Dairy Foods talked to:

Wolfgang Boehmer, senior flavor chemist, Flavor Dynamics Inc.

Bill Bowron, president and CEO, Red Diamond Inc.

Susan Brady, sales manager, Templar Tea Products

Caroline Brons, senior marketing manager, DSM Nutritional Products

James Calberson, vice president of technical development, Finlay Tea Solutions U.S.

Frank Del Corso, director of product development, Allen Flavors Inc.

John Harper Crandall, vice president-sales & marketing, Amelia Bay

Laura Ennis, senior beverage innovation technologist, David Michael & Co.

Kevin Goodner, director of R&D, Sensus/Synergy Flavors

Thuy Huynh, director of flavor and applications, Blue Pacific Flavors

Paulette Kerner Haber, director of marketing communications & research, Virginia Dare

Susan Maiocchi, product optimization manager, S&D Coffee Inc.

Greg Robertson, president, Teawolf LLC

Lisa Taake, business development manager, Beck Flavors

Petra Tanos, business development manager-North America, Martin Bauer Inc.

Sherrilyn Tross-Hall, food technologist, Symrise Inc.

Caroline Vogel, director of quality and R&D, Autocrat LLC

Stephanie Weil, product manager/beverage scientist, Wild Flavors Inc.

Ray Welch, president, ThirsTea Corp.

Stephen Wolf, director of flavor applications, Robertet Flavors Inc.

Jeff Wuagneux, CEO, RFI Ingredients             


The health benefits associated with tea and coffee continue to grow, and dairies are well-poised to manufacture innovative products based on these two globally desired beverages. Not only can tea and coffee ingredients be used to make beverages, they also have application in frozen desserts, yogurt and even cheese. Product Development Editor Donna Berry asked 21 suppliers of these ingredients to share innovations and formulating tips.  


Dairy Foods: Coffee and tea. They sound like two such simple beverages, but anyone who works with them knows they are anything but simple. What make them so complex and how does this complexity impact their use in product formulations?


Frank Del Corso: The complexity stems from the fact that coffee and tea ingredients are made from living plants. The taste and color of the finished product depends on how much water and sun the plants get, soil conditions, age and condition of the plants, etc. After raw tea leaves and coffee beans are gathered, they go through an initial processing, which transforms them into a food-grade form. To make the raw coffee or tea into food ingredients, they must undergo further processing, such as brewing and concentrating, spray drying, freeze drying, milling or agglomerating. All of these processes contribute to the final flavor profile.

Wolfgang Boehmer Coffee is roasted and tea is an oxidized end-product. Both processes are, chemically speaking, totally different, and both generate hundreds, if not thousands of different volatile ingredients. With coffee, roasting produces a mixture of thiazoles, pyrazines and sulfur components, all of which are very unstable and cause a diminishing of taste over time. The prevalent components of tea are mostly created by oxidized fatty acids found in the fixed oils of the tea. Scientists are still in the process of discovering new compounds in both products. What we do know is that nutty, spicy and roasted flavors complement coffee, whereas fruity flavors work better with tea products.

Stephen Wolf:Traditional black tea undergoes a full fermentation step after the leaves have been picked. This is not a microbial fermentation but rather a series of reactions caused by the natural enzymes in the tea leaf that produce thousands of natural compounds. Oolong tea undergoes a partial fermentation, while green and white tea has almost no fermentation. So even though these teas come from the same plant — Camellia sinensis— they have different flavor dimensions. Also, tea plants are cultivated throughout the world, so the environment and methods of cultivation result in variations in flavor even with the same process. 

Susan Maiocchi: There are two basic species of coffee: arabica and robusta. However, take the same species and change the soil conditions, altitude, temperature and rain, add various harvesting and milling methods, and alter conditions of storage and handling, and the coffees transform into very different but powerful combinations of more than 800 volatile and 700 soluble chemical compounds.  The flavor profile of tea leaves depends on variety, growing region, processing techniques and even the part of the leaf harvested. Blending teas provides a plethora of flavor combinations that can be customized for consumer preference.

