Millennial Food Founders Create Specialty RTD Super Coffee Brand KITU Life

Rising consumer demands and healthier diet trends are calling for more and more specialty products to fill the void in the market. One of the top trending diets, the ketogenic diet, currently ranks No. 4 on Foodable Labs’ “Top Diets by Social Mentions”.

Former college athlete and now KITU Life Founder, Jordan DeCicco, struggled to find a keto-approved healthy ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee option — so he created his own.

With millennial coffee consumption up 41% this year, according to Foodable Labs, it only makes sense that the world's first enhanced RTD coffee company is lead by millennials themselves: brothers Jordan, Jake, and Jim DeCicco.

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron discusses the specialty beverage market with Jordan and how he provided a solution to a gap in the specialty beverage market at such a young age.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report to learn how this keto-approved beverage came to be, and for insights on how to build a brand as a young entrepreneur with little to no knowledge starting out.

SHOW NOTES

  • 16:25 - Facing a Knowledge Barrier: Managing a Brand Under the Age of 30

  • 19:30 - Strategies on Breaking into the Specialty Food Category

  • 24:39 - How to Tell What Your Company’s Worth Early On

  • 26:32 - Being on Shark Tank: Catapulting the Brand

  • 28:36 - What’s Next for KITU Life?


  • 01:18 - Dorm Room Passion Project Turns into KITU Life Super Coffee

  • 04:07 - The Booming Specialty Beverage Segment

  • 05:46 - What Makes Super Coffee Keto Diet Approved?

  • 07:14 - Challenges of Growing the Business as a Food Founder Under 30

  • 08:37 - Growing into 30 Whole Foods Locations in 6 Months

  • 11:29 - Launching & Co Packers: A Critical Point in a Brand’s Lifespan

 
 

Coffee Demand at an All-Time High. Supply? Not So Much

Coffee

U.S. demand for coffee is at an all-time high. In fact, consumption of hot coffee will be 6.8 pounds per capita in the United States, according to Euromonitor International.

The proliferation of coffee shops, single-cup brewing machines, and the cold brew market have expanded the attractiveness of the industry to even more consumers in recent years. In fact, four out of five consumers now drink coffee, according to Mintel.

“Consumers want new experiences with their coffee, and coffee houses and manufacturers are providing premiumized innovations and experiences with culinary influences,” Elizabeth Sisel, a beverage analyst at researcher Mintel, told Bloomberg. “Luckily, there is a large audience available to reach out to.”

Perhaps not as lucky is the fact that there may not be enough supply to meet the demand. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by the fourth quarter, global inventories of coffee beans could drop to a four-year low.

At the same, recent heavy rains in Brazil have hurt coffee plants. Drought has been so hard on robusta plantations that prices for the bitter-tasting type of coffee that’s usually the cheapest can now be at levels exceeding costs for some Arabica beans. Some roasters are changing their blends, which could squeeze supplies of the higher-quality bean even if farmers harvest a big crop.

“Between tight supply, potentially detrimental weather and extremely strong global demand, especially emanating from the U.S., China and India, that will continue to tighten coffee markets,” Harish Sundaresh, a portfolio manager and commodities analyst for Loomis Sayles, told Bloomberg.  “With the U.S. being the largest consumer, any demand growth there will create massive changes to the demand-supply balance.” Read more

Quick Six With...Andres Pineros of The Fika Company Coffee Roastery

Quick Six With...Andres Pineros of The Fika Company Coffee Roastery

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

While beverage industry trends have lately been dominated by those drinks of the alcoholic persuasion, lately coffee has been getting its fare share of press. With a growing number of coffee shops and cafes popping up nationwide, some roasthouses set themselves apart by working with specialty coffee beans, sourced directly from local farmers, and minimally processed.

Andres Pineros of the Fika Company Coffee Roastery is one such coffee purveyor who seeks to bring an authentic brew into the hand of local Los Angeles residents. 

Read on as we sit down with the roastery owner to ask him six quick questions.  

Foodable: How did you first get your start in the coffee industry?

Andres Pineros: I was born and raised in Colombia, so coffee farms and the coffee industry were very accessible to me. Though, the first time I learned to appreciate a good cup of coffee was during the time I was living in Sweden. I fell in love with their coffee culture - hence the name “Fika”! I started The Fika Company - Coffee Roastery four years ago in Colombia. It is a small coffee bar located in a gourmet restaurant court and it runs successfully up to date.

Foodable: What has been your most surprising or unexpected coffee pairing?

AP: It may sound strange, but spicy flavors such as spicy candies or spicy almonds and nuts behave very interesting with coffee. Usually they enhance the sweetness and body of the coffee in an extreme way. For example, pairing pistachios with a cajun seasoning with your coffee is insane. Another pairing that has the same effect is bacon and coffee. The bacon makes the coffee taste super sweet. Even the act of smelling bacon cooking while sipping coffee is an intense and delightful experience.

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Coffee Byproduct Cascara Quickly Becoming Dallas' Newest Trending Beverage

Coffee culture has gone through a revolution nationwide with a growing number of small, specialty roast houses sourcing sustainably grown beans from around the world. Yet recently in Dallas, another coffee inspired beverage has begun making waves: cascara. A byproduct of coffee harvesting, cascara is made from the fruit that is often discarded during coffee bean harvest. Prepared more like a tea than a coffee drink, cascara offers a smaller amount of caffeine than coffee, but a larger amount of antioxidants. Local Dallas coffee houses and roasters such as Davis Street Espresso and Full City Rooster have each begun offering the beverage to their customers and have noticed a growing consumer interest.

Additionally, coffee purveyors are not the only beverage industry to take an interest in cascara, with Dallas' local brewery Small Brewpub experimenting with utilizing the ingredient in their cascara infused pale ale. Read More

North Beach's Caffe Trieste Offers Patrons History Alongside Strong Espresso

North Beach's Caffe Trieste Offers Patrons History Alongside Strong Espresso

By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor

Like many American cities, San Francisco has witnessed a recent surge in artisan coffee. Premium quality coffee roasters have sprung up around the city, with local brands like Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, and Ritual all expanding across the Bay Area, and beyond. These new coffee superstars have built their brands on sourcing quality products, employing careful and deliberate production methods, and assembling teams of trained professionals to produce their coffee. The classic morning beverage, enjoyed for millennia, has been raised to the level of culinary high art.

The argument could easily be made that the proliferation of high quality coffee in San Francisco can be traced back to a small, unassuming cafe in North Beach. Caffe Trieste, originally opened in the historically Italian neighborhood in 1956, was the first espresso-based coffee house to be opened on the West Coast. The cafe offers a casual slice of Italian culinary culture, with an array of classic pastries, live music, and high quality espresso. In addition to launching the espresso movement in San Francisco, Trieste has developed a history as a literary hotbed within the city. The cafe was frequented by the Beat poets and writers of the 1950s, who clamored for shots of strong espresso after nights of now-infamous debauchery, and remains a favorite of writers and creative types to this day. Since opening its initial location, Caffe Trieste has expanded its brand by opening additional locations around the Bay Area, delighting patrons with old world charm and high quality java.

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