Review: Bramo Ready to Drink Cold Brew
Covers Products: Original Black, Raw Cacao, Whole Bean Vanilla (12oz)
Bramo’s ready to drink cold-brew is a step up from their original offering, which was a pouch-based cold-brew coffee concentrate, but it still feels a bit behind the category. Let us explain.
For starters, the value proposition of this product is all too familiar. The bottle claims that “Bramo is made with select high quality organic coffee beans steeped in water for the perfect amount of time to produce great tasting smooth iced coffee with very low acidity,” which is in essence the basic premise of every cold-brew out there. And doesn’t every coffee brand think they use high quality beans and steep for what they view as the perfect amount of time? Our point is that we don’t think that Bramo has a clear point of differentiation. Even the tagline, “coffee for your lifestyle” (a very broad and subjective statement), seems like something that skates around this very issue.
Packaging is something that further solidifies our viewpoint. The tall 12 oz. metal bottle, which is something that has really only been used for functional beverages (and not very successfully at that), doesn’t allow the consumer to see the liquid. While that’s a similar problem for cans and cartons -- and one that several companies have successfully worked around -- our issue is ultimately in how they’ve executed the design. It’s literally covered in text, with a heavy emphasis on the things that Bramo isn’t. What’s completely missing are copy and graphics that help create the sense that the consumer is purchasing a quality product. Finally, we aren’t fans of the treatment of the logo, which varies from bottle to bottle and produces an unreadable logo on the Vanilla flavor (it looks like it says “B a o”). If it’s “coffee for your lifestyle” that they’re after, having a bottle that looks good in the hand seems like a pretty fundamental piece of the equation.
Inside the bottle, we’d give Bramo a passing grade. The coffee is completely fine, but not outstanding, which is, at least to some extent, what keeps consumers coming back. Of the three, we’re most partial to the Original Black, which, if there’s any good news, means that they have a decent base to work with. The other two, Whole Bean Vanilla and Raw Cacao, aren’t bad, but we feel like the flavor could be dialed up a bit. And it really is nice to see that the flavor name isn’t just a name -- they list whole vanilla bean and raw cacao nibs as ingredients for their respective flavors.Ultimately, we feel as though Bramo needs to peel things back a bit and try to really focus on meaningful differentiation in the category. With new cold-brew coffees launching seemingly every week, we’ll admit that this is becoming more challenging. But if Bramo really wants to succeed, we think that they need to find a more refined approach that’s more inline with what the cold-brew consumer is really after: a higher quality experience than regular coffee. That’s something that isn’t fully there with Bramo right now.