During quarantine I’ve been drinking more caffeine than ever, which means that by 10 a.m., I’m usually about to rocket out of my chair.
Maybe that wouldn’t be the case if I was sipping on the java from new startup Taika (“magic” in Finnish). Founded by an ex-Facebook employee and a champion barista, the company makes cans of “perfectly calibrated coffee.” The startup uses a patent-pending process to reduce the amount of caffeine in each can to 130mg. A 12-ounce cup of regular coffee has 200mg. It also features adaptogens and mushrooms like ashwaganda (for calm) and reishi (for immunity).
Taika is launching with three flavors: Black Coffee, Oat Milk Latte, and Macadamia Latte. The coffee is sourced from a roaster in Vancouver, BC, and the lattes are plant-based and don’t have added sugar.
The caffeine curious can get a variety pack of six Taika drinks, two of each flavor, for $36. A 12-pack of a single flavor costs $59. As of now, Taika’s coffee is available for two-hour contactless delivery in three cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. It also sells product to a handful of retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area and L.A.
Taika is clearly trying to appeal to consumers interested in the beverage wellness trend — especially younger people, like millennials and Gen Z. In fact, if you had a list of all the attributes of a trendy CPG beverage company, Taika would check literally all of the boxes. Cool, brightly colored branding? Check. Minimalist packaging? Check. Cheeky marketing? Double check. Taika’s cans even feature a phone number, which consumers are encouraged to text to make sure they got home safe. (I tried it and got a question about the Turing Test, then no response.)
With this wellness focus, Taika is clearly aiming to capture the same demographic as other good-for-you beverage brands, like CBD soda company Recess or Dirty Lemon. Price-wise, it’s in line with both.
Taika isn’t the first company to put adaptogens in coffee, or the first to create lower-caffeine coffee. But combining those two aspects, along with marketing explicitly geared towards wellness-conscious consumers, could help this startup rocket to success.