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Peoria coffee company uses electrolytes to hydrate and caffeinate at the same time

Founder and CEO of ElectroBrew Timothy Anders (right) with CFO Travis Weaver
Jody Holtz
Founder and CEO of ElectroBrew Timothy Anders (right) with CFO Travis Weaver

A new coffee company started in Peoria promises to hydrate and caffeinate you at the same time.

Timothy Anders is the founder and CEO of ElectroBrew, a ground coffee infused with electrolytes. Anders said the idea came to him after he frequently found himself putting a dash of salt in his coffee to offset its diuretic effects, a practice he said is common in the Keto and intermittent fasting community.

“I really enjoyed, I guess you could say, some of the health hacks trying to find ways just to feel better, perform at a higher level,” Anders explained. “You try and convince other people to add salt to their coffee, not really well received. A lot of people just want their coffee to be pure coffee flavor…so I was like, that seems like an opening,” he said.

Anders said the process of creating and testing the product took about nine months. The branding took about an additional four months.

Travis Weaver, member-elect of the Illinois House of Representatives, was a founding investor and is current CFO of ElectroBrew. Anders and Weaver note Peoria businesses were crucial in getting ElectroBrew up and running.

“It really highlighted the best of Peoria where we've really been fortunate to have some great partners,” said Weaver. “CxT coffee shop was our first supplier to kind of help us get off the ground. He mentioned Preckshot as somebody who's been helping us sell, over at Running Central they've been a great partner for us. They were also an early investor… Bushwhacker sells our product. I mean, I just think it really highlights how good of a community it is where people want to see you be successful.”

The process of infusing electrolytes into coffee took some time to perfect. The brand currently has a patent-pending binding process. Anders provided a basic overview.

ElectroBrew comes in a dark and medium roast. Anders said flavored blends are in the works.
ElectroBrew comes in a dark and medium roast. Anders said flavored blends are in the works.

“What it really came down to was just testing a variety of ingredients…actually down at Adams Street we were using the commercial kitchen down there…and so just by working there, we found some of these ingredients, the way they were working in a way that worked well to bind the electrolytes to the coffee itself. So that way, you didn't have coffee essentially settling in the bag, which was a concern and a problem initially when we were starting to try to figure this out,” explained Anders.

The primary electrolyte ingredients are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B. Anders said there is no sacrifice for the consumer in regards to taste, or the way in which the coffee is brewed. While there currently is some other competition out on the market, Anders and Weaver believe there is still a pretty open field.

“I would say there's a lot of substitutes,” said Weaver. “So like, you might have heard of MUD/WTR, Athletic Greens, they're what you might call a morning beverage, but they're not coffee. Whereas for ElectroBrew, it actually is your traditional coffee. It just doesn't have all the side effects because we discount the dehydration with adding in the electrolytes,” he said.

Anders said these added electrolytes within the coffee help hydrate cells as opposed to what typically happens when one might enjoy a cup of joe in the morning.

“You'll have a hormone that's actually an anti-diuretic hormone suppressed, so that actually creates a process where you lose electrolytes. And coffee itself actually has potassium naturally occurring in it, so a piece that we had to add in that was really important is the sodium because that will actually help you retain that water,” explained Anders.

When it came to marketing ElectroBrew, Weaver and Anders initially thought there would be a place for it in the specialty coffee market. They quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

“They want their pure unadulterated bean as it is, came from Honduras, Costa Rica, you name it, which, you know, I appreciate as well,” Anders said.

Where ElectroBrew did find success was within the active community due to caffeine’s performance boosting effects and the need for athletes to consume enough electrolytes after a hard workout. Travis Weaver said he can attest to the impact ElectroBrew has had on his personal workouts.

“If I was going to go on a morning run, there's no way I was going to drink coffee before I was gonna go run 10 miles. Now with ElectroBrew, I drink coffee before I go to the gym, and I love it,” he said. “First of all, it's hydrating. It puts in electrolytes, but it also kind of acts like a pre workout because you're getting some caffeine with it as well.”

When considering the future of ElectroBrew, Anders said big box stores are certainly on the table.

“I think a long-term goal, a big box store might make sense. But I think right now, we're just trying to get at least out to our niche audience initially, and then some smaller, more specialty grocery stores, because we do have a slightly different price point than some other coffees on the market,” said Anders.

Currently, the coffee costs $10 for an eight-ounce bag at Running Central in Peoria. Anders said prices will have to increase soon due to inflation.

The coffee bean is from the Karo Highlands of Indonesia and is sourced locally from CxT Roasting Company as well as another supplier in Naperville. ElectroBrew is available to purchase online, or locally at Preckshot Pharmacy, Bushwhacker, Running Central or Lindy’s Downtown Market.

Jody Holtz is WCBU's assistant program and development director, All Things Considered host, as well as the producer of WCBU’s arts and culture podcast Out and About.