What’s next for coffee and ready-to-drink coffee products? We share the latest innovative finds and new trends in the field of your favorite drink.
Coffee, with its many flavor profiles and inherent benefits as an energy booster, naturally lends itself to a wide range of beverages. This is especially true in an age where consumers are becoming more addicted to less sugary drinks than before and carbonated soft drinks are on the decline.
Add to this the willingness of consumers to try coffee virtually anywhere, anytime, and you have ample opportunity for new brands and bold coffee innovations for an unforgettable consumer experience.
Between 2015 and 2020, about 2,500 new coffees and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages were launched in the US in which coffee was one of the important ingredients. Moreover, the novelties were noticed not only in the already popular coffee brands, but also new participants appeared on the market.
As competition increases, coffee companies are faced with the challenge of staying ahead of the innovation curve, often requiring bridging the gap between «artisan» and «commercial» coffee. We present interesting coffee finds to see what awaits us on the horizon. Among the new products, there are definitely products with potential.
Founded by women in 2015, Los Angeles-based coffee brand Pop&Bottle, known for its premium organic oat and almond milk lattes, is expanding its offering with an innovative line of coffee masterbatches.
The patented Pop&Bottle extraction process produces up to 90% coffee from beans, with minimal waste and significantly reduced oxidation. The result is an ultra-homogeneous liquid coffee concentrate with 15 times coffee strength and a mild flavor.
The coffee concentrate is made from special Arabica beans sourced directly from Central America. It only takes one tablespoon to make your favorite coffee drink at home. No French press, no drip coffee maker, no espresso machine required.
Three SKUs — Classic, Vanilla and Mocha are available exclusively at Walmart and online.
More energy in Canned Cold Brew Black from Bulletproof. The manufacturer introduces a new RTD ready-to-drink coffee drink with 200mg of caffeine, vitamin B and no sugar.
Each can of iced coffee contains 15 calories. Canned Cold Brew Black comes in two flavors: sugar-free and lightly sweetened with stevia.
For health and wellbeing
Consumers want drinks with health benefits. Not even coffee, which has long been considered more of a vice than a superfood. But what if the “health” in the coffee drink is “not enough”?
British kefir brand Biotiful has expanded into the coffee segment. The dairy maker challenged itself to share its expertise with the coffee category in hopes of penetrating beyond its current consumer base, and launched a cold-brewed kefir mix with Arabica.
It turned out to be a healthy coffee drink with kefir (or kefir with coffee, whichever is more convenient for you). Each 250 ml bottle contains 30 billion live cultures, vitamin B12 and is a source of protein. There are two SKUs in the new line: mocha and latte. A chain retailer like Ocado has a suggested retail price of £1.60.
The calculation is correct — ready-to-drink kefir + coffee provides an opportunity to «talk to the millennial audience», offering an RTD product for «natural vigor» along with all the benefits of kefir to improve digestion.
The topic of gut health is currently one of the most important health trends in the UK and the coffee category continues to skyrocket. Therefore, the brand’s bet is that in the search for drinks with a pure and natural composition, fears about «high caffeine» will be replaced by a healthier and more balanced fermented milk product.
Biotiful continues to “undermine” the category of coffee in Foggy Albion with a novelty format targeted at the consumer of coffee on the go.
If you try to evaluate the menu of many cutting-edge coffee shops in the US or Britain, it will definitely catch your eye that the lines between coffee and other «trendy drinks» continue to blur. Fresh herbs and spices in coffee are still experiments in HoReCa, but all are gaining more and more attention from health-obsessed consumers.
Functional ingredients such as adaptogenic herbs, ginger and green tea are coming to the fore in coffee shops. Lattes with fresh ginger and curry sauce or dark chocolate and peanut butter flavors can be tried at Dark Matter Coffee, latte with maple sage or basil, mint, mocha, cardamom and rose, and with the addition of cayenne pepper, honey and coconut milk served at Ipsento 606.
Increasingly, coffee brands are looking to expand the definition of the “functional drink” category, which has so far been best known for its added protein. The use of trending ingredients can attract consumers and can help new products stand out in a crowded market.
For example, consumers no longer have to choose between coffee and green tea thanks to Green Alert’s unique coffee blend. The unusual drink was developed by Lucas Rajala, who, after extensive experimentation, developed a unique blend that combines the beneficial properties of green tea with the rich taste of coffee.
Green Alert comes in two different flavors: Primal and Refresh. The Primal blend is made from Sumatran coffee and organic green tea from the Chinese province of Hubei. The unique drink obtained from Primal is well balanced and has a bright taste. The Refresh blend has a milder taste. This variety is made from fair trade certified Ethiopian coffee and organic Moroccan mint tea.
The new Green Alert brand can be considered a truly «people’s drink». Rayala launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, introducing a new invigorating drink to consumers in order to raise start-up capital for the launch.
And there are mushrooms again
The concept of mushroom coffee is also gaining huge popularity in the market. With consumer cravings for healthier habits, they are actively looking for alternatives to their favorite caffeinated drink.
Mushroom coffee pioneer Four Sigmatic has released Perform Immune Support Ground Coffee and Ground Coffee. In the material about the launch of coffee with mushrooms, we said that the “headache” of the manufacturer of coffee with mushrooms is the need to create a drinkable product with the taste of coffee, not mushrooms, but which would avoid the unpleasant consequences of taking caffeine.
Perform is made with medium roast premium organic beans from Honduras and medicinal cordyceps mushrooms. To date, this variety is the mushroom coffee with the highest caffeine content on the market. In addition, Perform is enriched with L-theanine, which fuels the body and mind even on the busiest days. The result is a mushroom coffee for business people looking for energy and productivity, with rich notes of dark chocolate and nuts.
