Review: Hamaka Plant-based CBD Beverages

Posted: Jun 19, 2020 at 2:54 PM (Last Updated: Jun 22, 2020 at 12:00 PM)
Hamaka Plant-based CBD Beverages

Covers Products: Hemp Enhanced Cold Brew Coffee, Hemp Enhanced Oatmilk Latte, Hemp Enhanced Hibiscus Flower Tea, Hemp Enhanced Mineral Water

Hamaka is a new line of CBD enhanced beverages that is making its debut in four varieties:: Oatmilk Latte, Cold Brew Coffee, Hibiscus Flower Tea and Mineral Water. Each is enhanced with 5-10 mg of hemp extract per 250 ml (8.45 ounce) can, depending on the SKU.

Three of the SKUs are zero calories, with Oatmilk Latte (40 calories) being the only exception. The products do not contain any sweeteners and are perishable, so refrigeration is required.

Hamaka uses a shrink sleeve label, which seems to be the label of choice for most startup brands that are packaged in a can. Each flavor gets a different colored backdrop: baby blue for Mineral Water, red for Hibiscus Tea and light tan for Oatmilk Latte. 

The choice of flavors has an obvious divide into coffee and non-coffee SKUs and despite this ultimately being a CBD beverage brand, we question the choice of product types used to assemble this lineup. This starts with the Mineral Water, which seems like an odd (and not overly exciting or trending) category to play in. We understand the choice of tea as an option, which gives the consumer a non-caffeinated choice over the coffee. But it does feel like the coffee SKUs are probably what will pull best.

The liquid inside the cans only further confirms that notion. The two coffee products are quite nice and provide the consumer with a choice between straight cold brew or an oat milk latte. While there’s lots of competition in this category, these products feel like they can hold their own and don’t compromise flavor with the addition of CBD. Hibiscus Flower Tea is light and refreshing and features orange zest and mint for some added flavor notes. The Mineral Water is just water, which is fine, but nothing that stands out. This product will probably need  a larger size package to be competitive.

Moving on to the outside, Hamaka has some good components to it but also some work to do. A smallish Hamaka logo sits at the top of the can followed by a conceptual shape that’s used to denote the product’s function: balance, replenish, or revive depending on the flavor. After that, there’s a descriptor of sorts (“Crafted” or “Sustainable”) that sits above the flavor name. Finally, there’s the callout for the hemp content. If you turn the can to the side, “HAMAKA” runs in large text from top to bottom.

This package is on the right track and the hierarchy is correct, but some cleanup would be helpful. The first thing we’d cut are the words “Crafted” (found on the coffees and the hibiscus) and “Sustainable” (found on the mineral water), which aren’t not overly useful. After that, we’d trim the balance, replenish, and revive callouts, which are both hard to read and aren’t backed up by any other content on the package.

Beyond that, the “clear mind” and “clarity” content that’s on the side of the can and the company’s web site feels a bit lost in what it’s communicating on the front panel. We very much like this as a way to express the benefit of a CBD beverage and we think it should be more of the focus on the front panel. 

In the end, we like what Hamaka has done with its branding and coffee formulations, but we think they need to continue to work on both the product lineup and how they communicate its purpose and benefits to consumers.

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