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Our Story

Howdy, my name is Bob Kruse. I created Artificially Awake coffee. Our Story begins in 2007, Pittsburgh, PA. I came up with the name and thought it was a very profound concept describing how most of the world functions, on caffeine. Waiting in lines for coffee, waiting to wake up. It’s strange how we’re not all naturally feeling wide awake in the morning… like my kids are. Why aren’t they ever groggly and sluggish in the mornings, yet I can’t function until my second cup of coffee?

Artificially Awake because we need to be

I have a film degree and run a web design media company. I recall working until 3am on a film shoot only to have to return the next day at 6am. Without a passion for my work (and a lot of caffeine) it would have been impossible to push on.

When creating art, many of us go into the late hours driven by ideas that continue to flow, losing all track of time. We can’t stop. We don’t want to stop. We don’t want sleep to slow us down. As creative artists, many of us are artificially awake, not because we’re caffeine junkies, but because our professions drive us, our creativity drives us, our excitement of the process, and the finished product drive us to want to keep going.

The same is true for medical professionals who give up their sleep for the sake of the never-ending line of patients who need help. Or the firefighters who get a 2am call and have to rush out of bed to save a life. Or parents to have to wake up in the wee hours to take their kid to hockey practice. The scenarios where we require caffeine to complete our daily tasks and jobs are endless.

Being artificially awake isn’t something we necessarily want to be, but it’s usually something we need to be.

From web design to coffee

I’ve always been intrigued with what would happen if we took Robusta coffee beans and mixed them in with Arabica beans. Could we get more caffeine? Would it taste terrible? There had to be some magic ratio to achieve the best of both worlds, a big caffeine boost with a great taste.

Of course, there’s never time to drop everything and say hey, I quit, I’m going to start a coffee company now. I have a wife and 3 kids to feed… and a dog and a cat. My web design company has tons of clients and many ongoing projects, way too busy. I’ve been telling people for years that I was going to start a coffee company with that name, and I’d pretty much get back blank stares, sure Bob, whatever.

As the days, months, and years went by, my Youtube home screen was more and more filling and recommending various motivational videos. Even my favorite exercise guys have #DoTheThing tattooed on their arms. Subliminally, I think someone’s trying to tell me to do something. So, I slowly began to carve out time, doing tiny micro tasks to kick this coffee into motion.

Born in lock-down

Enter 2020, hello Covid-19. I learned that the first thing companies cut when they shut down is their marketing budgets. This gave me the time to really focus on how to make this coffee happen. I found a partner for roasting the coffee exactly how I wanted. And I spent months on logo design, packaging, trademarks, and marketing logistics. Eight months later, I am holding the finished product in my hand.

It took the world to shut down so I could really focus and have the time to make my dream a reality.