Summertime is getting easier for coffee lovers as choices expand in the bottled-coffee category. Starbucks' successful Frappuccino is getting some competition on store shelves, and competition is good news for consumers.
For folks more comfortable with a familiar brand of coffee than with a $3-a-cup java habit, Folgers has good news. Its new Jakada drink offers a sweet combination of Mountain Grown Folger's coffee and low-fat milk.
The drink comes in 10.5-ounce, single-serve plastic bottles - no need to worry about broken glass with this drink - and is available in three flavors: French Roast, Vanilla and Mocha. The top is resealable, so you can save an unfinished drink for later or stash it in a backpack or briefcase while you're on the run.
Folgers' entry into the bottled-coffee market is no accident, as older teen-agers and young adults are developing a taste for cold, sweetened, milky coffee as an alternative to other forms of caffeine.
Moreover, consumers with established coffee habits are drawn to the convenience of a prepackaged drink. The sugar and flavorings no doubt boost the appeal of these drinks for many people.
Another new entry in the bottled-coffee category comes from chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck in partnership with Brandsource, a company run by Bob Groux, the beverage developer behind such lines as Snapple, SoBe and Nantucket Nectars.
Puck and Groux are hoping to grab the high end of the bottled-coffee market with a drink that includes a generous amount of low-fat milk, a slightly larger serving than most cold coffees (11 ounces per bottle) and a cold press process to extract coffee from the beans under high pressure without the use of heat. This avoids depletion of the coffee flavor from heating it more than once. Normally, the coffee is heated once in brewing and again when it is processed to make the bottled beverage.
Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Latte comes in four blends: Rich Espresso; Rich Mocha with hints of chocolate; Dulce de Leche, featuring a caramel flavor; and French Vanilla.
If you're a fan of coffee with milk and sugar, you'll no doubt find at least one of these brands or flavors to your liking. For hard-core java junkies, the added flavors may be a distraction.
Those sippers may want to stick to Starbucks' 6.5-ounce can of Doubleshot - a good shot of espresso with nonfat milk, a bit of cream and less sugar than the typical bottled coffee.