The product is made with Brazilian coffee and comes in dark blend, vanilla and caramel flavors. There’s also a calorie-free zero sugar version. Each 12-ounce can has 69 milligrams of caffeine. That’s about half as much as is in a 12-ounce cup of coffee but far more than what’s in a can of Coke.
The new product comes at a time when Coca-Cola (KO) is focusing on its core products, including Coke and Coke Zero Sugar. Last year, the company announced plans to cut its portfolio in half and has discontinued brands like Tab and Odwalla to focus on its most powerful ones.
Coca-Cola first announced the January launch of Coke with Coffee over the summer. But it’s been experimenting with a Coke and coffee blend for years. In 2006, the company launched Coca-Cola Blak, a coffee-flavored version of its signature product, in the United States. The beverage was a notorious flop, and Coke stopped selling it just two years after it launched.
Coke with Coffee was piloted in Japan in 2018. Since then, it has become available in over 30 markets throughout the world, including Australia, Italy and Vietnam.
Now, it seems Americans are finally ready.
The company spent about two years testing the latest product in the United States ahead of the launch, said Brandan Strickland, brand director of trademark at Coca-Cola in North America.
“It’s not just testing a product and a formula, but it’s also making sure that we have the right packaging, that we’re really understanding what consumers want in the drink,” he said. The formula for Coke with Coffee differs from region to region to cater to local tastes.
Coke with Coffee is designed to appeal to customers looking for an afternoon caffeine pickup that’s an alternative to regular coffee, or a regular Coke. People may feel the need for a boost now more than ever, Strickland said, with the pandemic forcing many to work while caring for children and other relatives.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Brandan Strickland's title. He is brand director of trademark at Coca-Cola in North America.