Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Rhizo Coffee A Novel Fermented Coffee Product

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posted on 2021-12-08, 22:30 authored by Morison, Ani

The aim of this project was to discover whether there is a market for fermented specialty coffee beverages, as the niche for fermented products is expanding, due to people becoming more health conscious and aware about their health (Mellentin, 2017). This fermented beverage could potentially be less bitter due to lower acidity levels and easier to digest then most coffees due to its lower caffeine content. The coffee product would be made from high quality Arabica coffee beans, to ensure the best possible flavour characteristics (Driftaway Coffee, 2018) and ethical sourcing and sustainable practices would be implemented during the coffees development and fermentation processes. As the specialty coffee industry is expanding globally (Lee W. , Cheong, Curran , Yu, & Liu, 2015), it brings about the opportunity to disrupt the specialty coffee market with this fermented product through the collection of evidence-based qualitative and quantitative research, to build a strong business case for its commercialisation. The key market research findings from this study show that people generally like to experiment with their coffee and are willing to try fermented coffee beverages. Qualities that the majority of respondents look for in a coffee brand are good taste and flavour, ethical sourcing of their products and the use of high-quality coffee beans. Other findings suggest that the specialty coffee industry is a very saturated market (The Register Team (TRT), 2017) and in order to stand out in this market the product needs to have a strong point of difference, a good brand and an interesting story. Good taste and high quality are two traits that seem to be the baseline for coffee products in the New Zealand specialty coffee market (Anthony, 2014). The key scientific findings are to be confirmed in subsequent laboratory trials, which will aim to validate the science in the papers by Lee, Wai Cheong , Curran, Yu, & Shao Quan, 2016b; Lee, et al., 2016c further. The results from this project have enabled the development of a business strategy that primarily targets those who earn between $50,000-$99,999 New Zealand Dollars (NZD) per annum (p.a.) in the age range between 18-34 years old. This subgroup could be expanded to those who earn $50,000+ NZD p.a. and target millennials (born between 1980 and 2000 or 18-38 years old) in future research (Goldman Sachs, 2018). In the early stages of the project if the science is validated on a small scale, capital could be raised through a crowd funding platform like Kickstarter, so that subsequent trials can continue (Kickstarter, 2018a). When the business case for the product is strong, key investors will be targeted for their assistance in future product development, verification and market validation. This strategy is a part of the business model for the project that outlines the best course of action given the current market research and scientific evidence that is available. If this project were to be successfully funded and a minimum viable product were to be developed, large scale laboratory trials could be conducted bringing the product one step closer to commercialisation. If the product were to reach this stage, it would allow specialty coffee consumers the opportunity to experience a fermented coffee beverage that uses ethical and sustainable practices and potentially contains unique flavour nuances, health benefits and less bitter compounds.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Innovation and Commercialisation

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Marketing and International Business


Keyzers, Robert