A Thai pharmacist is delivering the world’s first instant coffee with chilli extract.

“Coffee is one of the world’s most consumed beverages, excluding water, and the instant coffee market is large but now dominated by the big players. Therefore, if I want to penetrate the market, I must serve a new flavour, which has never existed in the market,” Star Herb Pharma Managing Director, Sasima Arjsongkram, says.

As a pharmacist who loves cooking, Arjsongkram spent around five years developing a new formula for three-in-one coffee, Prikka. She set herself four goals for her new instant coffee: a new flavour, health benefit, new customer experience and Thainess.

To create a new taste for coffee drinkers, she considered the unique Thai chillies.

“During the research and development process, I tested many kinds of chillies and finally, I chose Thai Bird chilli because of its flavour and aroma,” Arjsongkram explains. In terms of benefit, chillies contain capsaicin, which is known to boost the metabolism, helping the body to produce extra heat and burn more calories.”

Prikka coffee drinkers can instantly feel that it is different from other ordinary instant coffees while getting the benefit from the chilli extract.

“From the first sip, they will discover a hot flavour and feel warm inside,” she says. “Tourists can buy our coffee as a souvenir for theirs loved ones.”

Prikka Spicy Coffee has won several awards internationally including the Gold Medal at the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, and the Silver Award for the Most Innovative Food & Beverage Product at the MIHAS Awards, 2019.

Since its launch in early 2018, Prikka Spicy Coffee has been exported to China and Taiwan, while the US will become the next export market later this year.

“About 90% of Prikka coffee is exported and the rest is sold domestically,” she adds. “We have a sole distributor in China.”

The company has adjusted Prikka’s taste and ingredients to meet the preference of customers in each market. For example, the company offers original instant coffee containing chilli extracts and other ingredients, which help boost the metabolism to serve health conscious customers in Thailand.

“Prikka coffee sold in China is spicier than the one sold in Thailand to serve the mass market. Key ingredients include coffee, chilli extract and sweetener with non-dairy creamer. Compared with the Chinese, Taiwanese people prefer less spicy black coffee without non-dairy creamer and sweetener,” she says.

By participating in THAIFEX-World of Food Asia in 2018 and 2019, Arjsongkram has been able to promote her innovative product to the world and meet potential business partners.

“In 2018, we got a Taiwanese buyer, and this year, several buyers from the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia showed high interest in our product,” she says.

For more information, visit: www.prikkaspicycoffee.com

Words by Somhatai Mosika