Last Updated on January 23, 2024
Have you ever put your coffee mug down for a minute, only to come back and find your dog sniffing around it?
Or worse, dipping his tongue in it?
It’s a problem at my house. And it was a problem at Michele Sykora’s house, too. Her dog Thai, part Labrador retriever, wouldn’t leave her lattes alone.
That sparked a business idea for Sykora: coffee for dogs.
Sykora and her business partners have launched a new doggy drink called Barkista—a canine play on the word “barista.”
The word ‘coffee’ really belongs in air-quotes here, because the truth is, this ‘coffee’ for dogs doesn’t actually contain any coffee at all.
“Unfortunately, human coffee is bad for dogs because it contains caffeine. Dogs have an extremely low tolerance for caffeine, and it can be deadly,” said Sykora, who runs Barkista with two of her fellow dog-loving family members, Ryan Mitchell and Danielle Sykora. “We are very passionate about what our dogs put in their bodies. We wanted to make sure all of our ingredients were 100-per-cent natural, and contribute to the well being and health of our dogs.”
After researching the market and concluding that dogs were indeed being underserved when it came to coffee, the founders began researching potential ingredients.
Their experimentation eventually led them to goat’s milk, which is easily digestible for dogs, and medicinal mushrooms that deliver many of the same antioxidant benefits as coffee.
Finally, they came up with a few extra natural flavoring ingredients so they could offer dogs some Starbucks-like diversity in their choice of beverage.
Now you can fix your dog a caramel latte (flavored with dehydrated date powder), a mocha latte (carob) or a pumpkin spice latte (pumpkin powder and organic cinnamon). You and your best friend can curl up on the couch and sip your morning coffees together.
Barkista is as easy to make as instant coffee. It’s a pouch full of powder that you just mix with water. And if instant coffee is still too much work for you, you can buy their K-9 coffee pods and plop them into your Keurig machine.
I know what you’re thinking: Wait…they want me to put dog food into the same machine that brews my morning coffee?
Well, all the ingredients in Barkista are not only dog-safe, they’re human-safe as well. Sykora and her partners have tried them all, and she promises they’re “pretty tasty!”
I’ll admit that as a coffee guy, I was a little let down that there wasn’t any actual coffee involved. But as a dog guy, I can let that slide. According to Sykora, most customers are relieved to learn that Barkista contains no caffeine. Instead, she tells them about the natural sedative properties of the red Reishi mushroom, which reduces stress and brings calm relaxation to dogs—quite the opposite of caffeine jitters!
Since launching just a few months ago, Barkista has made its way to the shelves of more than 35 pet stores and the family has big plans to expand further in 2024.
If you want to treat your dog to something different, you can find Barkista online at barkistadogcoffee.com.