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Trends in flavors and packaging.

Cinnamon, spice, and the packaging is so nice ... an apt description for hot new coffee flavors and innovative packaging presentations that are on trend for the upcoming gift giving season.

Flavorings

The flavor of cinnamon by itself is not new, in fact it is very old. For generations, families have sprinkled cinnamon in coffee grounds or used cinnamon stir sticks to create cinnamon flavored coffee. Cinnamon was also one of the few flavorings available for coffee in the early to mid-80's when flavored coffees were first beginning to make an impact in the gourmet coffee segment.

The original cinnamon flavors were too strong. They assailed the taste buds like a red hot cinnamon candy. Not only were they hard on the taste buds, they were impossible to grind or brew because the flavor oils would cling and subsequent batches of coffee would all taste like cinnamon. This is no longer true.

"Newer flavored coffees use cinnamon judiciously," according to William Palmer, vice president of the New Jersey-based Flavor and Fragrance Specialties flavor house. "Cinnamon is used as a blending ingredient. Although people are still looking for high impact flavors, success with cinnamon has been with using its sweet notes rather than the hot ones. Just look at the success of Cinnamon Hazelnut."

Two flavorings that do well for Flavor and Fragrance Specialties are Egg Nog and Pumpkin Spice. "If people can get past the name, it is a great cup of coffee," according to Palmer. The Egg Nog contains ginger, cinnamon, butter and rum flavorings and the Pumpkin Spice combines allspice, ginger, and cinnamon flavorings.

Any roaster can buy flavorings that contain cinnamon or different spices and create their own particular blend and name. When Neighbors Quality House Coffee in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, came out with their "Snickerdoodle" flavor, many people said "Snicker What?" but according to a company spokesperson, this is their number one seller.

Snickerdoodle is the name of a cookie, and Neighbors Coffee Company duplicates the sweet flavor and aroma of the cookie in their coffee. It contains nut flavorings and just a hint of cinnamon that lends a good aroma but again, is not overpowering.

Another coffee company that has gone to baked confections for inspiration is Atlanta Coffee Roastery in Woodstock, Georgia. This coffee company has a flavored coffee called "Strudel Cake"[TM] that is often imitated but never duplicated. According to Barbara Ringgold, vice president, the flavor is designed to mimic coffee cake. It has a hint of cinnamon with creamy, smooth notes. The aroma of the coffee is reminiscent of a coffee cake baking." This company exhibited at the summer Fancy Food Show in New York City and the aroma of this coffee drew people into the booth with the question of "What is that heavenly aroma."

Ringgold explained that Atlanta Coffee Roastery experiments with many flavors, combining and mixing until just the right taste and aroma is achieved. According to Ringgold, many companies have tried to duplicate the recipe for their Strudel Cake[TM] but have been unable to do so because they have created their own proprietarial blend of flavorings to achieve their unique taste and aroma.

Barrie House Gourmet Coffee Company of Mount Vernon, New York has several new flavored coffee entries with cinnamon notes but one that is especially inventive is "Bananas Foster" that has to have been based on the famous New Orleans dessert by that name. Banana flavoring adds richness to coffee and the use of the cinnamon is restrained and pleasant. It will be interesting to see how this coffee is received by the consuming public.

Many coffee companies exhibited at the New York show and just about every one of them had a Cinnamon Hazelnut flavor. In the aroma of the better ones, sweet, nutty, notes predominated with just a whisper of cinnamon. Praline flavors with just a hint of cinnamon also seemed very popular. A definite trend in the flavored coffees is to combine established sellers with sweet flavor notes such as nut, chocolate, and vanilla with a restrained blend of cinnamon and other spices. The resulting flavorings are delicious enough to cause die-hard avoiders of flavored coffees to give them another try.

Packaging

Coffee Masters, Inc. of Ingleside, Illinois has introduced a unique gift pack design that is appropriate for gift giving all years long. They have assembled a clear acetate tote containing five packets of their top selling flavored coffees, Irish Creme, Vanilla Nut Creme, Chocolate Raspberry, Snickerroodle, and Colombian Supremo. The individual packages of coffee are packed into gold film and contain 1.5 ounces of coffee each.

Concentrating more on seasonal gift packaging, Country Coffee Company, Inc. of Tyler, Texas has introduced four different Christmas designed packages containing 2 ounces of ground gourmet coffee. The coffees include Hazelnut Cream, a "New" Holiday Blend, Colombian Supremo Decaffeinated, and Holly Blend (their Snicker-Roo). Country Coffee Company points out that these coffees are wonderful for gift baskets, as a stocking stuffer and a great impulse item.

One of the most beautiful gift sets of coffee on the market this year is presented by First Colony Coffee and Tea Company, Inc. headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. The new First Colony gift assortments line features original themes for the holiday season including Little Drummer Boy Gift Box, Italian Holiday Ensemble Gift Box, Scottish Holiday Ensemble, and Coffee Tree of

Christmas Gift Box. In addition, First Colony offers a Cowboy Coffee Gift Box, and an Organic Gift Bag for year-round occasions.

For more information on any products mentioned, please contact the suppliers directly:

Flavor and Fragrance Specialties, 800)354-7192; Neighbors Coffee and Tea, (800)299-1924; Atlanta Coffee Roastery, (800)878-7035; Barrie House Gourmet Coffee, (800)876-2233, Coffee Masters, (800)334-6485; Country Coffee, (800)346-5459; First Colony Coffee and Tea, (800)446-8555.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Grounds for Discussion
Author:Sturdivant, Shea
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Column
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Words:964
Previous Article:The many facades of tea.
Next Article:Sweetening the bottom line.
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