As a get-up-and-go beverage, ready-to-drink (RTD) hot, iced and cold-brew coffee continues to fuel consumers in the morning and throughout the day. The emergence of “craft coffee” with new flavors like cherry and more functionality also is contributing to the use of coffee as an ingredient in energy drinks, dairy and non-dairy products, cappuccinos, lattes and spirits.
“Coffee can be used in non-coffee-centric beverages for its caffeine content and for its unique flavor qualities,” says John Wilson, marketing manager at Allen Flavors Inc., Edison, N.J. “Natural caffeine from coffee can be used as an ingredient for energy and sports performance drinks and shots. We currently use coffee’s flavor qualities in chocolate milk. At low levels, coffee can add a roasted character to nearly anything without adding very much caffeine to the final product.”