Review: Humblemaker Functional Cold Brew
Covers Products: Black Sea, Boomtowne, La Fonda
While Humblemaker Coffee Co. has a traditional RTD cold brew as part of its product lineup, the California company’s more unique offering are its three functional cold brew coffee shots. Packaged in a 2 oz. jar that’s typically used for pills or capsules, these perishable, unpasteurized products offer a different approach to the shot category.
The three SKUs include Boomtowne Original, Black Sea Turkish Cold Brew and La Fonda Mexican Cold Brew. Each variety is paired with a functional blend: B vitamins, biotin, and folate for Original; a cognitive blend with L-theanine and panax ginseng for the Turkish Cold Brew; and a green tea, vitamin C, and antioxidant blend for the Mexican Cold Brew. All of the products are free of any sweeteners and contain zero calories.
From a taste perspective, these products are intense but smooth and fit the profile of what you’d expect from a cold brew coffee shot. Original is unflavored and offers the cleanest taste, while the Turkish blend, which features cardamom and clove, and the Mexican blend, which features cinnamon and cacao, both deliver flavors that are complementary rather than something that takes center stage. If we had to pick a favorite, we’d probably choose La Fonda as the cacao note adds another layer of complexity that we didn’t find in the other two.
While the flavor is good, the real story about this product is the packaging and approach to using functional ingredients. The latter is also a key part of the label, which features a band around the top of the label that lists out the core functional ingredients in capital letters. The rest of the label features text that’s quite small and which is, in some cases, such as the ingredients list, truly too small to read. You’ll also have to examine the bottle closely just to find the words “cold brew shot.”
From our perspective, the current execution needs some work so that consumers recognize it as a beverage product rather than a supplement -- especially since certain types of supplement capsules, such as probiotics, are often merchandised in a refrigerated set.
Our suggestion is that Humblemaker starts by trying to better balance functionality and coffee. Thanks to the choice of packaging and the label design, we think it skews way too far towards the functional side. If the brand were to make the lower region that contains the Humblemaker logo and the copy that describes the coffee larger, we think this would be a helpful change.
Overall, this is a unique and, for the most part, enjoyable effort to innovate the cold brew coffee category. Like any new idea, there’s some fine tuning to be done, but Humblemaker is generally on the right track.