Trend in sweet heat continues to grow in beverages, desserts and beyond.

The sweet heat flavor sensation sweeping across food menus now has the beverage world buzzing with major brands like Starbucks rolling out spicy drink options to meet growing demand. Boba Guys successfully tapped into this latest trend by partnering with Mike’s Hot Honey for an LTO catering to this consumer desire for new, unexpected flavors to tempt the taste buds.

“I’ve noticed that in recent years, there’s been a focus on chilies and other spices in the flavor profiles of bar menus, along with ice cream menus, and dessert menus,” says Alex Lam, manager at Boba Guys. “While at the National Restaurant Association Show, I came across the Mike’s Hot Honey booth and they were serving a spicy pineapple margarita with their hot honey and it was delicious. I thought, ‘Why don’t we do something like this?’ It was warming, and I could adapt it to be more fall-appropriate.”

As a result of this encounter, Boba Guys introduced the Mike’s Hot Honey Coffee Cloud to appeal to those seeking an exciting twist in their drink choices. It featured rich notes of coffee blended with the warmth of honey and spices and topped with a pumpkin-infused cold foam cloud, creating the perfect seasonal menu addition.

“We were looking to try something new and exciting but not exactly sure how it was going to be accepted,” Lam says. “It was such a unique menu item, especially for Boba, but those who were adventurous enough to have a little spice in their boba have really enjoyed it.”

As the range of menu items attests, consumer appetite for spicy flavors is undeniable, with 75 percent of consumers expressing enjoyment of spicy foods, according to Datassential. This strategic partnership between Mike’s Hot Honey and Boba Guys led to an extended LTO when tapping into this trend, running from October 2023 to March of this year.

“The team at Mike’s Hot Honey was very hands-on and helpful, ensuring we had the ingredients we needed and supporting us with marketing,” Lam says. “Their involvement definitely contributed to the success of the collaboration.”

According to a global study by Kalsec, over 10 percent of consumers are willing to try spice in non-alcoholic drinks. “We were one of the first to mass market something like this,” says Andrew Chau, co-founder of Boba Guys. “It’s about pushing the envelope and setting trends. We always look ahead, trying to set trends rather than follow them.”

This forward-thinking approach ensures that Boba Guys remains a leader in flavor innovation. Lam explains other trends on the horizon for Boba Guys: “We’re looking into trends like clarified milk punch and different flavored foams. We’re also experimenting with new toppings like the rice topping on our spring-summer menu, which you don’t see often in other boba shops.”

Boba Guys’ Mike’s Hot Honey Coffee Cloud LTO proves embracing emerging consumer trends and daring to innovate can create standout products and results. This collaboration with Mike’s Hot Honey encouraged Boba Guys to continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the beverage world.

Partnering with Mike’s Hot Honey taps into the trending demand for sweet heat, attracting adventurous consumers. Boba Guys’ success with its spicy, innovative beverages demonstrates the potential for creating buzz and increasing engagement. Mike’s Hot Honey’s support and unique flavor profile ensure standout menu items that drive customer interest and loyalty.

Along with the beverage collaboration with Boba Guys’, Mike’s Hot Honey has helped satisfy consumers’ cravings across numerous drink and dessert categories. This includes a Mike’s Hot Honey flavored ice cream with Cold Stone Creamery, a milkshake with Melt Shop, Hot Honey Margaritas and more.

To learn more about partnering with Mike’s Hot Honey, visit their website.

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