San Francisco-based Peet's Coffee & Tea is introducing a new drink and simultaneously throwing punches at its competitors. According to the New York Times, the company will start selling Javiva — a new cold coffee drink featuring crushed ice — on Wednesday. The drink will be made with "fresh, brewed coffee," which the chain is quick to emphasize. Peet's marketing plan for the drink is "aimed at drawing attention to the fact that most competitive coffee-and-crushed-ice drinks... are made from instant coffee powder, coffee syrups and coffee extracts, not from pots of brewed coffee sitting in the stores where they are sold."
A spokesperson for Dunkin' Donuts tells the paper that the chain's Coolattas are made with a concentrated coffee extract instead of fresh coffee. This is done to "ensure product consistency." Starbucks's famed Frappuccinos are made with something called Frappuccino roast, which is actually just a powder. A Starbucks representative explains that the powder is "a blend of soluble coffee made from 100 percent Arabica beans" created specifically for the Frappuccinos. The rep adds, "Using hot brewed coffee doesn't offer the creamy texture our customers are looking for."
The Javiva, per a press release, will be made from a specific blend of East African coffees, hormone-free milks, and "Javiva Powder" which is a mixture of non-fat dry milk, vanilla powder, and sugar. Just like Coolatas and Frappucinos, the blended drink comes in multiple flavors like coffee, caramel, mocha, and chai, and they come topped with whipped cream and flavored syrups.
While Javiva isn't the first blended ice coffee drink Peet's has introduced — the company sold a drink called Freddo briefly as a "defensive play" against chains like Starbucks — Peet's is surprising late to the game. Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts have been selling blended coffee drinks for years. This makes Peet's marketing strategy interesting: Is it a faux pas to point out the negatives of a competitors product, especially when they have been around a lot longer? It worked for Taco Bell, which launched ads making fun of McDonald's breakfast options when the chain introduced its own breakfast menu. But then again, Taco Bell is an international chain that is far more established than Peet's which only has 235 locations in a handful of cities.