Jeff Wuagneux: Coffee and tea ingredients contain hundreds of chemical compounds that may impact the final product. For example, there are 323 known volatile compounds in black tea, plus numerous polyphenols, caffeine, theaflavins, purines and more. There are many potential chemical interactions that a formulator must address, such as polyphenols forming a complex with proteins and causing haze in the beverage.

Laura Ennis: Coffee varies in both roast and varietal, so this can pose formulation issues when it comes to the bitter aftertaste associated with the coffee itself. Also, different coffees can produce lower pHs than others, so this has to be taken into account depending on the finished product. With tea, the varietal needs to be considered when flavoring the finished product as some are more astringent than others. When working with tea ingredients for beverages, it is important to add acidulants in a very specific order to ensure clarity.

Petra Tanos: Though all tea is made from the same plant, when you consider that tea grows in more than 30 countries — each with a unique flavor profile — things start to get complicated. The countless different types of tea available add another layer of complexity. And, tea drinkers themselves make it tricky, as every culture has their own way of drinking tea — from spicy masala chai in India to the finely milled green tea known at matcha in Japan. No two tea drinks or tea drinkers are the same.

Caroline Brons: It is the chemical complexity of coffee and tea that sets it apart from simpler flavors and beverages.

Ray Welch: Our company has been manufacturing tea concentrates for 25 years and during this time, a lot has changed, including the regions where tea is grown; the technology for extracting concentrate; and most significantly, people’s palates. The consumer has become much more discerning when it comes to quality and taste.

Bill Bowron: Possibly the most valuable players at a coffee company are those assigned to “cupping” the coffee. Cupping is a sensory analysis of the beans. It involves brewing, tasting, slurping and spitting. It sounds a little primitive but is absolutely critical to producing a great-tasting cup of coffee. Through this process, coffee roasters can better maintain consistency and it is the only way to identify wanted or unwanted flavor notes, acidity, bitterness, nuttiness and other flavor characteristics.  When it comes to tea, quality tea leaves are essential, with flavor varying by country of origin. Most tea sold in the West is a blend of teas from various countries and it is this complexity that enables marketers to create a signature flavor profile. 

Stephanie Weil: The pH of tea and coffee is naturally 5.0 to 5.5, so each beverage tastes best at this pH. For RTD beverages to be shelf-stable, they must be acidified or undergo ultra-high  temperature processing. Both will alter the natural flavor profile of the tea or coffee ingredients. This is why refrigerated RTD beverages tend to have more freshly brewed flavor profiles.

John Harper Crandall: The primary difficulty with RTD coffee and tea beverages has to do with flavor degradation and sedimentation caused by the presence of undesirable solids. Undesirable solids are typically the result of soluble tea powders or kettle-brewing methods used in creating these beverages.

Thuy Huynh: The acids in coffee and tea extracts can react with dairy or soy proteins when the product undergoes thermal processing. If the milk base is not properly buffered to adjust and balance the pH of the added coffee acids or tannic acid in tea, there will often be protein agglomeration in the finished drink. This appears as a ringing around the neck of the beverage, or as small flocculates in the bottom of the beverage container. Thermal processing a high pH product can also produce off-flavors, cause over-browning or caramelizing of sugars, result in flavor and aroma loss, and make colors unstable.


Dairy Foods: What are the trends in ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages?


James Calberson :RTD tea products continue to grow in popularity, with annual sales experiencing double-digit growth in 2011. The many varieties of tea flavors, as well as tea’s healthful qualities, make it one of the most attractive beverage selections for consumers. Healthful attributes of tea include a high antioxidant content, which makes it a perfect partner for beverages that promote similar qualities, such as superfruit juices. Tea’s natural caffeine content and its unique amino acid, theanine, are well suited to be highlighted in energy drinks. Already a key ingredient in kombucha, as the trend for healthy beverages continues, look for tea to be paired with such emerging ingredients as chia seeds and coconut waters.

