This coffee really sucks.
A nutty Harvard professor has put a jolt in the java trade with a strange new inhalable espresso -- allowing caffeine fiends to breathe in their morning cup of joe.
"That's what I do with all of my food anyway," said Esther Green, a tourist from Toronto who sampled Le Whif yesterday at Dylan's Candy Bar on the Upper East Side.
The coffee hits consist of powder inside lipstick-like containers that are pulled open, inserted in the mouth and inhaled.
The sticks are sold individually for $3 or in boxes of three for $8 -- and each stick delivers 100 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of a cup of espresso.
A whiffer can get up to nine hits from an individual stick, depending on how hard they inhale.
But it's not everyone's cup of tea.
"That's not a child's flavor," Green said, after taking a generous "drag."
"It's interesting. On the espresso side. I don't know. I need some mocha."
Dylan's -- the city's sole purveyor of the kooky coffee -- sold out of 108 individual servings and 93 three-packs in a matter of hours during Thursday's unveiling.
They're restocking a limited supply on Wednesday and they hope to fill the shelves again toward the end of the month. Dylan's still has inhalable versions of chocolate in stock.
A gourmet market in Cambridge, Mass., is the only place in the United States to buy Le Whif.
"Here's a customer right here for you," Green said, offering her son Jacob a puff of powdered chocolate.
"I don't know," he said, after trying it. "It's like if you bent over a bowl of chocolate shavings and breathed in."
The bizarre brew was concocted in a Paris lab by Harvard professor David Edwards and chef Thierry Marx.
Edwards, a biological engineer, designed the airborne coffee and food particles to be too large to enter the lungs.
Instead, they land on the tongue and cheeks, giving the taste, and kick, of coffee without the cup.
"It's less than one calorie a puff, so you can taste the chocolate without the calories," said Dylan's spokeswoman, Jordan Kerr.
By KIRSTAN CONLEY
March 13, 2010