Flavor of the Year

Foodservice syrups producer Torani, San Leandro, Calif., revealed its 2023 “Pourcast Flavor of the Year” and a new offering: Torani Puremade Toasted Black Sesame Syrup. Officials say it addresses two major consumer trends: “culinary tourism” and “Instagrammable” experiences.

Torani says Black sesame seeds are a versatile ingredient prevalent in Japanese, Chinese, and Indian dishes. They are commonly used in both savory and sweet foods and beverages. Those familiar with Japanese cuisine might recognize black sesame as a component of furikake seasoning, while fans of Indian cuisine will know it as a key ingredient in the dessert black sesame ladoo (also called black til ladoo).

Officials say Torani Puremade Toasted Black Sesame Syrup combines toasted, earthy, and nutty notes with a striking black hue and “just the right amount of sweetness.” The syrup fits various applications including lattes, cold brews, cold foam toppers, milkshakes and mochas. Torani notes that it’s made with pure cane sugar, all natural flavors, color from natural sources, no preservatives, and no GMOs.

Thai Tea Concentrate 

Heather Howitt knows the tea concentrate business and had her own company, Oregon Chai, from 1993 to 2004. In 2017, she came back returned with Thaiwala, a Thai tea concentrate. Post COVID, Thaiwala earned a Specialty Food Association 2021 sofi award (silver award / tea category) and the Portland, Ore.-based company continued to push mainstream distribution in 2022.

To make Thaiwala, Howitt mixes organic caramel, organic cane, organic vanilla and pure cocoa with the fresh-cut organic Thai herb (pandan leaf) sourced directly from a tea farm in Northern Thailand. They also use beta-carotene (from carrots) to give the beverage its pop of color.

“I created Thaiwala because I didn’t see a truly all-natural Thai iced tea in cafés or grocery stores and I wanted to make a version I wanted to drink,” said Howitt.

A shelf-stable, 32oz carton has eight servings. Thaiwala is available online and in more than 3,000 stores nationwide.

Ready to Drink Lattes

Single-serve coffee producer and co-packer NuZee, Inc., Richardson, Tex., said it expanded its Coffee Blenders line in Korea with new ready-to-drink Coldpresso offerings. Officials say the "low caffeine cold espresso" drinks offer a clean aftertaste and coffee aroma without the higher acidity and heat. The line comes in recyclable glass with stainless steel lids.

"We are excited to expand the Coffee Blenders brand into a ready-to-drink format as it gives our customers new ways to enjoy our products," said Sangyun Park, product development manager with NuZee Korea. "We spent a lot of time developing the ready-to-drink coffee line to ensure the Coffee Blenders Coldpresso latte line would have a product that we believe just about everyone could enjoy!"

The Coffee Blenders Coldpresso line includes Coldpresso Dolce Latte, Royal Ceylon Milk Tea (pictured), Royal Earl Grey Milk Tea, Earl Grey Milk Tea Café Latte, and a Coldpresso Café Latte.

Hispanic Smoothies

This summer saw LALA US Inc., Dallas, introduce authentic LALA licuados Mexican breakfast smoothies containing milk, fruit, and oats. Officials say Licuados are a classic Mexican beverage sold at juice and licuado stands and blended like smoothies—but not as thick.

“LALA Licuados are the perfect way to start your morning,” said Matt Okeson, head of marketing and R&D for LALA U.S. “With the goodness of oats, real milk, and a blend of real fruits, LALA Licuados are a Hispanic breakfast standard in a convenient ready-to-drink format.”

LALA Licuados come in three flavors: Papaya, Mango-Carrot, and Vanilla Honey. Each bottle features 8g of protein and is a good source of fiber and vitamins A&D.

RTD Vietnamese Coffee

This summer saw Nguyen Coffee Supply, New York, NY, launch a ready-to-drink (RTD) Nguyen Vietnamese Coffee made with 100% robusta beans from Vietnam and manufactured in the United States.

"After studying the RTD coffee market in the US for years, I could only find "100% arabica" or non-descript blends,” said Nguyen Coffee Supply Founder Sahra Nguyen. “We're excited to show the world the potential of Vietnam's beloved robusta."

The first of several new items was a Classic Black Cold Brew. Nguyen says it features 100% natural ingredients with no sugar added. It also is dairy-free/vegan, gluten-free and shelf stable.