By blending coffee with ingredients like botanicals and protein, marketers are giving consumers a boost beyond caffeine.
With the largest coffee market by retail volume, the United States is at the center of much of today’s coffee innovation. There are plenty of opportunities to make money in coffee, and many are found in ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees. According to Euromonitor, RTD coffee now represents the fastest-growing segment of coffee.
The effort to universalize coffee consumption with grab-and-go coffees is growing. How brands are setting themselves apart, however, is a determining factor. For now, it appears that functional coffee is on the rise. By blending coffee with any number of other ingredients, such as botanicals and protein, consumers are able to get more than caffeine out of coffee.
Photo from Rebbl
In response to the ongoing popularity of CBD health products, Forest Coffee has partnered with an established hemp company to introduce CBD Cold Brew. The novel coffee combines single-origin coffee beans with 15 mg of hemp CBD isolate in a sleek black bottle. Forest Coffee Cold Brew is described as having cinnamon, cacao, and dark berry flavor notes. A bulk order of 12 bottles is sold on the brand’s website for $60.00.
Forest Coffee’s CBD Cold Brew is made possible through a partnership with hemp and CBD products producer Evo Hemp.
Photo from Forest Coffee
Mushrooms are finding a home in coffee products, but not for their flavor notes. It’s the medicinal lore of fungi that creates marketability here. From ready-to-drink cold brews to bags of roasted beans, brands are using mushroom extracts to convey general wellbeing and even specific health benefits. Rebbl’s Reishi Cold Brew is marketed as an “energizing elixir” with potential to support the human immune system.
While a variety of medicinal mushrooms may be blended with coffee (and tea), reishi and cordyceps are two most prevalent in this niche segment of coffee.
Photo from Rebbl
If adding health and nutritional value to coffee is what’s trendy, then superfood coffee makes total sense. Ingredients like turmeric, matcha, and cacao are sought after as standalone ingredients. But can they pair well with coffee? It seems so.
Superfood snacks and powders purveyor Navitas Naturals recently introduced a line of Superfood Latte Mixes using the three aforementioned ingredients. With it, the company earned a 2019 Natural Products Expo West NEXTY award. Navita Naturals says its latte mixes create instant lattes when mixed with water, milk, or a milk alternative. They’re sweetened with monk fruit and supplemented with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut oil powder for a healthy fat content. Appealing to its base of customers, each latte is free of dairy and is paleo- and keto-friendly.
Photo from Navitas Naturals
In probiotic coffee, consumers are sold on an expectation of caffeine and potential health benefit. A number of probiotic coffees (and creamers) are on the market, including those from JoeFroyo. Zach Miller, the company’s president and CEO, came up with the idea based on previous success in the coffee and frozen yogurt industries with adding espresso shots to frozen yogurt.
Available in three flavors and two sizes, JoeFroyo probiotic cold brews combine coffee with lactose-free cultured milk and a cocktail of six probiotic strains. The friendly bacteria are supported by studies on a range of health concerns, including inflammation, digestion, infections, and even tooth and skin health.
Photo from JoeFroyo
In light of all the latest coffee rollouts, with added ingredients ranging from digestive aids to healthful botanicals, one wonders as to what we can’t get out of coffee. Continuing to push the limits, several companies are selling protein-enriched coffee drinks and mixes. Nescafe’s coffee protein smoothies pair standard coffee with plant-based protein, while Herbalife’s protein iced coffees are made with whey protein.
While protein-enriched coffee drinks may not be especially new, protein offerings (especially plant-based ones) are expanding options for brands.
Photo from Herbalife
For the adventurers, one company is so bold as to sell alcoholic coffee. Cafe Agave is a unique line of spiked cold brews made with agave wine and arabica coffee. Available for retail in four-packs and several different flavors, each coffee cocktail has a 12.5% ABV. The company describes its concoction quite simply by saying, “…we have brought together two of the most popular things in the world together into one drink.”
Photo from Cafe Agave