A new brew: Ayurvedic coffee in India, adaptogenic coffee from Finland

10 Mar 2022

Coffee is probably one of the world’s most popular functional beverages, providing millions with their daily caffeine hit. However, some brands are taking its functional benefits further by adding in botanicals, vitamins, and other nutrients.

Consumers are increasingly seeking food and drink products that bring them a tangible benefit. According to Innova Market Insights, 71% of global consumers say that it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that they choose products that positively boost their nutrition or benefit how their body functions.

A new brew: Ayurvedic coffee in India, adaptogenic coffee from Finland
Coffee is a functional drink by definition, which makes it the 'perfect vehicule' for added functional ingredients, says one supplier.

While coffee has been providing this benefit for centuries thanks to its caffeine content, a number of companies are fortifying both ground coffee and instant coffee with additional functional ingredients to go beyond the caffeine kick.

Smart coffee: Ashwagandha, chaga, and other adaptogens


Instant coffee brand Jomo, owned by India’s Avid Nutrilabs, blends instant coffee granules with healthy ingredients such as the Ayurvedic root ashwagandha, which is said to be an adaptogen that helps people cope with stress, and nutrients to promote immune health provided by Kerry’s Wellmune brand.

Although initially targeting the domestic Indian market, the Bangalore-based company announced plans to expand its presence to Singapore, the US and the UAE in 2022.

Four Sigmatic is a US-Finnish brand that adds the adaptogenic mushroom, chaga, to ground coffee.

“Our Finnish grandparents brewed mushrooms when they couldn’t get coffee. Turns out those mushrooms—chaga—are a powerful, immune-supporting […] food,” it said.

According to the company, chaga balances out the nervous, ‘jittery’ feeling that caffeine can cause as well as providing immune health benefits, without overpowering the flavour of the coffee.

Meanwhile, Belgian start-up InLabs makes Nespresso-compatible capsules filled with natural vitamins and health ingredients as well as ‘smart coffee’ pods that contain coffee with added functional ingredients.

“We are changing the way people can take vitamins and supplements,” Louis Ballegeer, founder and CEO of InLabs, told The Ingredients Network previously. “This is the future of how we are going to take food supplements. When you wake up, you can take the energy formula and before you go to bed you can take the sleep formula. Our goal here is to replace a traditional pill because the potency is the same as a normal pill, but it is nicer and more convenient to drink.”

Lipid-based nutrients in a free-flowing powder


The company Capsoil FoodTech has developed coffee that contain fortified, functional coffee. The company describes its ingredient, which is designed to be used in coffee pods, as a unique delivery system to infuse coffee with multiple ingredients to bring wellness benefits.

The company has a proprietary method to incorporate lipid-based nutrients into coffee, allowing it to formulate coffee fortified with oil-soluble ingredients, such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), CBD, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and others.

“Coffee is a functional drink by definition,” said Itay Shafat, PhD, scientific director at Capsoil FoodTech, which is owned by juice and pulp supplier Prodalim. “This is why it is the perfect vehicle for added functional ingredients. You get up in the morning and your first act is to drink a cup of coffee to perk you up and help you focus on your daily routine. Consumers already link coffee with functionality.”

Capsoil FoodTech transforms oil-based compounds into self-emulsifying powders, resulting in a dry, free-flowing powder that dissolves easily in either hot or cold liquids.

Shafat said: “Most vitamins and antioxidants are not water-soluble, and unable to deliver the active compound from the pod to the cup. Another challenge is the stability when mixing functional ingredients with coffee, which typically involves heat.”

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