We're already a month into 2019, and if you're still riding out that resolution, kudos. Was your resolution to take better care of yourself, eat better and get more rest and exercise? Then Mike Choyama wants to help.
Choyama, the creator of Mellow Rooster, doesn't want you to stop drinking coffee. In fact, he's a self-proclaimed coffee lover. If there's anything he loves more than coffee, though, it's sleep. A self-identified sleep obsessor, he takes sleep pretty seriously, curtailing his daily coffee consumption around 11 a.m. most days and using an Oura ring to track how many hours of deep sleep he gets every night. "So much magic happens while we sleep," explains Choyama. He wants to help others achieve maximum good-quality sleep, too.
As owner of a pain and mobility clinic called Sidekick Bodywork, at 127 Pennsylvania Street in Capitol Hill, Choyama found a number of his customers experiencing symptoms caused by lack of sleep, and others unable to drink coffee because of gut issues.
"A lot of my clients were people who drank a lot of coffee but can't have it anymore — their body just rejects it. I never want to get to that point," says Choyama. "I want to be able to drink coffee for the rest of my life." His observations led him to develop Mellow Rooster, an herbal drink meant for consumption in place of coffee.
Caffeine's "half life" (as experts call it) is about 4 to 6 hours, so depending on what time you go to bed, it can greatly affect your body's ability to rest for up to 12 hours after consumption. Choyama created Mellow Rooster to help people drink caffeine responsibly. "Mellow Rooster believes in enjoying a flavorful cup of joe first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or after a good meal," Choyama notes. "But never at the expense of a good, restful night's sleep."
All-organic ingredients in Mellow Rooster include mission fig, chicory, ashwagandha and dandelion roots, lemon and orange peel, and carob. Although the taste isn't quite like coffee for any avid drinker, Choyama says his ultimate goal wasn't to replicate coffee but to re-create the ritual and give an alternative to decaf. Mellow Rooster can be used in place of coffee using your favorite brew technique, whether it be a pour-over, Chemex, French press or automatic drip. Retail bags of Mellow Rooster can be found for sale at Nooch Vegan Market, Woodhouse Day Spa, Moondance Botanicals and Thump, among others. One twelve-ounce bag makes about forty cups of coffee and runs $14.
If your coffee ritual involves letting the pros prepare it for you to drink during a business meeting or meetup with friends, there are options for that, too. Local coffee haunts Husdon Hill, Just Be Kitchen and Thump's Broadway location all serve Mellow Rooster.
"A rooster is a universal symbol for waking up, but this rooster is a gentle soul who wants to help you wake up on your own terms," explains Choyama. "He's a chill guy. He goes with the flow. He says, 'Wake up, or don't. Whatever you're into.'"
Everyone could benefit from a little more sleep, whether you're passionate about it or not. In addition to retail locations around town, Choyama and Mellow Rooster can be found at their new office in RiNo, at 3300 Walnut Street, Suite 215.