Founded in 2017 by professional Croatian basketball player Stipe in 2017, Mushroom Cups is a young and innovative brand that offers several functional coffee products that combine organic coffee with medicinal mushrooms.
Go Tireless — coffee with mushrooms for athletes. It is formulated with Organic Cordyceps, which is the «Ancient Tibetan Cognitive Enhancer», and Chanterelle, rich in minerals and providing the highest known natural concentrations of vitamins D and B.
Go Sharp — Organic Chanterelle Mushroom Coffee with Organic Yamabushitake or Lion’s Mane Mushroom for cognitive enhancement. Go Glow features immune-boosting chaga and chanterelles, while Go Relax is designed to energize the mind and body with lion’s mane and cocoa.
The company is not going to stop. Having experienced all the benefits of useful mushrooms during active sports loads, the founder of the company promises to expand the assortment with another coffee and mushroom novelty in the near future. The company is also actively attracting a community of like-minded people on Kickstarter.
Let’s make it stronger
We also started the story about hard coffee last time. Now strong coffee with alcohol in RTD drinks has become a steady trend.
Manufacturer Twelve5 introduced the REBEL Hard Coffees line to the market. So to speak, and satisfy your «coffee feelings» and stimulate communication. Strong lattes have a strength of 5% and are made from 100% Arabica coffee.
Delicious strong coffee is promised with a creamy blend of Arabica roasts and a pleasant aroma of cold coffee, bordering on the extraordinary. “There is a bit of a rebel in each of us,” the company says.
For fans at Twelve5 Beverage Co. there is a package with eight cans of Rebel Hard Coffee of different varieties. The set includes Mocha Hard Latte and Vanilla Hard Latte, as well as two new flavors: Hard Latte Maple Pecan and Hard Latte with Salted Caramel.
Coffee making innovation at HoReCa
In addition to exploring different varieties and flavors, players in the food service industry are taking an approach that has worked well in brewing. Like baristas’ own breweries, coffee shop goers want authenticity by watching their coffee be brewed «on the spot,» especially if the barista uses an innovative method or unusual equipment.
All this gives rise to innovative coffee brewing processes, and some coffee shops are beginning to resemble science laboratories. Interesting finds are brought to the market on an industrial scale. For example, the Clover® siphon coffee maker is a robotic hybrid of a French press, vacuum and filter coffee maker.
The Clover coffee maker debuted at Ritual Coffee Roasters in 2006 and was immediately hailed as the best thing to happen to coffee drinkers. Priced at $11,000, the Clover has become a fetish among obsessed coffee drinkers.
The Clover is the first coffee maker that allows the user to program three key coffee brewing variables: dose, water temperature and brew time. Clover’s innovative coffee brewing process takes about 45 seconds. The number of flavor variations is almost endless and depends on the experience of the barista and his views on the “perfect coffee”.
How it works:
- The barista selects the coffee dose, water temperature and steeping time.
- The piston lowers the filter platform while freshly ground coffee is poured into the chamber.
- Hot water enters the chamber.
- The barista quickly stirs the grounds with a whisk, and the water and grains infuse for a few seconds.
- The piston rises, creating a vacuum that separates the coffee from the grounds, and then descends, pushing the coffee out of the nozzle below.
- The piston rises to the surface again, pushing the disc out of the grind, which is squeezed out.
Self-proclaimed «cloveristas» post videos on YouTube demonstrating the spectacular process of making the popular drink. There are more photos on Flickr dedicated to this brilliant gadget (over 700) than existing clovers (about 370 worldwide).
There are also 80 locations of Starbucks Reserve®, an immersive coffee shop brand that demonstrates the various brewing processes for «rare» coffees.
Innovative brewing methods show consumers the science behind making a cup of regular or cold brew coffee. In addition, these attention-grabbing coffee brewing methods also help improve the taste of the drink.
Coffee industry experts agree that as consumer taste evolves, there will be an increasing need for coffee producers to collaborate with taste experts to create products that replicate the artisanal coffee taste that consumers are beginning to expect. At the same time, weaving in a well-told backstory—storytelling about innovation, craftsmanship, or sustainability—is critical to success in the highly competitive coffee market.
Experiments with servingware
Sustainability in the coffee industry is a never-ending theme. Just one desire to reduce the use of disposable coffee utensils in the form of «coffee to go» or coffee machines has generated a wave of interesting eco-friendly solutions in the field of utensils.
Air New Zealand has tested biscotti-style edible coffee cups. The airline brews more than eight million cups of coffee a year and wants to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Made by New Zealand family business Twiice, Vanilla Flavored Cups are made with wheat flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence and natural vanilla flavor. After the passenger has drunk his coffee, they can be safely eaten like regular cookies.
The servingware obtained as part of the tests turned out to be airtight, the cups remained crisp for as long as it took to drink coffee, and even longer.
Scotland’s largest independent cooperative, after becoming the first partner of Costa Express in the UK, introduced its reusable cups to Costa Coffee.
The reusable Costa Coffee Waffle Travel cup is made of stainless steel and is suitable for both regular and large Costa Express drinks. Available for purchase at all cash desks of Scotmid branded stores.
The move is intended to encourage customers to think about small changes they can make on their own to help reduce the amount of waste generated from single-use items. In addition to co-op sales, a digital screen advertising campaign on all Costa Express machines urging customers to “think more sustainable and choose reusable cups when it comes to buying their favorite coffee.”