Review: Taika

Posted: May 18, 2020 at 4:58 PM (Last Updated: May 22, 2020 at 1:40 PM)
Taika

Covers Products: Macadamia Latte, Black Coffee, Oat Milk Latte

Taika is a new line of 9.5 oz. ready to drink coffee beverages that describes itself as “the world’s first perfectly calibrated coffee.” The three-SKU line, which is sold direct-to-consumers via the company’s website, features formulations that are enhanced with adaptogens and functional mushrooms while still providing smooth flavor.

The initial three offerings include Black Coffee, Oat Milk Latte and Macadamia Latte. While the Black Coffee variety is unsweetened and contains zero calories, the other two products are sweetened with monk fruit and allulose. There are 70 calories in Oat Milk Latte and 90 calories in Macadamia Latte. 

The functional ingredients for these products include L-theanine, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi. The Macadamia Latte also contains MCT oil and both of the lattes have added vitamin A, D2, and B12. 

And of course, they all contain caffeine to the tune of 130mg per can. As compared to the other ingredients, this is the most understood and immediately effective functional ingredient in these drinks. The company claims to have a patent pending process that allows them to control the caffeine content, which results in this product coming in with about 25% less caffeine than standard brewed coffee. 

When it comes to taste, Taika has done a really nice job formulating these products. With a bold and smooth flavor and  a slight earthy note to its finish, the Black variety can definitely hold its own against other RTD coffee products. 

But it’s really the lattes that proved to be the more interesting flavors of the bunch. We really like the use of macadamia milk, which gives the product some richness and also a subtle nutty note. The monk fruit and allulose, which is a lesser known keto friendly sweetener, gives the product a light sweetness without any aftertaste. Plus, both of these SKUs have a nice balance between the “milk” and the coffee.

Still, if we had to pick a winner based on flavor, we’d probably go with Macadamia Latte. We really like the nut flavor and it tastes a bit cleaner than the oat milk. However, we think that oat milk is going to be more marketable and we question whether they need both of these SKUs in the long run.

Visually, the can design takes the unusual approach of making a phone number the key visual element on its packaging. This phone number takes up about 50% of the front panel real estate starting at the top. Below that, you’ll find the Taika logo, a tagline of “coffee that conjures clarity, the SKU name, and a small callout for the drink’s sweetener status (“no sugar added,” “no sugar,” or “ unsweetened” depending on the SKU).

From a design perspective, there’s something about having a phone number as the key design element that feels jarring and distracting. For a brand that’s relying exclusively on DTC, we understand why they are doing it as it creates a call to action of sorts, but it also has a slightly temporary feel to it; It feels like it  emphasizes how to buy it when the consumer is still asking themselves “what is it?” While this is an okay place for the brand to be at launch, we think it’s going to need to be flipped at some point.

In the end, Taika is an enjoyable and well executed effort to create a functional take on RTD coffee. While we definitely have some questions about the approach to the label and see a need for additional SKUs, this is a nice start.


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