Review: Black Medicine’s Refreshed Packaging

Posted: Jun 25, 2018 at 4:00 PM (Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 at 9:25 AM)

Covers Products: Iced Coffee (can), Iced Latte (can), Iced Mocha (can)

Black Medicine, which initially started out in aluminum bottles and then shifted to cans in early 2017, is back with another packaging update.

This time around, the company has given each can its own more prominent accent color and they’ve dialed down the emphasis on “cold pressed coffee.” Furthermore, the product now features a callout for the caffeine content on the front of the can, which certainly isn’t a bad thing to be up front about.

For the most part, we see this as a good move for the brand. When paired side by side with the black and silver look of the former design, this one feels more approachable and a bit less serious looking. Regardless, the name Black Medicine still feels pretty edgy and might not appeal to everyone.

While the design update is positive from a purely aesthetic point of view, we do feel as though their point of differentiation is somewhat lost in this new design. The explanation on the back, which describes a hot brew under oxygen-free pressure, is a bit too technical sounding. Plus, we think that the successful marketing of cold brew coffee has effectively educated consumers that there are two types of brewing: hot or cold. And this explanation will probably put it in the same bucket as the former and potentially undermine what they’ve created.

Fortunately, the flavor of the coffee itself is quite good and all three are smooth and non-acidic. From our perspective, the Iced Mocha and Iced Latte flavors are more interesting and memorable. Both of these products offer flavor that is in the top tier of RTD coffee drinks.

As for their Nitro Coffee, it’s definitely an offering that can hold its own, but nitro coffee in general feels like something that has largely evolved into a commodity offering. That said, we’d love to see Black Medicine add an additional flavor or two.

Overall, Black Medicine’s latest update is ultimately a step forward. However, there’s some lost opportunity for the brand to really establish its point of differentiation and to establish itself as an alternative to the plethora of cold brew coffee products out there right now. We’d love to see the brand take a more assertive position on this in a future update.

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