Adaptogenic coffee raises $2.7 million to reimagine coffee

24 Aug 2020

Coffee company, Taika, raised $2.7M in seed funding for its adaptogen-infused, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. The investment round was led by Kindred Ventures with participation from Obvious Ventures and World Champion Barista James Hoffman. In the company’s statement, there was no specification as to how it will use these funds.

Taika bills itself as “perfectly calibrated coffee” with “dolphin smooth taste” for all three of its flavors: Macadamia Latte, Black Coffee and Oat Milk Latte. The coffee comes in 12-packs of 9.5-ounce (280 ml) cans of no added sugar, low-carb energy. Each blend contains adaptogenics, functional mushrooms and an “ideal amount of caffeine.”

Adaptogenic coffee raises $2.7 million to reimagine coffee

Concocted with a blend of adaptogens, including lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, ashwagandha and theanine, this San Francisco ready-to-drink coffee plays into the concept of stealth health – functional products that made hard-to-access ingredients available to consumers while also prioritizing taste.

Co-founder and Facebook veteran, Michael Sharon, explained the concept in a release saying, "Nearly all of the current canned cold brew makers focus exclusively on the origin: where the beans come from and who roasted and brewed them. Taika, however, is focused on the destination: how the coffee makes you feel.”

Functional products have become a regular fixture on grocery shelves in recent years. Last year, a white paper from the Irish ingredients company Kerry showed 65% of consumers look for functional benefits from their food and drink. The pandemic has only served to fan the flames and consumers continue to flock toward functional products and supplements in search of healthy ingredients that can boost their immunity and reduce their anxiety. Functional ingredients supplier Beneo said earlier this summer that nearly 75% of global consumers are intending to introduce healthier eating practices as a result of the pandemic. A 2020 report from Smart Brief showed that functional beverages are especially popular with 29% saying they have increased consumption of these beverages as a result of the pandemic.

Coffee too has had a jolt in popularity, and ready-to-drink is the fastest growing segment of the coffee category. Between 2016 and 2018, the segment jumped 31% and since then there has been a myriad of deals by big beverage companies looking to take a stake in the perennially popular category. Last year, Coca-Cola launched an RTD coffee under its Costa brand and PepsiCo partnered with Lavazza to bring a chilled cappuccino beverage to life. Silk even launched its first RTD coffee-based lattes earlier this year.

With about 64% of American adults drink a cup of coffee each day, according to data from the National Coffee Association, it is unlikely that the migration toward coffee as a pick-me-up will slow any time soon.

Taika taps into these two mega trends simultaneously with its canned coffee. With a name that means “magic” in Finnish, it will be worth watching to see if this brand can charm consumers into becoming loyal patrons.

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