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Coffee Flavors and Trends

Did you know that September 29 is National Coffee Day? It’s no wonder this ubiquitous beverage gets a day of its own – it certainly deserves it, according to the millions who start their days, finish their meals, and get the pick-me-ups they need from the rich, dark brew. We can’t think of any better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than by taking a closer look at a potential new beverage segment: coffee drinks that incorporate other elements, such as teas, herbs, nuts, and more.

 

A new industry standard

 

The hybridization of beverage categories and their functional benefits is becoming increasingly popular. Some of the trends we’re seeing include beverage blends such as tea and sparkling water, soda and juice. New products are also combining functions such as energy and sleep, hydration and electrolytes, and metabolism-boosting and beauty.

 

The coffee industry has taken note. We expect to see the ready-to-drink coffee category grow exponentially in the next few years, as caffeine is hard to beat when it comes to making it through long, stressful days – something nearly all of us must do regularly. Coffee-adjacent products should definitely be on your radar as you develop new products for the upcoming months and years. Here’s a look at some important up-and-coming trends.

 

Coffee + kombucha

 

One trendy new product we’re seeing is a mixture of coffee and kombucha. For example, you might begin with a base of fermented tea and then combine it with cold-brew coffee (a big hit in and of itself). You can then add any number of flavors to this combination – think Madagascar vanilla, chai, or hazelnut. Coffee-kombucha blends also boast an impressive array of health claims, such as containing a high concentration of antioxidants and probiotics that promote gut health and energy.

 

Herb “coffee”

 

Some of these new products aren’t coffee at all but provide many of the same benefits without the caffeine or acid. Beverage companies are experimenting with roasting herbs, grains, nuts, and fruits to emulate the taste and aroma of traditional coffee. As probiotics and fiber gain momentum in the marketplace, we expect to see more brands looking to offer the natural benefits of these foods within the experience of coffee.

 

Coffee + chicory

 

These beverages leverage the health benefits and pleasant, woody flavor of chicory along with other botanical flavors into decaf herbal coffee. Potential ingredients here include ashwagandha, burdock root, dandelion root, liquorice, and cinnamon. The benefits of these ingredients can include liver detoxification, anti-inflammation, and lower cortisol levels.

 

Mushrooms

 

Finally, we’re seeing brands incorporate adaptogenic mushrooms such as reishi and chaga in herbal coffees. These mushrooms “coffees” often include other ingredients such as chicory, burdock, and dandelion.

 

Natural, organic ingredients and compostable packaging round out the appeal for today’s consumers, who are increasingly interested in custom biological solutions. There’s never been a better time to experiment with coffees, teas, and additional ingredients in unexpected combinations. Natural flavor ingredients can go a long way toward helping you create the signature flavors you want.