There’s been a lot of buzz about coffee. From unique coffee flavor combinations and new coffee shops to caffeine pick-me ups and alternative uses, coffee is brewing.
According to the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) 2014 market research study, Americans daily gourmet coffee consumption driven by espresso-based beverages, is up 34% versus 31% in 2013. Mintel expects the Ready-To-Drink coffee market, which includes refrigerated and shelf-stable products, to grow to $2.6 billion by 2020. Coffee is so well-liked; it even has its own holiday, National Coffee Day, on September 29.
Coffee Combos: There’s so much more to coffee flavors than just black, no sugar. From wine and beer to tea and kombucha, coffee is being combined with a variety of beverages. Last year, the Friends Beverage Group introduced Friends Fun Wine Cabernet Coffee Espresso with Cabernet grapes, espresso coffee and chocolate and Chardonnay Coffee Cappuccino with Chardonnay grapes, vanilla cappuccino coffee and chocolate. Starbucks’ Dark Barrel Latte, which is inspired by Guinness, garnered a lot of attention when it was being test marketed. Reed’s debuted Kombuffee, the company’s signature coffee mixed with kombucha while Sweet Leaf Tea created two Coffee-Tea blends in Original and Vanilla flavors. Martha Stewart wanted to join the party and playing the health card, launched ULIVjava. The brand features two iced coffee products, which are blended with green tea, infused with herbs and botanical ingredients, and fortified with vitamins. For those who would rather snack on coffee, hopefully you got your hands on the Lay’s Do Us A Flavor limited edition Cappuccino flavored potato chips.
Coffee Shops: As if Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shops on every corner aren’t enough, Starbucks in Seattle, introduced the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room to create limited editions and small batch coffee blends. On the second floor of the Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store in NYC, Ralph’s Coffee by Ralph Lauren is the most fashionable entrant on the coffee scene, which serves La Colombe coffee blends. Dave Asprey, the man behind the Bulletproof coffee craze, will soon be opening the Bulletproof Coffee Shop in Santa Monica, serving his signature drink with grass-fed butter and fatty acids. For a high-tech experience, the Roasting Plant on the Lower East Side (LES) uses Javabot, “a proprietary system that uses custom-designed pneumatic tubes to produce fresh coffee.”
Alternative Blends: In addition to alternative ways to get your caffeine jolt, new uses for coffee are appearing. For a caffeine fix not from coffee or soda, there’s Sheets, oral caffeine strips, which dissolve on your tongue and contain 50mg of caffeine. Similarly, across the pond, Reon just launched caffeine strips in three flavors – Grapefruit & Zing, Lemon & Hot and Blackcurrant & Fresh. Each contains 20mg of caffeine. If you love the taste of coffee, but are caffeine sensitive, than Counting Sheep Coffee may be your new go to beverage. Available in Bedtime Blend/40 Winks and Lights Out variants, this decaffeinated coffee is blended with organic valerian root and is designed to help you sleep. And for those who are more into fashion, there’s the Ministry of Supply clothing line, which features JAVAfresh odor-absorbing technology made from recycled coffee grounds. Infusing clothes with coffee beans and carbonized coffee, the moisture-wicking fabric is said to be three times more effective than cotton at absorbing odor.
More Matcha, Less Java: Java has competition from Matcha, the fine-ground, high-quality caffeine laden green tea known for its antioxidant properties. New York is experiencing matcha madness with cafes specializing in this ingredient such as MatchaBar is Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Chalait in the West Village and Matcha Café Wabi in the East Village.