Entrepreneurs to pitch 'brain boosting' coffee on Dragons' Den

Zain Peer and Shez Shaikh pitching their coffee

Zain Peer and Shez Shaikh pitching their coffee - Credit: BBC

A pair of London entrepreneurs are set to appear on TV’s Dragons' Den. 

Shez Shaikh, from Romford, and Zain Peer, of Tufnell Park, will be pitching the claimed benefits of “adaptogenic” coffee to the Dragons on BBC this Thursday, February 10. 

The duo, who have known one another since their schooldays, are co-founders of London Nootropics, which produces coffee products blended with nootropic and adaptogenic extracts. 

Nootropics are a class of substances that advocates claim can enhance brain performance. 

These include synthetic nootropics – Zain gave the example of drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and natural ones, such as Lion’s Mane mushroom or Rhodiola, which is what the pair use for their coffee. 

They also use ‘adaptogens’, natural ingredients which are claimed to help the body adapt to stress. 

While the effectiveness of various nootropics and adaptogens is disputed, Zain said the effects of the ingredients “kind of blew our minds” when they first began using them. 

Most Read

“It quickly became not just something for pre-workout but something that we would add to our coffee depending on what we needed that day,” he said. 

Zain and Shez have developed three blends: Mojo, for a pre-workout boost, Grind, for “mental clarity and focus”, and Zen, to help with stress and anxiety. 

London Nootropics, launched in March 2020, offers the micro-ground instant coffee sachets for purchase or subscription. 

As well as Lion’s Mane and Rhodiola, their coffee grinds include mixtures of CBD extract, Ashwagandha, Cordyceps and Siberian Ginseng. 

Addressing the sceptics, Zain said that everyone responded to the substances differently and recommended that people “try different adaptogens and find what works for you”. 

He was tight-lipped about their company’s success on the BBC, but said pitching to the Dragons had been an “incredible experience”. 

“This was the most nerve-wracking thing of my life,” he said. 

“It felt like we were in there for about ten minutes but we were in there for an hour and a half – we don’t even remember bits of it.” 

Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman and Sara Davies return as Dragons for this series, joined by Steven Bartlett, 29, the youngest ever Dragon.