Review: Riff Cold Brew
Covers Products: Arm In Arm, Off The Cuff, Paint The Town, Southpaw
Made in Bend, OR, Riff Cold Brew is a line of cold brew coffee that is available in both single serve and bag-in-box formats.
Today, we’re taking a look at their single serve product, which is packaged in 12 oz. glass bottles. There are four different varieties, each of which is unsweetened and unflavored and uses a different type of coffee to achieve its flavor profile.
These four varieties include Off the Cuff (with notes of dark chocolate and toffee), Southpaw (with cocoa nibs and nougat and half the caffeine), Arm in Arm (with notes of red berry and stonefruit), and Paint the Town (with notes of bing cherry and blueberry).
Tasting them, especially after cleansing the palate, you can definitely discern the flavor notes that they’ve called out on the bottle. All four of these products are really top notch in terms of execution, with smooth and balanced flavor that is clearly the result of expert craftsmanship. If we’re comparing any of these against other pure cold brew coffee offerings, Riff can definitely hold its own.
However, from a marketability perspective, this approach seems like it is going against the current of what’s happening in the category. And it’s really hard to say just how big the market is for cold brew coffee that appeals to, no offense intended, coffee geeks.
The packaging only furthers this point. Now, on the one hand, what they’ve created for the brand is actually quite catchy and appealing. “Riff” is a great word that speaks to the artisanal aspect of the product and the visual execution will definitely catch some eyes. On the other hand, the approach to the labels makes it appear as though these are flavored offerings (since that’s how label color is typically used).
All of the above having been said, we feel as though Riff has two things going for it -- a slick brand and the ability to brew great tasting coffee -- that could be the foundation of something with legs. If they evolve the lineup beyond just unflavored coffees, we think there’s some larger potential here. Otherwise, we think what they’ve created, while very good from a technical perspective, might get lost in the mix of what’s already out there.