Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Java Gum: Waking You Up and No Hot Coffee Needed

Java Gum?

You bet! Calling all ultralight hikers and those who ask the timeless question “How can I get my caffeine fix without boiling water?” (Seriously, that comes up on hiking forums way too often.)

Dani (she is our FBC Cozy producer, btw) took on the chewing and sampling, since she needed a perk me up. She is my twin in caffeine keeping us functioning.65 mg of caffeine in a small piece of gum. An easy to take amount (consider this, a 5 Hour Energy shot™ you see in stores has 200 mg!), it wakes you up but doesn’t cause a lot of jittery, shakiness.






Java Gum –

Need a perk up? Need to get past the 3pm energy down swing? In my case, I needed to drive another 65 miles to make it safely home and I could feel my attention waning. And my energy flagging. And the whole day of driving, visiting friends, and that early morning smacking me with the sleep stick… Was it really just that morning I had left the house?

I knew I had Java Gum in the car and I certainly wasn’t afraid to try them out. Granted, it has been many years, decades really, since my No-Doz™ days of working two jobs, going to college and the jittery sort of wakefulness that tells the world to not be around you when you come crashing down.

The beauty of the bubble pack is you can get it open while driving. Sure, I pulled over to find it amongst the bags in my back seat, but I immediately saw the advantage of keeping it in the front seat with me. I can definitely imagine these on a road trip, able to make more miles because I’m not stopping for constant coffee/potty breaks.

Just be more prepared than I the first time you chomp into one. They aren’t kidding around with the peppermint oil here. It’s like chewing an Altoid™ at first and that in itself will wake you up! It keeps it flavor nicely, but don’t expect to be able to blow bubbles. It isn’t that kind of gum. I happily chewed away, trying, trying, and trying to blow a bubble. What can I say? I am easily entertained. I spit it out after 15 minutes to see if that would be enough for the caffeine effect. And indeed it was.

Around the 30 minute mark, I could tell I was more alert and perky, but it wasn’t that jolty, wired feeling I get from an energy drink. It was a just woke-up-from-a-nap, ready-to-go-do-something sort of alert. Sweet! At least I will be alert enough to pay attention to the construction speed zones and not get a ticket. I make it home around 10:30 pm and am wide awake.

It has now been 1 ½ hours and not wearing down. I find myself tinkering around the house and on the internet until 1:30am. I didn’t try to go to sleep before then, but I didn’t feel as if it would have been too difficult. I simply enjoyed being awake at a time I rarely am.

I wake up the next morning at my usual 6:30am. Wandering out to get the coffee pot percolating, I realize I have no ill effects from my unnatural nocturnal evening. There had been no crash, no fast heart beat, no staring at the ceiling wondering when I would sleep. Convenient? Heck, yeah. Will I be hoarding this stuff? Probably. Will it go with me on my next road trip? Most definitely!

~Dani Hendrickson

Dani Hendrickson lives on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington State.


When she isn’t at her day job, or sewing FBC Cozies for Trail Cooking, she is hiking and winning blue ribbons for her preserving & canning skills.


FTC Disclaimer: We received product samples for potential review.

2 thoughts on “Java Gum: Waking You Up and No Hot Coffee Needed

  1. Interesting… but for hiking, I then have chewed gum to carry…

    I think a few mm’s and just eating some roasted beans may be better…

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