Licensing expands single-serve coffee

While hard times have taken a bite out of the gourmet coffee business, indulgent caffeine consumption continues to propel single-serve coffee sales, both for in-home and at-work consumption.

The first liqueur-branded K-Cup coffee from Timothy’s Coffees of the World debuted in September. It joins more than 100 other flavored coffees and teas in K-Cups. Source: Timothy’s Coffees of the World.

Kahlua Original Coffee K-Cup from Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc. is the latest entry into the single-serve segment. The Toronto coffee roaster and restaurant chain, calling it the first liqueur-branded K-Cup, debuted the new entry in September at the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s trade show in Chicago.

Show attendees serve the office-coffee business, and coffee in K-Cups has grown to 6% of all coffee brewed in US offices in the last 10 years, claims Keurig Inc. Keurig licenses K-Cup production to four coffee roasters, including corporate parent Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.

In-home consumption may hold greater potential, particularly with people who want gourmet coffee that costs about 55 cents a cup. “This is an alternative to spending $2-$4 for a latte,” says Tracey Noakes, Timothy’s marketing manager. Specialty grade beans are only part of the appeal: the K-Cup brewing system is taking share in the single-serve segment from pods, which “can be a little more cumbersome to use,” says Noakes. Timothy’s also produces pods.

The Kahlua offering is produced by Timothy’s under license from both Kahlua and Keurig. Keurig makes the brewers that inject pressurized hot water into the air-tight and nitrogen-flushed cups. Keurig also manufactures the packaging machines that fabricate K-Cups, according to Keurig’s Katie Martinson. 

For more information:
Katie Martinson, Keurig Inc., 781-928-0230,

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