What Professional Chefs Think About Astronaut Coffee

The pleasures and drawbacks of caffeine, Capri Sun-ified

So we finally have an answer to that age-old culinary question: What do professional foodies think about ... space coffee?

Two celebrity chefs -- David Chang of Momofuku and Traci Des Jardins of Jardiniere -- made a trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Their particular mission? To do some testing of the culinary offerings developed in the Space Food Systems Laboratory.

The pair sampled two different be-baggied beverages -- Kona Coffee With Cream and Kona Coffee With Cream and Sugar -- each containing rehydrated coffee paired, as the baggies' labels suggest, with the traditional accompaniments. And the chefs compared the results sort-of favorably to coffee of a more Earthly variety: Astro-coffee tastes a little like Folger's, they said, or Taster's Choice. Not great ... but, hey, not bad, either.

The pair differed a little, though, when it came to the coffee's packaging: a Capri Sun-style pouch complete with a substantial built-in straw. While Des Jardins found the experience of drinking warm coffee through a straw "very strange," Chang was a fan of the microgravity-friendly incarnation of the classic coffee mug. He's clumsy, he said, so caffeine delivered in an unbreakable pouch is actually sort of ideal for him. "I'm thinking this is actually a pretty ingenious way to drink coffee in the morning."

Your move, Starbucks.

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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