Coffee can take many forms today: blended with syrup and sickly-sweet colours in a day-glow Frappuccinos, passed through civets and elephants, frozen, chilled and sometimes, just acrid and burnt.
At what point, one might ask yourself: does a coffee stop being a coffee?
Recently, coffee chain Tim Hortons released a caffeinated snack bar (presumably for those people too uncoordinated without caffeine in the morning to navigate a hot beverage?). “Made with Tim Hortons coffee beans, the Double Double Coffee Bar is similar in size to a chocolate bar, has a smooth and silky texture with an espresso bean finish, but contains no actual chocolate,” says a release from the company. Marketed towards “both coffee and non-coffee drinkers alike”, the bar brings caffeine into the snack bar market — an interesting step for a company known primarily for its ability to provide convenient cups of coffee in its drive throughs and outlets throughout Canada.
Brewers are also thinking beyond the bar. This leap, however, may not seem as far-fetched as it may seem. Launches of caffeinated bars sourced from coffee and tea have gone up 50 per cent in terms of annual growth from 2014 to 2018, according to Innova Market Insights.
Today, the caffeine dependent among us are offered a bevy of non-beverage options to get their morning jolt.
Caffeinated soaps, such as Shower Shock, have been populating bathrooms for the last few years. “Scented with peppermint oil and infused with caffeine anhydrous, each bar of Shower shock contains approximately 12 servings/showers per 4 ounce bar with 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving,” reads the ThinkGeekwebsite. Caffeinated shaving cream (“A little goes a long way,” promises Pacific Shaving Co.), toothpaste (“get a rush while you brush!”, says the Indiegogo page) and even caffeinated hair gel, from Grenade Supply Co. are all apparently products that someone, somewhere thought we needed.
Last fall, people even eagerly awaited the purported introduction of a caffeinated ham supposedly made by energy drink manufacturer Monster Energy (the claim was later debunkedas the work of a digital artist).
Friends, colleagues and countrymen have rarely seen me without some form of caffeinated beverage permanently attached to an appendage — and I’m not alone. According to the National Coffee Association’s 2018 Coffee Consumer Trends Report, 64 per cent of those surveyed reported drinking coffee within the last day; the highest number since 2012. Much of this growth, however, springs from home-based consumption, due in part to the proliferation of convenient and customizable pod-configured machines. This shift has changed the idea of what a takeout coffee entails: major players in the coffee retail landscape such as Starbucks have moved the duty of providing hot water, cups and accoutrements to the consumer with k-cups and instant coffee products, while retaining the home brewer’s brand loyalty (and daily purchase). As demand for coffee increases, these market for non-beverage based caffeinated products remains open for business — who knows what form tomorrow’s morning Joe may take?
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