Review: Nomad Trading Co. Cascara
Covers Products: Hibiscus, Original
Nomad Trading Co. is a new line of cascara beverages that is available in three flavors, Original, Hibiscus, and Cascara + Lemonade (which we did not get to try).
For the uninitiated, cascara is a drink that’s made with the brewed skins of the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean (that thing that’s ultimately roasted and turned into your cup of coffee). It’s a beverage that has gained some buzz over the past couple of years, with companies ranging from startups to Starbucks getting in on it. But it’s definitely not yet a fully realized concept.
That said, there’s certainly opportunity for more brands to get a piece of the action. For Nomad, they’re approaching this with a non-carbonated product that presents itself much like a bottle of tea. The bottle, the branding, and even the color of the liquid are similar to other products in the tea set, which certainly gives it a potential home at retail.
Diving in a bit further, we like the overall aesthetic that they’ve created. It’s nice looking and has visual polish, although we think there’s a bit too much text on the lower half of the bottle. We’d also love to see a slightly larger callout for the caffeine content (64mg - 110mg depending on the flavor). The Cascara + Lemonade, which, as previously mentioned, we did not get to sample, has the most appealing label of the three since it has the most prominent callout for the flavor.
Speaking of flavor, these are mild and clean in their execution. They’ve focused on keeping it low in sugar and calories (30-40 calories and 5-7g of sugar per bottle) and the products are quite refreshing. And to take that thought a step further, the Original variety doesn’t have anything in it aside from water and cascara, so the sweetness is entirely from the fruit. It has a subtle earthiness to it and a slightly tart finish and we’d ultimately compare it more to black tea than coffee. The Hibiscus flavor adds coconut sugar as a sweetener, but we definitely wouldn’t call the product sweet. The floral flavor of hibiscus is a nice touch -- it adds an extra layer of depth that you won’t find in the Original.
Really our only question for this product is whether or not Nomad has done enough to explain what this product is. It’s not something that has high consumer awareness, so giving the consumer a quick and easy way to understand it is paramount. Otherwise, we imagine that some of Nomad’s ability to succeed ultimately depends on how others succeed in building the category as it certainly won’t be driven by a single startup brand.
Overall, we wish we were able to try the Lemonade variety, but what we did sample was enjoyable and well executed for the most part.