(Photo | Courtesy of Riff Cold Brewed)
Alter Ego, Riff Cold Brewed’s innovative extension of the coffee beverage category, is now available for distribution and at retail in select locations in Oregon, Northern California and Arizona. Alter Ego is all-natural, brewed from the surprisingly sweet, refreshing and delicious upcycled coffeefruit, delivering a little over 100mg of naturally occurring caffeine and packaged in 12-ounce sleek cans with a suggested retail price of $2.99.
“We had confidence we were on to something and were optimistic about its potential,” said Paul Evers, Riff co-founder and CEO. “And that enthusiasm has become tenfold with the validation we’ve received throughout the entire channel — retail buyers, distributors and consumers have all been surprised by how light, fruity and refreshing Alter Ego is with the source ingredient coming from the coffee plant. It’s a very different experience than coffee.”
Alter Ego (named for being coffee’s lesser-known counterpart) is brewed from dried coffeefruit, or “cascara” — the naturally sweet, naturally caffeinated fruity pulp or “cherry” that surrounds the green coffee bean prior to harvest. Cascara (Spanish for “husk” or “peel”) has traditionally been a wasted byproduct of processing at the source.
“We couldn’t wait to get Alter Ego in front of our customers,” said John Boyle, executive vice president of Products at Oregon-based independent grocery chain, Market of Choice. “It’s a perfect ‘wedge’ product — there’s nothing out there like it. It’s a high-quality craft beverage story, being all-natural, clean-label, good-for-you, backed by a powerful upcycled sustainability angle that will really resonate with our audience. Our customers win and the planet wins!”
This little fruit tells a pretty big environmental impact and sustainability story.
- When left to waste in farmers’ fields, decomposing coffee fruit generates a massive impact on the environment.
- The global coffee industry generates nearly 50 billion pounds of coffeefruit waste each year.
- Decomposing coffeefruit waste emits greenhouse gases equivalent to 16.6 million megatons of carbon dioxide.
- The waste ends up in fields and waterways, where it decomposes, releasing harmful mycotoxins that seep into water and soil. When upcycled and processed for consumption, coffeefruit provides a significant economic opportunity for family-run coffee farms around the globe.
- Farmers can potentially double revenue by processing coffeefruit for sale.
- Employment opportunities can also double throughout the supply chain, with more of those jobs being made available to women.
- Coffeefruit requires virtually no additional investment for planting, harvesting, and processing. It’s also less subject to volatile commodity pricing. With Alter Ego, coffeefruit offers a ton of benefits to consumers.
- Alter Ego’s delicious and complex tea-like flavors originate from the coffeefruit itself, including refreshing notes of apricot and lemon.
- Each 12-ounce serving delivers a little over 100mg of caffeine, just a notch below the nation’s most popular energy drinks.
- Alter Ego is an all-natural energy drink alternative — 100 percent free of artificial or synthetically produced ingredients.
“With the massive consumer migration away from synthetic to natural energy, Alter Ego is the perfect offering,” said Steve LeFevre, category manager at Arizona-based AJ’s Fine Foods. “With nine milligrams of natural caffeine per ounce, it hits the sweet spot on function while also being super enjoyable and refreshing to drink— especially in the heat of Arizona’s summer.”
“Most people know very little about the coffee plant beyond coffee beans,” said Nate Armbrust, Riff co-founder and director of brewing and innovation. “Alter Ego offers a fun and incredibly innovative extension of the coffee beverage category. And, I love how it turns ‘waste streams’ into additional ‘revenue streams’ for hard-working farmers. It’s hard to believe coffeefruit’s been discarded for so long with how delicious it is.”