Weil: Consumers are drinking tea not only for the natural health benefits associated with tea, but for the flavor and less sweet profile. Unique flavor blends, in combination with specialized teas such as chai, rooibos and mate, are increasing in popularity. We are also seeing the pairing of tea with other beverage trends, such as coconut water for hydration or indulgent flavors to provide healthy indulgence. Globally, we are seeing RTD teas with nondairy milks such as those from soy, almonds, coconut, rice and hemp.

Kevin Goodner: There are many new RTD blended and flavored coffee products coming out, along with brands and partnerships forming, in order to capitalize on this growing segment. The grocery shelf will likely experience increased competition in the dairy case as processors create their own brands. The big trend in RTD tea is to offer beverages made with real tea.  There is a rising number of informed consumers who are moving this trend in order to reap the health benefits of real tea rather than just drinking a tea-flavored beverage with caramel color. 

Brons: There is growing interest in dairy-based beverages with added functionality beyond standard nutrition. Examples include a RTD milk-based cappuccino beverage for satiety and RTD chai with skin-nourishing nutrients that help defy the aging process.

Paulette Kerner Haber: Formulators are adding value to RTD coffees through the addition of functional ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein, as well as premium and indulgent nuances from unique flavors, local ingredients and ethical positioning. With RTD teas, the focus is on flavor. Emerging flavors include aloe vera, chocolate, coconut and various superfruits.

Welch: There is a trend towards enhanced and functional teas, as well as unique flavor combinations.  Tea has a versatile flavor profile, enabling it to be paired with many unique and different flavors.

Caroline Vogel: Growth of RTD teas is being driven by fruit-flavored green, red and white teas that are high in antioxidants. A new trend in RTD coffee is functional ingredients as additives. Products are emerging with ingredients like vitamins and potent herbs, such as coffee with ginkgo biloba to help you stay focused. 

Ennis: Most new product development in the RTD tea sector is focusing on lighter, lower-sugar, lower-calorie formulations. Many are including natural fruit juices or natural sweeteners.

Sherrilyn Tross-Hall: Flavor variety is expanding in both coffee and tea. New flavors are inspired by Asian and Hispanic cuisines, changes in consumer demographics and globalization.

Maiocchi: We continue to experience more requests for specialty ingredients such as single origin, organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance and Bird-Friendly (shade-grown) for use in RTD coffee and tea beverages and smoothies.

Susan Brady: Rooibos, also known as red tea, possesses numerous health benefits and has a refreshing berry flavor. Interest in this South African tea continues to grow. But classic products such as sweet tea, half tea and half lemonade, and gentle blends such as green tea with fresh mint never go out of style.

Greg Robertson: This past year we saw a move towards creating formulations based on Ayruvedic and traditional Chinese medicine with herbal ingredients that are both organically sourced and included in an amount that would be considered efficacious in the finished beverage. These coffee and tea products are often created to address specific structure/function need states.


Dairy Foods: What are some new uses for these ingredients in the world of dairy foods?


Brady: Tea is cold- and hot-water soluble so it is a perfect vehicle for most dairy products, including yogurt, ice cream, milk and smoothies. The hot tea market, with chai being popular in Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, has blazed the trail for dairy processors to get creative with chai, which by definition, contains milk.

Maiocchi:Coffee combines well with caramel, nut and savory flavors, and can be used to make innovative variegates for frozen desserts and yogurts. Tea lattes, especially those containing botanicals and spices, have interesting flavor profiles that appeal to today’s well-traveled consumer.

Calberson:The deliciously sweet and exotically flavored Thai teas, which combine characteristic blends of black tea, star anise, cardamom and ground turmeric with sweetened evaporated milk, are becoming more popular. The same is true of the Taiwanese-inspired bubble tea, which is prepared in a dairy base with chewy tapioca pearls and a variety of sweet fruit flavors.

Wolf: Green tea has been traditional in Asian ice creams and we are trying to expand it here. Tea and milk as a blended cold beverage has potential as well.

Welch:Tea ingredients are making their way into all types of frozen desserts. There’s also opportunity with pairing tea with juice. For example, we developed a white tea with grapefruit juice and a green tea with blueberry.

