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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Know Brainer Hot Drinks > Test Report by Andrea Murland

KnowBrainer Keto Instants
Test Series by Andrea Murland

Initial Report - September 23, 2017
Long Term Report - January 30, 2018

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 32
Location: Elkford, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 130 lb (59 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

Initial Report – September 23, 2017

Product Information

Manufacturer: Know Brainer Foods LLC
Manufacturer's URL:
Year of Manufacture: 2017
MSRP: US $2.00 for creamers, not available for other products
Products Tested: Original Ketogenic Coffee, Mocha Ketogenic Coffee, French Vanilla Ketogenic Coffee,
Ketogenic Hot Chocolate, Ketogenic Chai Tea, Original the thinker’s Creamer
Listed Weight: Varies by Product, Net Weight 0.9-1.3 oz (28-38 g)
Measured Weight: Varies by Product, 1.1-1.5 oz (31-43 g)
KnowBrainer Packets

Description & Initial Impressions

The KnowBrainer products are a line of hot drinks and creamers that are high-fat and low-carb. They are compatible with a ketogenic diet, and there are options that are compatible with a dairy-free diet as well. The base of all of the products is MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, from coconut oil, and most of the products I am testing have clarified butter as the second ingredient. The packaging also indicates that the products are gluten-free and non-GMO.

The products are packaged in individual serving packets, which measure 12 x 7 cm (4.7 x 2.8 in). The packets feel plasticized and are pliable. The contents feel like a thick liquid.

The instructions on the products are: “ knead & squeeze me before opening. Then just add to a cup of hot water and stir me up, buttercup.” The creamer instructions are worded slightly differently (since it’s being added to a cup of coffee), but are essentially the same.


The KnowBrainer drinks look like a nice option in the backcountry! I usually can’t be bothered with making coffee in the backcountry and packing in sweetener and creamer, so the combined instant product seems like what I’m looking for. We’ll have to see how I like the taste and also how much energy the high-fat boost in the morning gives me!

Long Term Report - January 30, 2018

Field Conditions

I used most of the KnowBrainer drinks early in the test period, in October, and used the last in January. I first used the French Vanilla coffee on a 29 km (18 mi) overnight on the west coast of Canada, taking it for a morning drink. The morning was mild, about 10 C (50 F), and dry (we got soaked later). The Mocha Coffee, Coffee, Chai Tea, and Creamer I took on a 41 km (25.5 mi) 2-night trip in the Canadian Rockies. I drank the two coffees for morning drinks, and the Chai Tea and Creamer in the evenings. The weather was mostly dry but cool, with nights around freezing temperatures and a bit of snow the second night. The final drink I tested was the Hot Chocolate, which I took on a 2-night hut-based ski touring trip. The approach (and exit) from the hut is 5 km (3.1 mi) long. It was nice and warm in the hut in the morning, thanks to being the latest riser.


In general, I found the coffee products to be too bitter for my tastes without adding sugar. As I mentioned in my initial report, I drink my coffee with milk and sugar. These products had the milk covered, but were less sweet than my preference. I did find that compared to when I have my usual sugary hot chocolate for breakfast, it did take longer to get hungry after breakfast. That may have been a coincidence, or it may have been due to the extra protein and fat in the KnowBrainer drinks.

Kneading the packages before mixing the drinks was a bit fun, and definitely necessary. On the coldest morning that I made a KnowBrainer, the package felt a bit hard, but kneading it got it all warmed up, mixed, and able to flow out of the package. The packages were challenging to open with gloves on, and I needed a knife. Getting the product out of the package was a bit messy. It flowed out to start, but squeezing the rest out was a two-handed job and I usually got some on my fingers.

Here are some points specific to the various flavours:
French Vanilla Coffee: I didn’t like this flavour very much. This was the first one I tried, and I discovered that they were bitter. However, this one had an undertone of vanilla, and I’m not a vanilla lover.
Original Coffee: I was more prepared for the bitterness when I drank this one. I enjoyed the creaminess of the butter, though it did add a bit of a distinctive flavour to the coffee. I was mostly focused on the coffee taste and gave in half-way through the cup and added some sweet liquor.
Mocha Coffee: This one was still bitter, but I much preferred the chocolate tones to the French Vanilla I’d previously tried.
Chai Tea: This was a nice, spicy mix. I liked the creaminess of it, too. I do like a tiny bit of sweetener in my chai when it’s this spicy (I like it plain when it’s milder), but I enjoyed this cup.
Original Creamer: I used the creamer with a cup of regular tea. It added a nice creaminess to my tea, though the flavour was different than adding milk to tea. When hot water was first added, it looked more like an emulsion than a mixture, but I put the lid of my cup on and ignored it.
Hot Chocolate: I really liked this drink. It was less sweet than my normal hot chocolate, but the flavour was nice and chocolatey.
Mixed Drinks


Testing the KnowBrainer drinks gave me some nice variety this autumn in my camp drink choices. For the most part, I prefer a sweeter coffee, though, so I think I’ll stick to just skipping the hassle of coffee!

Thumbs Up:
Creamy drink
Good morning energy

Thumbs Down:
Bitter coffee (to someone who uses sugar)
Packages hard to open with gloves

Thanks to KnowBrainer and for the chance to test these hot drinks. They were an interesting change from routine!

Read more gear reviews by Andrea Murland

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Know Brainer Hot Drinks > Test Report by Andrea Murland

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