With the 25th anniversary of Friends — America’s favorite ‘90s sitcom about horny Manhattan yuppies — looming on the horizon, the Coffee Bean & Tea leaf is hoping to appeal to fans of the show by introducing a line of Central Perk-branded beans and specialty drinks.
Although the titular friends mostly drank drip coffee and traditional Italian espresso drinks at Central Perk, the new menu of themed specials include a number of frilly modern concoctions: The Phoebe is a cookies-and-cream flavored blended drink (because she’s kooky, maybe?), the Monica is a mocha cold brew over ice (do we think 2019 Monica would drink dairy or sugar?), the Chandler is a mixed espresso beverage with coconut and caramel (could this MAKE any less sense??), and the Joey is a glass of mango iced tea (turns out, it CAN make less sense). The Coffee Bean marketing team did, however, nail the Rachel and Ross-themed beverages — she’s a matcha latte (Jennifer Anniston’s character would definitely be matcha-curious) and he’s a flat white (David Schwimmer’s character is not Australian, but the drink name does describe his personality). In addition to these beverage and coffee beans, the chain is also selling two Friends themed mugs, which went on sale this week and are currently out of stock.
Friends is the rare TV show that got a second wave of fans more than a decade after its finale, as a new generation discovered the series on Netflix. Last year, the streaming titan paid $100 million to WarnerMedia to keep the show through the end of 2019, but Netflix lost the bidding war after that — it’s moving to Warner’s forthcoming streaming service in a $425 million five-year deal. Because the show is still so popular with millennials and Gen Z, a few other brands are deciding to cash in on the 25th anniversary hoopla: Pottery Barn is releasing a line of Friends-inspired furniture, and Ikea recently showed its customers how to create an apartment just like Rachel and Monica’s pad using products from its stores.
If these promotional tie-ins are a hit, perhaps we’ll see more Must See TV-themed nostalgia products — Just Shoot Me instant oatmeal! Suddenly Susan salad dressing! Veronica’s Closet air fresheners! Frasier Talkspace coupons!— in the near future. The Friends drinks will be available at Coffee Bean and Tea stores across the country from July 31 through August 27.
• The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Celebrates ‘Friends’ 25th Anniversary With ‘Central Perk’ Coffee, Tea and Drinks [LS]
• ‘Friends’ Gets 25th Anniversary Drink Salute From Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Chain [Deadline]
• Shop Central Perk [Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf]