Sparkling is the new black

05 September 2019

Yes, Britons love their tea, but coffee is the real talk of the town after the British Coffee Association revealed that we drink 95 million cups of coffee per day in the UK.  That’s right – per day. So naturally the UK offers the perfect setting for experimentation with this magical substance, after all, there’s an audience for it! And what is the latest innovation in the world of coffee? Looks like sparkling is the new black.

And so, I set out to find my three favourite ways of drinking sparkling coffee and here they are.

we drink 95 million cups of coffee per day in the UK. 

Bubbling up the cold brew

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee launched its Sparkling Black Cold Brew Coffee in 2019, timing it perfectly with the London Coffee Festival at the Old Truman Brewery. The drink is cold brewed for 24 hours before adding some sugar and then carbonating. The result is a gently sparkling coffee with refreshing lemon acidity.

It’s similar to a Coca-Cola, minus all the added sugar, so perhaps a bit of a shock when you taste it at first and I felt like I had to train my brain about what to expect before every sip. The sparkle was gentle and the natural fruitiness and sweetness in the coffee was showing well, but I still felt like something was missing to bring this all together.

Score: 6/10

Source: Union Coffee website

A classic goes rogue

Thought you liked Fever Tree with your gin? Well the tonic water giant and Caffè Nero this year took to social media to announce that customers would now be able to buy an Espresso & Tonic at Caffè Nero shops around the country. Coffee and tonic might not be a new thing, and perhaps you might be likely to find this at an independent café near you. However, the fact that Nero is on board means the espresso and tonic drink is becoming more accessible. The tonics of choice for this drink are the Premium Indian (tastes of Mexican bitter oranges) and the Mediterranean (taste of rosemary & lemon thyme) tonics.

Much like Union’s Sparkling Black Cold Brew, Fever Tree and Caffè Nero’s new Espresso & Tonic carries through the citrussy notes from the tonics, akin to an iced tea. I thought the citrus in the Fever Tree Tonics was the element missing in the Union Sparkling Coffee (which was meant to have some but was less apparent). I read that citrus supports the fruit flavours in coffee and helps to balance the nutty sweetness of certain coffees. I liked this very much but quality was variable depending on who prepared your espresso!

Score: 7/10


The challenger brand

Union, Fever Tree, and Caffè Nero are all big players in the world of drinks, but they were not actually the first to bring sparkling coffee to the UK market. Artisanal cold brew coffee brand Sandows launched two coffee sodas in 2018 in 250ml can formats, naturally sweetened with only 3% cane sugar. The sodas were stocked at Selfridges, Whole Foods, and other independent shops around the country, as well directly on the Sandows website.  Available in Citrus and Spice, Sandows describes their sodas as ‘low-sugar pick-me-up for the afternoon slump’. The flavour verdict? Refreshing! Perfect amount of sweetness, satisfying, intriguing yet familiar. This was my top choice!

Score: 8/10

Source: Sandows website

So there you have it – three different types of sparkling coffee available for you to try. Is this simply a fad, or will it really stick around in the same way that cold brew has?




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