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have a confession: I’m hopelessly hooked on caffeine. After years of questionable coffee consumption, I can’t get through the morning uncaffeinated without developing a nasty headache, brain fog, and fatigue. (Thanks, caffeine withdrawal.)
So when our Senior Lifestyle Editor, Will Price, asked me to ditch my usual coffee to review a new caffeine alternative that would apparently still flip my brain switch to “On,” I was excited but skeptical. Rarebird’s Paraxanthine Coffee substitutes caffeine for paraxanthine (Px), which the company says may be the key to cracking my caffeine addiction. After finishing the whole bag of non-caffeinated ground coffee, here are my honest thoughts.
Why You Should Trust Us
Hone Health is a team of health-obsessed journalists, editors, fitness junkies, medical reviewers, and product testers. I ditched all other coffee and caffeine products for two weeks to test the effectiveness of Rarebird’s Px coffee, logging how this blend impacted my productivity, anxiety, and wakefulness.
What Is Rarebird Paraxanthine (Px) Coffee?
Rarebird’s Px coffee is a new kind of bean. The roaster extracts naturally occurring caffeine from their coffee beans, and infuses them with Px.
Paraxanthine (Px) is a metabolite of caffeine, meaning that your body naturally produces it while digesting your coffee, tea, or caffeinated sodas (1). Px is gaining popularity and interest among researchers due to its ability to stimulate without some of the negative side effects of caffeine consumption thought to avoid. Px lasts longer in the body and you might not have the same post-brew anxiety or mid-afternoon crash that you’d experience with regular, caffeinated beverages (2).
Rarebird won the Specialty Coffee Association’s Best New Product Award in 2023 (Open Class) for its Px coffee, which is the first of its kind.
What’s Good About Rarebird Px Coffee?
Alert without the angst
The effects of nootropics—a type of supplement that may improve cognitive function—are still relatively understudied. So, I wasn’t expecting any instant benefits from Rarebird. But just a few minutes after finishing my first cup of Px coffee, I felt more awake—about the same as finishing a regular, caffeinated coffee—and significantly less jittery than I usually am after my morning brew.
Typically, I crash from my 9 AM coffee around noon and feel sluggish the rest of the afternoon—unless I opt for another cup. But after drinking Px coffee, I was feeling perky and productive until around 3 PM. And I didn’t experience an abrupt crash as the Px wore off.
Bye, bye caffeine withdrawals
I fully expected to battle a light headache for a couple weeks while I went caffeine-free. It wasn’t until day three of testing Rarebird that I realized I hadn’t even had the slightest twinge in my temples—even though I limited my consumption to just one to two cups a day.
Now that I’m back to drinking some caffeine, I can get by with skipping a day and don’t drink nearly as much as I was before testing Rarebird. Did I accidentally purge my caffeine habit? Seems possible, if not likely. Overall, this was the biggest—and most unexpected—win from my test.
There’s one thing I won’t compromise on when it comes to coffee: great taste. I’m always iffy about “high tech” or wellness driven coffees, as I feel like taste is often compromised during the quest to make the next best functional beverage. That’s not the case with Rarebird, as the roaster is starting with specialty-grade Arabica green coffee (in other words, they’re buying the good stuff and making it the better stuff).
I noticed hints of brown sugar and a subtle chocolate-y tone—exactly what I gravitate towards for a fall and winter brew. In fact, this blend is so delicious I’ve started choosing it over my favorite Trader Joe’s beans in the AM based on taste alone.
If you’re a coffee bean connoisseur, you know that many of the industry’s farming and trading practices are… not great (to say the very, very least).
Rarebird’s coffee is sourced from sustainability-focused farmers in Sucafina Colombia. They partner with third-party coffee sourcers to ensure that farmers are being treated and compensated fairly. Plus, for every bag of coffee they sell, Rarebird contributes to The Farmgate Initiative—which supports the communities that produce the coffee.
What’s Not Good About Rarebird Px Coffee?
Great coffee comes at a price
This coffee would be a steal if I could harness my Px-fueled productivity to double my budget. Unfortunately, shelling out $30 for one 12 ounce bag of ground coffee is hard to justify. I finished the bag of beans in about four weeks.
Though paraxanthine-fueled energy products are very new, others, like Update Energy Drinks, is also significantly more expensive than its traditional, caffeinated peers.
If you love Rarebird’s coffee, you have the option to subscribe and save for a 40 percent discount—so you can get a new bag every four weeks for $18.
The Bottom Line
If you’re trying to squash your caffeine habit or need an energy boost without the extra angst, Rarebird Px coffee is worth a try—as long as a $30 bag of ground beans is in your budget.