Nestle has added a new independent coffee chain to its caffeinated cache. On Friday, the company announced its acquisition of the Austin, Texas-based Chameleon Cold-Brew. The news comes almost two months after the transnational food corporation’s decision to buy Blue Bottle Coffee, another independent darling of the coffee world.
The coffee industry is changing, and Nestle knows it. Customers—particularly young, coffee guzzling ones—are leaning toward independent, smaller coffee companies, and the corporation is taking note. Chameleon, Nestle purports, is the most popular organic cold-brew brand in the U.S.
Chameleon Cold-Brew originated in Austin, Texas, where two entrepreneurs began brewing the chilled java in 2010. Since their inception, the company has maintained a commitment to organic, fair-trade beans. Over the years, Chameleon's sales have steadily risen, peaking last week with what is most likely their most lucrative endeavor to date.
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Even after their acquisition by Nestlé, Blue Bottle Coffee has yet to undergo any major changes, so it’s hard to predict what the future of Chameleon could look like. Until then, we can only speculate: Will prices change? Will the small, local brand be easier to find? Will they maintain their commitment to free-trade and organic coffee? And lastly, will the taste change?
I guess the answers will just have to wait.
Are you a fan of Chameleon? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.