The Oscar nominee debuts his happy coffee company in an interview with PEOPLE. "To me, it is family. It is home," Downey Jr. says of his love of coffee
Robert Downey Jr. takes coffee seriously — very seriously.
The star, who just landed his third Oscar nomination for his role in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, has been running on it. Every morning, “I roll out of bed, I hit my knees. I have one of several prayers, usually of gratitude or just being like, ‘Please let me stay out of my way.’ And then I roll downstairs for coffee,” the actor, 58, tells PEOPLE. “I credit coffee, in part, for my sanity.”
Downey Jr.’s wife of 18 years, producer Susan Downey, can attest to that. “When we have some big day ahead of us, she’s like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, don’t talk to him yet,’” he says. “And she’ll bring me a cup.”
Now the star is throwing his hat into the caffeinated ring, launching the new happy coffee company, which runs the gamut of whole beans, ground, instant coffee and K-cup-compatible pods. Downey Jr. — a “multitasker” at heart — has been developing the company for two years with entrepreneur Craig Dubitsky (of EOS lip balm and Hello dental product fame). Together, they’re hoping to add a jolt of joy to the marketplace.
“It's just become such a massive industry, but we realized you're either getting stuff that tastes like pencil shavings, or you're getting the [artisanal] stuff that was passed through the small intestine of a yak,” cracks Downey Jr.
Packaged in futuristic, ergonomically-designed pods, happy coffee blends are available in light, medium, and dark roasts with smile-inducing flavor profiles including “unexpected touches like cacao and contentment,” “notes of cashew and elation” and “toasted biscotti and levity.” Prices start at $10.
Its founders strove to create a satisfying experience with specialty-level blends made with beans sourced in a traceable manner. “We didn't want to be, we made up this word, baristacrats. We didn't want to be snobby,” Dubitsky says. “It was important for us to make something that could elevate the every day.”
Downey Jr. cites a love of the classic hot beverage back to his childhood. “To me, it is family," he says. "It is home. I associate that morning coffee with my mom, getting ready to drive me to school. You want to talk about ‘mother's little helper’ back in the '60s and '70s, it's the unsung hero of proper parenting.”
Today, the retired Iron Man takes his brew black (“my missus, she needs a little oat milk”) and aims to give back: happy has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and offers information on how to find assistance on its labeling.
The partnership felt natural to the founders. “Coffee sparks conversation," says Dubitsky. "And loneliness is another big, big epidemic in this country. In some ways, we're not in the coffee business, we're in the happy business. That said, we're still making sure the coffee is awesome.”
And while Downey Jr. may not be an expert bean connoisseur, the actor enters the marketplace a self-described coffee enthusiast — who knows a good cup of joe when he drinks it.
“Honestly, I love it so much that I'm agnostic about whether it's low-end stuff that you're getting at a truck stop or now these almost comically complicated and highfalutin blends,” says the star. “I don't want to overcomplicate this. I want to feel like I'm making coffee that ticks all the boxes for everybody.”
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Read the original article on People.