Boehmer: These are some concepts that we have worked on: tea-infused milk chocolate yogurt, roasted spice coffee liqueur parfait, bacon-flavored coffee pudding and light cheese with matcha tea.

Robertson:There are opportunities to use coffee and tea ingredients to create functional dairy products that provide the consumer with a “desired state of being,” such as energy or relaxation. Applications include functional puddings, desserts, smoothies and high-protein drinks.

Lisa Taake:Coffee and tea flavors are being crossed with nontraditional flavors and added to all types of dairy foods. For example, mango green tea is great in frozen yogurt and salted caramel crème cafe is a winner in ice cream and shakes.

Tanos:Products targeting specific segments of the market — milk drinks for kids, hibiscus-based beverages for the Hispanic consumer and functional drinks, yogurt in particular, for those looking for something natural and healthy — are gaining traction. The influence of Asian and European tea- and botanical-based dairy products is steadily changing the face of dairy cases around the country.

Huynh: There’s opportunity in Asian-influenced green and black tea beverages, as well as ancient multigrain- and
oat-based tea beverages. Green tea also has potential in high-protein sports nutrition products and puddings and dairy desserts.

Crandall:Tea and coffee ingredients are increasingly being used in all types of foods and desserts. Some notable applications include adding tea polyphenols to smoothies, marinades and salad dressings in order to boost their antioxidant content.

Vogel: Coffee extracts can be used in cheese, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, meat rubs, yogurt, dairy and nondairy frozen desserts, baked goods, fondants and liquors, and more. Coffee is known to potentiate the flavor of chocolate and also help to reduce the amount of sodium in a savory formula.

Goodner:Pairing natural coffee components with other natural flavors can open up a wide range of sweet-brown creative possibilities. For example, adding chocolate to coffee can give a range of mocha products, while adding cinnamon flavors can drive Mexican coffee profiles. With tea, there’s opportunity to give yogurt some extra functional enhancement by adding tea polyphenols.


Dairy Foods: What type of coffee and tea ingredients does your company market and what makes them unique?            


Boehmer: Flavor Dynamics creates coffee and tea flavors to deliver a specific finished product taste profile.

Bowron:Most of Red Diamond’s products go to retail, foodservice and coffee service customers. The exception is the tea we package for the dairy industry. Our dairy partners brew real tea leaves, then bottle and distribute our RTD “fresh brewed” tea.

Brady:For more than 40 years, Templar has made only tea products. They are easy to use in all applications and provide health benefits along with true-to-cup taste.

Brons:DSM offers the best of green tea in its purest form. We have developed a colorless, virtually tasteless green tea extract that is 94% epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), on a dry basis. This is the powerful antioxidant that makes green tea stand out among other teas.

Calberson:Finlays grows and procures leaf teas from around the world. Being fully vertically integrated, we also manufacture tea extracts and aromas for the RTD market, as well as for powdered beverage mixes.

Del Corso: Allen Flavors markets spray-dried and freeze-dried coffee and tea ingredients, as well as some liquid concentrates. We also offer tea and coffee essences that add complexity and top-notes to finished products. These ingredients are unique because they are clear and you can deliver coffee or tea flavor while not impacting the color of a product. Essentially, you can create a clear coffee or tea beverage or any color you would like it to be.

Crandall: Amelia Bay’s liquid extracts save production time, as compared to powders or kettle brewing, and create premium-quality brewed flavor profiles. We also manufacture brewed quality tea and coffee flavors and aromas for use as components in complex formulations.

Ennis:David Michael has unique flavors in different varietals of coffee (Kona, Sumatra, espresso and more) and tea (green, rooibos, white and black).

Goodner: Sensus offers three types of coffee and tea ingredients: essence, base concentrate and concentrate. We brew the tea or coffee and remove the aroma using a steam distillation process that uniquely captures the fresh-brewed character. The aroma captured is the essence.  The base concentrate is the clarified brewed beverage after the aroma compounds have been removed. The concentrate is a combination of both the essence and the base concentrate and replicates the full flavor profile of fresh-brewed coffee and tea.

