Marina Kushner was born and raised in the Soviet Union. Growing up under a communist regime, Kushner obtained an editorial position at a major Moscow newspaper called Izvestia. Working under the constant pressure of deadlines, Kushner, like her colleagues, made it through the day on a diet of black coffee and Russian cigarettes (unfiltered!). In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and her future at the newspaper uncertain, Kushner decided to take a long-awaited trip to New York City. While there, she had the good fortune of meeting her future husband and, as she had no job to return to, elected to make New York her home.
Adjusting to the many obstacles presented to those moving to a new county such as cultural and language barriers, Kushner quickly undertook the task of studying English and creating a life for herself in America. Kushner chose to make her health the #1 priority and became very interested in nutrition. The first thing she did was to give up her beloved coffee habit. She sought out relief through alternatives like decaffeinated coffee and teas. Unfortunately, decaf still had caffeine and both tea & decaf contained tannic acid, which upset her stomach.
She researched the fledgling coffee substitute market, but found that most tasted awful, were not organic and contained barley, a gluten, that is deadly to celiacs. She also realized the growing popularity of soy products and came up with the idea for a coffee substitute made from soybeans. Marina founded Soy Coffee Roasters LLC in 1999 and launched Soyfee caffeine-free soy coffees to the natural and specialty food markets. After burning millions of soybeans, she was able to create a rich, robust tasting coffee substitute that was caffeine-free, acid-free and gluten-free. Soyfee is certified kosher.
Her product grew wildly successful and she realized that she was onto something really big. Many of her customers were former coffee drinkers who had given up their beloved cup due to medical reasons. This inspired her to write a book to inform the public about the risk of caffeine and she titled it “The Truth About Caffeine.” She established the Caffeine Awareness Alliance, a non-profit organization, to serve as a resource for consumers, media and medical community about the dangers of caffeine dependency and intoxication. Her organization sponsors National Caffeine Awareness Month which is an event held annually in March. It’s recognized in 5 states including Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Minnesota, and New Jersey as well as 21 major cities across America.