Steve Gilbank has created something he's hopefuland confidentwill take off. Caffeinated water.
"I came up with the idea a couple years ago. I was flying across the country on an airplane and had a lot of coffee but was limited in my choices of a follow up," said Gilbank. "It hit me as I was looking at a healthy alternative for getting energy, why can't I get caffeinated water?"
Months of market research and more months of product development all led up to the debut of Element in mid-July. It's purified water, natural caffeine extracted from green coffee beans and theanine, found in the extract of green tea leaves that enhances focus and concentration. One bottle of Element is equal to a small coffee or a 16-ounce diet soda.
His palate and those of Saratoga Springs residents who sampled Element, say the caffeinated water tastes like, well, water.
"I think until someone pops the cap and makes that decision for themselves, I like to let them make that judgment," said Gilbank.
Getting Element shelf-ready was no easy feat.
"There was a lot of market research to determine is it a viable product for market, what's the interest, the target market, all those things. Then it's about developing the product itself," said Gilbank.
Figuring out a tasteless way to mix caffeine with purified water was tricky.
"Caffeine in its natural form is extremely bitter if we were going to make a purified product taste just like water, we needed to get over the hurdle of the main ingredient not having a taste," said Gilbank.
He did that by consulting chemists and flavor companies to develop the perfect formula. The addition of theanine provided Element with its "slogan": hydrate, motivate, concentrate.
"For the type of person who's a healthful, busy, energetic professional or family-oriented person, during the day they're getting pulled in so many different directions," said Gilbank. "Theanine is the one ingredient in green tea separate from all the antioxidants that enhances focus and concentration."