out of it,” the Viscous Coffee café owner told Adelaide Now. “It’s pure coffee, it’s good quality, and that’s the only problem, it tastes so good that it’s hard to make it last as long as it should.”
“Some people love it and some are broken by it but it’s all in the name of fun,” Benington says about the Asskicker, but not everyone thinks it’s funny. Tanya Lewis, an accredited dietitian, sports dietitian and personal trainer, called the beverage a “very high risk drink”, adding that caffeine is a drug, and needs to be respected, not abused. “There have been a number of documented cases of hospital admissions and also death with caffeine intakes less than half of what is contained in this beverage,” Lewis said.
Photo: Anita D./Yelp
A 2015 Food Standards Australia and New Zealand paper on caffeine states that “there is currently no recognised health-based guidance value, such as an Acceptable Daily Intake, for caffeine”. Still, Benington is taking no chances with the Asskicker and has health warning for people with heart problems and high blood pressure. He says the warnings have been confirmed by several physicians based on their personal consumption of the drink.
Photo: This Is Radelaide