Now that spring has finally arrived in Chicago, I find myself taking afternoon walks to Starbucks for a little pick-me-up beverage. I most recently enjoyed the Cold Foam Cascara Nitro Cold Brew, which uses velvety Nitro Cold Brew without ice (but I had a few cubes added, as I was walking, and the sun was warm). It was topped with subtly sweet cascara cold foam and cascara topping.
Wow! Talk about a smooth coffee drink. This is the quality consumers are starting to expect in the ready-to-drink sector. From the coffee to the froth, this beverage satisfied, and a grande was a mere 80 calories!
While rich, steamed milk foam has been a hallmark of Starbucks coffee, cold foam is a modern twist designed to be the perfect finish to cold beverages. Frothed cold instead of hot by blending nonfat milk until it is smooth, the foam provides layers of creamy texture and flavor without the milkfat.
Oh, and if you are wondering what cascara is, it happens to be one of the hottest ingredients being added to coffee beverages.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters provides this description for cascara:
Coffee beans are the seed of a fruit, commonly referred to as a coffee cherry. This small, fleshy fruit can vary in color based on its variety, but is most often yellow or red when ripe. The cherry itself contains caffeine (that’s how coffee gets its caffeine) and is high in antioxidants. The fruit protects its seeds as they grow and develop by deterring insects and other wildlife that could prevent the development of the seed.
The process of pulping removes the seed from its cherry. When the seeds are roasted, you get coffee. But what happens to the cherries that worked so hard to protect those coffee beans? Typically, the cherry is discarded once it is separated from the seed. In some cases, coffee cherries can be turned into compost and used on the farm as fertilizer.
Now it’s being used in coffee beverages for extra caffeine and a layer of flavor. It is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry, red current, mango or even tobacco. It’s delicious.
There have been a number of premium innovations in the ready-to-drink coffee-milk category around the world. Many provide added value in terms of nutrition.
Some include cascara, such as SlimFast’s new SlimCafé, which comes in Mocha Macchiato and Caramel Cappuccino flavors. Crafted from real brewed coffee and milk, these rich and creamy iced beverages are a true indulgence. SlimCafé offers consumers a smarter creamy coffee choice, with a boost of natural energy. It has zero added sugar and 82% less sugar than many other coffeehouse beverages. And with 10 grams of protein (from reduced fat milk and milk protein concentrate) and only 120 calories, SlimCafé is a smart snack that can be enjoyed while following the clinically proven SlimFast Plan…or not.
“Whether you’re simply watching your calories or trying to lose weight, one thing we know for sure is people never want to give up their coffee,” says SlimFast CEO Chris Tisi. “We set out to find a way to give people that delicious, decadent flavor they expect from a latte, without all of the sugar and calories.”
A decadent innovation comes from Coca-Cola South Pacific, which has launched a new dessert-inspired flavored coffee-milk range to the Australian market. Sold under the Barista Bros banner, new Café Creations line comes in Butterscotch Brownie, Dark Chocolate Fudge and Toffee Almond Panna Cotta flavors.
Coca-Cola says it launched Café Creations to attract new male and female consumers to the flavored milk category. The rollout comes after the successful introduction of Barista Bros Mocha chocolate-flavored coffee in 2017.
Earlier this week I featured JoeFroyo as a Daily Dose of Dairy. JoeFroyo Functional Cold Brew combines the kick of caffeine from cold brew coffee with probiotics and protein from drinkable yogurt. Free from artificial colors and sweeteners, and containing no lactose, gluten or preservatives, the drink is fortified with milk protein isolate and whey in order to deliver 15 grams of dairy proteins per 12-ounce bottle. The refrigerated drink uses high-pressure processing to extend shelf-life without relying on chemical preservatives.
A 12-ounce ready-to-drink bottle contains 270 to 290 calories, 3 to 4 grams of fat, 27 to 28 grams of sugar, and 15 to 16 grams of protein, depending on variety, of which there are three. They are: Espresso, Latte and Mocha flavors.
And though this next beverage innovation does not contain dairy, it shows you the sophistication of ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee.
7-Eleven is rolling out Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew Coffee in the first self-chilling cans available to the public in the U.S. The innovative Chill-Can technology filled with the Fizzics coffee drink is being tested at 15 Los Angeles-area 7-Eleven stores. The beverage comes in Regular, French Vanilla and Caramel flavors. It is made with 100% Arabica beans and all natural flavors, with each 8.4-ounce can of the fizzy brew containing only 50 calories, 10 grams of sugar and about 80 milligrams of caffeine.
The Chill-Can containers are purchased at ambient temperature and chilled when ready to consume. When activated, the patented technology utilizes reclaimed carbon dioxide and the process automatically chills the can and the sparkling coffee beverage inside.
“Because the self-chilling can technology is so groundbreaking, we wanted to introduce it with a super innovative beverage,” says Tim Cogil, 7-Eleven director of private brands. “Sparkling coffee sodas met all the criteria. Previously available in some coffee shops, a handful of exclusive canned carbonated brews began showing up last summer. Fizzics will be the first that can be chilled on demand, bringing a new level of convenience to customers who want to enjoy a chilled drink whenever and wherever they are.”
Remember, cold-brew coffee is not limited to beverages. Tillamook recently teamed up with Stumptown to offer Tillamook Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee Whole Milk Farmstyle Greek Yogurt. The new variety is one of four new Greek yogurt flavors that Tillamook is introducing this year. The collaboration with Stumptown is the second from the two powerhouse brands. The partners also introduced a cold brew coffee ice cream in 2016.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there. I hope you are served a delicious coffee-milk beverage in bed!