The independently-owned fourth wave coffee company from Philadelphia has found itself competing against major multinational players such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in the $3bn category percolating with acquisitions of smaller coffee brands.
“As a disruptive player in this space, we’re challenging giants and succeeding,” Todd Carmichael, CEO and co-founder of La Colombe, said.
The “Fourth Wave” of coffee refers to the next step in the premium coffee culture movement that will bring greater attention to sourcing and treatment of the coffee bean, according to Mintel.
“It’s the classic story of David vs. Goliath, or in our case Rocky vs. Apollo. We came out of the corner ready for a fight and we’ve won the first round.”
La Colombe Draft Latte products can be found in major retailers including Kroger, Wegmans, Target, and 7-Eleven.
In addition to its 27 cafés throughout the US, La Colombe operates a 55,000-square-foot production facility in Western Michigan that produces more than 30,000 cases per week to keep up with consumer demand.
Changing RTD coffee through ‘obsessive innovation’
La Colombe’s draft lattes differ from many RTD coffee products on the market because of its “café-style drinking experience” using a patent-pending process invented by Carmichael that releases gas upon opening creating foam traditionally found in a hot latte.
The original Draft Latte is lactose-free with no added sugar, making it a better-for-you RTD coffee option, according La Colombe.
Over the past year, the coffee roaster has expanded its original range of regular, mocha, triple shot, and vanilla draft lattes, adding chai, coconut, coconut mocha, and pumpkin spice varieties. For its next launches, La Colombe called upon the public in its “Craft the Next Draft” campaign, asking consumers to vote on the next two draft latte flavors, which will debut at Expo West in March.
La Colombe also produces a non-textured, ready-to-drink coffee: Pure Black, a canned cold-pressed coffee.
“Our aim is to change the landscape of coffee through obsessive innovation and the cleanest ingredients,” Carmichael said.
“The next two Draft Latte seasonal beverages will take flavor innovation to the next level.”