For most of us, coffee is the best way to start the day — not to end it. But a quirky java maker by the name of Counting Sheep Coffee aims to change that in 40 Winks. That’s the name of the small Vancouver company’s curious new decaf coffee brew, which it claims is chill enough to put you to sleep.
Counting Sheep’s sleepy ingredient isn’t a touch of Ambien. No magical sandman pharmaceutical infusion here. It’s powdered valerian root, mama nature’s own dreamy insomnia remedy, a natural sedative that people have used to nod off since the time of ancient Rome and Greece.
The startup’s dreamy beans come in two varieties — 40 Winks (formerly called Bedtime Blend) and a stronger variety called Lights Out! We don’t suggest drinking them at work, even if it’s tempting to at times.
Counting Sheep co-founder Deland Jessop told the Boston Globe that the idea for the sleepy brew stemmed from his wife’s sensitivity to caffeine. Unlike hardcore coffee addicts (ahem, guilty as charged), Jessup said his wife can’t fall asleep for the night if she “even touches” a cup of coffee after 3 p.m., even decaf.
Total bummer. The former police officer-turned-entrepreneur’s wife loves coffee enough to drink it all day, but can’t. What’s a doting Husband of the Year to do? Embark upon a quest to find a coffee to help his beloved, “a terrible sleeper,” fall asleep.
When Jessop came up cold, he invented his own, at home in his kitchen “laboratory.” Only it was awful. His first attempts, infused with lavender and chamomile, also reports the Globe, were so wretched tasting that his wife spit them out. Buzz kill.
Next Jessop, who apparently really, really wanted to help his wife fall asleep, tinkered with adding valerian to his experimental, 99.9-percent decaf concoction. But, still, it wasn’t good enough to drink. Committed to getting his strange brew just right, he turned to Newark, N.J. coffee roaster Joseph Fernandes. The two partnered and Counting Sheep Coffee was born.
That was back in 2013. Now, thanks to a recent successful bid onDragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank, Counting Sheep Coffee is on a fast growth track. Its gourmet grounds are now available online from Amazon ($10.99 a bag, $12.99 per pack of single-serving pods) and from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Look out for them on store shelves throughout the U.S. soon.
To see Jessop and Fernandez pitch their buzz-less beans on Dragon’s Den, check out the video below. We promise, it won’t put you to sleep.