Pepsi recently announced that they will be releasing Pepsi Cafe in April 2020 for a limited time. This product combines two things that I feel were meant to stay separate: coffee and cola. It appears that the drink will come in two varieties: original and vanilla. CNBC reports, “The coffee-infused cola beverage has nearly twice as much caffeine as regular Pepsi.”
Now, cola and coffee is not a new concept. Back in 2006, Coca-Cola released it’s own version of a coffee-cola hybrid called Coca-Cola Black. Needless to say, the product was a total flop. Consumers did not like the taste and simply did not see Coca-Cola as a ready-to-drink coffee brand. Coca-Cola Blak was removed from shelves in 2008.
In the years since the Coca-Cola Blak flop, consumers have changed their perception on coffee products. In May, Coca Cola announced it would be bringing back the coffee cola drink. Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business writes, “Ready-to-drink iced coffees also are growing. And people are embracing mixed beverage categories.” She lists White Claw as a successful example of a product in a “mixed beverage category.”
To be completely honest, I simply cannot get on board with a coffee-cola hybrid. Coca-Cola Blak sounded disgusting to me when I first heard about it and Pepsi Cafe sounds equally as gross. Sure, it’s not entirely fair to judge the product before it even comes out, but I am willing to try the drink once it hits shelves in April. I do not think the world needs a mix of coffee and cola. Who even thought of carbonated coffee in the first place?
Yes, ready-to-drink coffee products have grown significantly over the last few years. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the market with grow to over $36 billion by the end of 2025 in comparison to $19 billion in 2017. This category is dominated by companies like Starbucks and Nestle and I’ve seen an abundance of private label coffees in grocery and convenience stores trying to capture some of the market share. Now, it appears Coca-Cola and Pepsi want to jump on the bandwagon too.
In my opinion, I just do not think cola and coffee belong together. I enjoy coffee for the taste and the caffeine boost. Taste aside, coffee and cola is just confusing. Is it a soda or an energy drink? If Pepsi Cafe contains twice the caffeine as a regular Pepsi, that’s about 75 milligrams of caffeine per can, which is comparable to a tall Caffe Latte at Starbucks. However, I cannot see myself drinking a soda/coffee combo to get my day started. I guess we will have to wait and see how this whole debacle pans out.
What do you think about Pepsi Cafe? Leave a comment below!