Are trendy coffee micro-roastries like Tim Wendelboe and Lofted, a two-man show out of a Bushwick loft that doubles as both employees’ living space, just getting too mainstream for you? Then it may be time for Chernyi Black.
Like most third-wave coffees, Black is purchasable online. Unlike other coffees of any kind, it’s for sale at cherniyx23pmfane.onion, a website found on the darknet that you’ll only be visiting after you figure out how to use Tor. The .onion domain was designed to let people buy things anonymously — things that maybe aren’t super legal — and the gimmick is the brainchild of a Russian outfit called Chernyi Collective. People who get the product page to load will find bags of “1,3,7-Trimethylpurine-2,6-dione” (the chemical formula for caffeine) with roast profiles that feature “sour citrus notes” and “a long sweet finish.” The creators hope it’s eye-catching enough to pry Russians out of the culturally ingrained mind-set that coffee is inferior to tea, or somehow even dangerous. “There is a generally held perception in Russia that coffee is harmful and shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis,” co-owner Artem Temirov explains to Adweek. “We love flipping stereotypes upside down.” So they started selling nature’s miracle drug to people on a platform many believe exists solely for drug trafficking.
They’ve apparently achieved some success already by promoting Black on flyers in trendy Moscow clubs, and by releasing this fun video that looks like an ad for the defunct Deep Web marketplace Silk Road:
As Adweek points out, you could substitute krokodil every time coffee appears in the video and hardly even blink. Might as well make that darknet trip a two-for-one purchase?