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Employee Engagement, Life at Work

Coffee Alternatives for Employees Who Need a Boost

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Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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iStock_000049240620_Large-2.jpgToday’s world is busier than ever. With a lot to do and not enough time (not to mention the constant stream of information and reminders reaching us through our devices), professionals are turning to drinks that promise energy and health to help them stay ahead of the game throughout the ever-increasing work day.

Though it may seem like a twenty-first-century fad, energy drinks are nothing new. According to a New York Times article, the phenomenon first took hold in Japan in 1962 with a drink called “Lipovitan D,” a tonic sold in small minibar-sized bottles.

Since then, numerous beverages promising everything from a quick energy boost to sustained concentration and improved health have hit the market. Two health/energy drinks that are dominating the market are 5-hour Energy, a shot-sized energy booster, and kombucha, an ancient drink that has a new boost in fame.

5-hour Energy: Your Check-out Counter Companion

On the scene since 2004, 5-hour Energy is most often found in the checkout counters of grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and other places people may casually stop by throughout their day. The drink’s most active ingredient is caffeine.

The manufacturer claims that original 5-hour Energy has 200 mg, and that Extra Strength has 260 mg (for reference, a regular cup of coffee has less than 100 mg per 250 ml cup). WebMD writes that other active ingredients include, “B vitamins, and taurine (an amino acid found in food from animal sources) as well as flavorings and artificial sweeteners.”

With only four calories and zero carbs or herbal stimulants, 5-hour Energy shots are quite different than other energy drinks because they deliver their energy-boosting punch in just a small two-ounce bottle compared to a normal drink (12-16 ounces).

Some commonly reported side effects include jitteriness, face flush from the large concentration of B-vitamins, and the “crash” that often accompanies large amounts of caffeine.

5-hour Energy seems like a good option for those who have a high tolerance for caffeine and prefer a quick and easy energy boost on the go.

Kombucha: Health Elixir or Sour-Tasting Gimmick?

According to an article in NBC News, “The drink may be the new super-juice on the block, but this fermented tea has actually been around for more than 2,000 years. Kombucha can be traced back to ancient China where it was worshipped as a remedy for immortality.”

Made from a fermented fungus called scoby, kombucha is lighter than other sugared teas and has a subtle tartness that people seem to either love or hate.

The manufacturer of the brand Kombucha Wonder Drink claims that the tea “contains antioxidants, and [that] the healthy acids created by the fermentation process aid digestion and help detoxify.”

Though not verified by the FDA, many seem to agree that the drink, if consumed regularly, will improve health by increasing the amount of healthy bacteria in one’s gut, thereby aiding in digestion, detoxifying the organs, and normalizing blood sugar.

Kombucha contains a nominal amount of caffeine, about 24 mg per serving (about one-third that of a normal cup of coffee). Though there are not many side effects associated with kombucha consumption, WebMD lists yeast infections from too much bacteria as a possible side effect.

Kombucha is most often found in health-food stores and is known for a high price tag and a wide variety of flavors.

At the Office: Which Is Better?

Kombucha proponents seem to tout its medicinal benefits from consuming the drink often over a period of time. 5-hour Energy, in comparison, offers a quick boost to those who need it immediately. The choice between the two seems to depend on a variety of personal factors, so before picking between these purported energy- and health-boosting beverages, consider the following:

Before taking a 5-hour Energy shot, ask yourself:

  • Do you have an adverse reaction to large amounts of caffeine?
  • Are you looking for a refreshing beverage or just an energy boost?

Before drinking kombucha, ask yourself:

  • Are you prepared to consume this drink regularly in order to reap the touted health benefits?
  • Are you looking for an immediate boost of energy or an overall boost in health?

Like most similar products, the long-term effects or actual medicinal properties of 5-hour Energy and kombucha are unknown and not verified by the FDA.

The choice between the two really depends on a person’s individual constitution and immediate and long-term desired effects.

Share Your Tip

Do you prefer 5-Hour Energy or kombucha? Or maybe you have your own way of keeping alert at work. Let us know by sharing your tips below in the comments or tweet at us @TINYpulse!



Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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