“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our ready-to-drink (RTD) category – across our cafés, via e-commerce and our wholesale accounts,” Baker Carroll, head of RTD at Verve Coffee, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We’re expecting a significant increase in demand for our Flash Brew Oatmilk Lattes, with expectations of tripling production next year.”
The Santa Cruz-based company first entered the RTD category in 2018 with its Original Flash Brew, which unlike traditional cold brews, is brewed hot from espresso, flash chilled and infused with nitrogen to preserve coffee freshness and flavor.
‘Why don’t we formulate our own?’
Following the successful launch of the Original Flash Brew, Verve introduced Single Origin-Ethiopia Sakaro and Vancouver Decaf options in 2020, but it took in-house formulators a few years to find the right oatmilk recipe for the Flash Brew.
“At the beginning of this project, we had in mind exactly what coffee presence and profile we wanted in the beverages, so we formulated the extract first,” Carroll explained.
“We then sampled it paired with many of the oatmilks on the market, but nothing harmonized with our coffee quite like we wanted, which led to us asking ‘why don’t we formulate our own?’”
The proprietary oatmilk, blended offsite to Verve’s formulation, is featured in Original and Chocolate flavors, as well as a first-in-industry Honey Lavender, sweetened with a rare honey from Mexico that is harvested seasonally from coffee blossom plants.
“The Honey Lavender Oatmilk Latte is most definitely a nod to our café customers as we’ve seen such success with this beverage at our Arts District café,” Carroll said.
The artsy downtown L.A. outpost is one of Verve’s 17 California and Tokyo cafés dedicated to “coffee craft, culture and community”. Recently featured on Architectural Digest’s list of Most Beautiful Coffee Shops, the 7,000 square-foot space houses ta beverage innovation lab and the company’s second roastery.
The road to RTD
Founded in 2007, Verve started as a craft coffee roaster built on a Direct Trade buying model. Today it launches more than 70 coffees a year – all sourced at origin from coffee farmers in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama – but continues to roast the beans in small batches by hand.
Verve is always looking for ways to innovate the craft coffee experience and, in this case, respond to the growing demand for high-quality coffees on the go.
“In the RTD beverage world, the most awe-inspiring creators are doing their own thing, leaning into their own values and visions, which is what spurred us to create rich, flavorful, and layered beverages in our Flash Brew Oatmilk Lattes,” Carroll said.
“Beyond continuing to develop Flash Brew Oatmilk Lattes, we are working on new products in our craft single serve arena with our Craft Instant Coffee.”
The Oatmilk Lattes (90 mg of caffeine per serving) launch this week into a global ready-to-drink coffee market valued at $26.3bn in 2022 and expected to grow to $42.3bn by 2032, according to Future Market Insights.
They will be available at Verve’s California cafés, specialty groceries and online through Amazon and the company’s e-commerce site.