I still remember the first time I tried dip. I had passed basic training (Army), AIT, and was in the middle of airborne school at Ft. Benning (GA). We had completed all necessary training before our first jump. The following day was scheduled as our first of five jumps needed to graduate Airborne school. I was nervous, I had never jumped out of a plane. If I am to be honest, the only reason why I was in Airborne school was that it was a prerequisite for RIP (renamed to RASP) which would eventually lead to a place in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Even after getting to 2nd Ranger Battalion I only ever enjoyed one jump, and it was into a lake.

I digress. As I paced nervously around the tiny barracks room, another solider (also on his way to tryout for the 75th Ranger Regiment) called over in his southern accent, “Dang it Robert, you keep walking like that you are gonna wear a hole in the floor”. I couldn’t understand how he could be so calm. I walked over and asked him. He responded, not with words, but by reaching into his BDU pocket and pulling out a can of Copenhagen. He explained the process of dipping to me, and how it kept him calm. F&*k it I thought, and gave it a try.

He was right, I was calm and felt amazing. I remember the black hats (cadre in charge at Airborne school) yelling, “outbound personnel stand up”, so I stood up with my whole cheek packed with Copenhagen. We went through the standard routine for jumping; hooking up, equipment check, sounding off, spacing out slightly, the 1 min, 30 seconds, and the green light. I jumped free of the C130 transporting us, and upon the opening shock of the parachute all the dip that was in my mouth promptly left and coated the front of my uniform. I didn’t care, and it was awesome.

Grinds: An Alternative to Chewing Tobacco
The lid has a small pop-off cap where you can store a pouch in a pinch

It wasn’t until after my military career that I decided that I needed to stop dipping. The largest deciding factor, kids. I wanted to be around when they got older, and I also didn’t want to promote a bad habit. I kicked the habit, but it always lingered there waiting for me to welcome it back. This couldn’t be it, there had to be something like dip without the harsh consequences.

The answer was Grinds. Their website explains grinds as, “grinds, or grinds coffee pouches, are small pouches of flavored coffee that can help you feel sharp and focused throughout the day or night. Each is packed with plenty of B-Vitamins for energy and other important nutrients to keep you bright and alert” (getgrinds.com).

Basically, they use small punches (similar to ones used for dip), pack them with coffee (and flavor), and you can dip without tobacco or nicotine. Yes, no tobacco, no nicotine. However, because they use coffee (which is a stimulant) you get a very similar buzz to actual dip. Each pouch is the equivalent to about 1/4 cup of coffee. You can spit (just like dip), or swallow it without concern of causing harm.

The guys who invented grinds did so after trying to dip coffee in college. After some trial and error, they were able to market their product as a safe alternative to chewing tobacco. With this focus (safe alternative) they have found a market in baseball, the military, and anyone looking to kick the chewing habit. They even did an appearance on the TV show Shark Tank (a show where business owners pitch ideas to investors that have the ability to make them offers on the spot).

Currently, Grinds come in six flavors: caramel, cinnamon roll, mint-chocolate, peppermint, vanilla, and mocha. There are several ways that you can purchase this product. You can do a 3-pack sampler, 6-pack sampler, single flavor [3,6,10,20] pack. You can also set up a Grinds subscription which will automatically ship out a pre-selected amount of cans at a frequency that you can customize. They also offer clothing merchandise if you are so inclined.

Grinds: An Alternative to Chewing Tobacco
Ingredient list. Notice the NO tobacco/nicotine banner

I know how hard it is for barrel-chested, steely eyed freedom fighters to give up their vices, but eventually, bad habits will catch you in the end. This is a safe alternative to chewing tobacco that anyone trying to quit should definitely try. Even if you aren’t trying to quit, this product is a great workaround for tobacco-free campuses. The can has clearly labeled NO TOBACCO, NO NICOTINE, this is not a tobacco product, which should be enough if you are challenged about chewing. 

These also make great aids for hunting, or while you are in the outdoors. No more needing to pack a small camp stove, or Jetboil to make yourself some coffee while deep in the woods. Simply pop one of these guys in and start your morning off right, with caffeine.

You can get your own Grinds here.