Phil Mickelson and I have little in common.
He’s a 50-year-old American. I’m a 36-year-old Scot.
He plays golf for a living. I write about it.
He’s earned over $92million. I’ve earned… much less.
He has calves like Adonis. I have calves like OOB stakes.
We’re about as similar as fire and ice. That being said, one of our few shared passions is coffee.
I’ve been on the coffee bandwagon, much to my dentist’s chagrin, since my early teens. Being lactose intolerant, I drink it black. I have no interest in milk substitutes. Give me it straight and give me it strong. Just don’t give me it out of a petrol station ‘express machine’. That stuff’s weaker than my grip.
I’ve been through several coffee machines – filter, capsule, bean-to-cup, you name it – and, as I’ve got older, my taste has become more discerning. Don't get me wrong, I'm no connoisseur but put it this way: if I ask you for a ristretto and you bring me an espresso, I won’t be impressed.
So, to say my interest was piqued when Mickelson decided to enter the caffeine arena would be putting it milder than arabica beans.
Can one of golf’s most prolific winners blend into the competitive world of coffee and make an instant impression?
Or will it be a short-lived and bitter experience that leaves him looking like a bit of a mug?
There’s only one way to find out…
DRESS CODES, TRUMP'S SECOND COURSE & BAD HABITS! PLUS MARTIN LAIRD EXCLUSIVE!
Several years in the making, Coffee For Wellness was officially launched on September 29, the USA’s ‘National Coffee Day’, and is the result of a collaboration between Mickelson and performance coach Dave Phillips.
In 2018, Mickelson spent ten days in Hawaii – but it was no holiday. Instead, he went there to reset his health and his golf game. Six of those were spent fasting, drinking only water and a unique coffee blend that he had crafted in partnership with Phillips.
It had the desired effect.
Mickelson returned to competition leaner and more energised than ever. Subsequently, he and Phillips set out to perfect their coffee recipe. They wanted a make something that, first and foremost, tasted great and, just as importantly, delivered tangible health benefits.
Together with Arkansas-based firm Westrock Coffee, they found their magic beans, ethically sourced from farmers in Africa and South America. Their blend is roasted to preserve the natural antioxidants present in coffee that help to reduce stress, resist fatigue and improve cognitive function.
Into that, they added ‘The Good Stuff’, a special blend of brain-boosting, energy-enhancing superfoods. Served in a powder and poured directly into a cup of their special blend, it contains: MCT powder, to boost your metabolism; L-Theanine, to sharpen your focus; Collagen (yes, really), to support skin health; Ceylon cinnamon, for joint health; and Himalayan pink salt, which supplies electrolytes to your system.
“It’s got all the good stuff you need to perform your best”, says the marketing blurb.
But does it?
Coffee For Wellness is available to buy direct from the website. At present, you can buy a ten-pack of single-serve pods with accompanying sachets of The Good Stuff for $25.99. Alternatively, you can subscribe for $59.99 per month, in return for which you will receive 30 pods and packets as well as a free tumbler.
I went for the former.
With the products coming from the US, I had to pay an additional $20 in shipping, so my total bill was $44.99. Exchanged into British money, that worked out at £33.89. Sounds a lot but when you consider that a ‘venti’ Americano from a certain Seattle-based chain will set you back around £2.45, paying £3.39 for a mug of supposedly ‘better’ coffee that has been shipped halfway around the world suddenly doesn’t seem all that bad. Plus, Coffee For Wellness doesn't intentionally spell your name wrong for marketing japes...
The packaging is so neat and compact that it presumably would give Jeff Bezos the sweats. It's also monochromatically slick.
It was only when I opened the box and took a closer look at the pods enclosed that I encountered the first obstacle.
Full review incoming... ☕ pic.twitter.com/mHG9DwFClk— Michael McEwan (@MMcEwanGolf) October 23, 2020
The kicker (and the solution)
Coffee pods vary in size and design from one brand to the next. As a result, they tend to only be compatible with certain types of machines. There’s no universal pod shape and system – and that appears to be just how the manufacturers like it.
Coffee For Wellness pods are compatible with Keurig 2.0 brewing systems. Keurig is a well-established name in the US – it’s the best-selling coffee maker in North America, in fact – but here in the UK, they’re less easy to come by.
I’ve currently got a DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Infinissima machine, so the Coffee For Wellness pods don’t fit.
A problem, but not an insurmountable one. In the event that you don’t want to shell out on a Keurig, there are various ‘hacks’ for using their pods that are detailed on YouTube. If you’ve got a tea strainer, or even just a saucepan and a pair of scissors, you can still use them. A little bit of DIY later, my Phil Mickelson coffee (cophee?) was ready to taste.
So, here’s the thing – it’s weirdly delicious.
I can’t really speak to what it tastes like with milk, for reasons I’ve explained, but compared to my usual morning cuppa it’s… surprisingly different. Good different, that is.
Black coffee is often sharp and bitter but that edge is missing from Coffee For Wellness, which is a bit of a surprise considering the strong, rich aroma it releases whilst it brews. That might be down to the addition of ‘The Good Stuff’. The cinnamon notes are unmistakable without being overpowering. That, I suspect, is what softens the tang you normally associate with rich, black coffee. Second time around, I could definitely taste the salt a little more. Like I say, weird, but not necessarily in a bad way.
I was surprised to see how much of an impact the sachet had on the colour of my drink, too. It transforms into a vivid, chocolatey brown. Jarring, initially, but you soon get over it.
As for the many health and wellness properties promised, I think it’s too soon to say. I definitely felt more energised and alert after drinking it but I can’t decide if those effects are psychosomatic or real. Some things definitely haven't changed: my calves are still awful and I’m not hitting bombs so much as half-filled water balloons.
I suppose there’s a reason they didn't call it Coffee For Miracles.
The scores (out of 5)
Taste – 4.5
Aroma – 5
Value – 4
Ease of use – 3.5
Overall – 4.5