Huynh: Blue Pacific produces a wide range of specialty tea varietals in extracts, essences and concentrates. In addition, we have a diverse range of shelf-stable coffee extracts and essences, as well as soluble powders. We have some coffee concentrates that have very high level of solids and low water activity, while maintaining aroma and shelf stability without freezing or packaging aseptically.

Haber: Virginia Dare manufactures tea concentrates (black, green, oolong and rooibos). They function as full flavors for tea beverages or can increase or improve the taste and aroma of tea beverages.  We also have coffee concentrates in liquid and powder forms. Coffee flavor profiles include American Roast, French Roast and Italian Roast and are available as natural, all natural and organic.

Maiocchi: S&D Coffee procures 130 million pounds of green coffee annually from around the globe. Our tea department sourced 35 million pounds of tea leaves last year. Our tea extracts provide flavors with complexity and dimension. Combining them with botanicals, such as hibiscus, lemon grass, rose hips or spearmint, can create even more exciting beverage innovations. 

Robertson:Teawolf produces liquid tea and coffee extracts and distillates.  Examples include a green tea extract high in naturally occurring polyphenols, a black tea extract high in naturally occurring caffeine or a 1:500 iced tea base designed to deliver flavor and color in products with tight margins.

Taake: Beck Flavors partners with its customers, using their base to build back the true taste consumers are looking for in tea and coffee beverages. We offer a line of natural coffee and tea extracts, as well as top notes. By combining the extracts and top notes, we provide a fuller, true-brewed flavor. Finally, we will add the name flavor to the product, such as blackberry, lavender or mulled spice. 

Tanos: Martin Bauer has an extensive range of powder and liquid tea extracts and tea flavors, something for every application, from an RTD green tea with honey and ginseng to green tea ice cream. We also have an extensive line of botanical extracts, which have fantastic potential for new, innovative dairy products such as hibiscus ice cream, cinnamon milk and elderberry-rooibos yogurt.

Tross-Hall: Symrise has a range of tea flavors and an endless variety of synergistic flavors, including fruits, herbs and spices.

Vogel: Autocrat can create a multitude of flavors using coffee beans and tea leaves, not only by changing the bean or tea cultivar blend but changing roasting conditions (coffee) or fermentation conditions (tea), extraction techniques, temperature, solvent and grind size. We use a unique, all-natural extraction method to obtain shelf-stable coffee extracts from roasted beans. As an approved FDA low-acid food plant, we have capabilities and experience with regular and organic coffee extracts, iced cappuccino bases, coffee syrups, espresso pieces, instant and freeze-dried coffee, as well as, premium black tea, green tea, green and black tea, and black tea extracts.

Weil:Wild has advanced technological expertise in manufacturing tea distillates, extracts, concentrations and tea flavors.  Pairing our tea concentrates with our tea flavors creates a unique, yet authentic profile in a stable and efficient application. We also provide a de-flavored green tea catechin extract for use in applications where the health benefits of tea are desired but the tea profile is not.

Welch: ThirsTea focuses on liquid tea concentrates. We work with black, green, white and rooibos, and just started experimenting with a purple tea from Kenya. Our products will never cloud. You will never see sediment and each glass of tea will taste like it was freshly brewed. 

Wolf: Robertet was one of the first to develop RTD tea kits, which are dry units that contain everything needed for a dairy to make RTD tea, except the water and sweetener. In the past few years we have been having success with specialty teas such as Southern-style tea, which has an intense tea flavor and is highly sweetened. We’ve developed RTD tea products that are much clearer and still have the full tea flavor.  We did this without using caramel color, something previously used to get clarity.

Wuagneux: RFI manufactures liquid tea and coffee extracts, concentrates and flavors, as well as high-purity coffee and tea extracts standardized for antioxidant content. The extraction process is designed to use minimal solvent, eliminating the need for further thermal concentration, which normally drives off the essential top-notes or degrades important phytochemicals. This gentle process results in full-flavored, fresh and distinctive liquid extracts. n