Shaken or stirred? Neat or on the rocks? How do you take your coffee and tea? Our favourite bean and leafy beverages are ironically undervalued as commodities in our own operations, relegated to the back of the menu. Coffee and tea are ubiquitous today, but too often restaurateurs aren’t exploring opportunities to capitalize on their popularity.
We have access to extensive knowledge and taste experiences from remote and fascinating suppliers in our exciting global coffee and tea markets, and remarkably consumers are still thirsty for more! Coffee and tea are not trends, but staples in our global society. There are few food or drink items, which are so common, enjoyed around the world and across cultures. Coffee and tea have vast followings! There is plenty of reason to reclaim these drinks as menu offerings. Offering coffee and tea cocktails in your operations is one sure-fire way to stir things up in a contemporary way, educate customers about the versatility of coffee and tea, and significantly increase your bottom line.
BACK TO BASICS
Most suppliers of coffee and tea are so passionate about what they do that they would gladly talk all day about their products. As a restaurateur let them talk to you and to your staff. Let them bring their knowledge and passion to your operations. If customers are presented with information and a sense of wonder is created, they’ll be excited to try a cocktail or brew which is neither pedestrian nor predictable. Well-educated staff tend to become passionate themselves about your offerings and are your frontline closers when it comes to presenting new concoctions to your diners. Knowledge is power!
WALK THE WALK
Having the proper equipment and storage will help to bring out the best in your coffee and tea beverages. Be exceptional. If you can grind coffee in house, do it. Your supplier and your customer will thank you. Store teas in opaque containers, or dark places. Store your coffee in a glass or ceramic container, also in a dark place. Don’t put either in the freezer! Moisture will kill the flavour and aroma in both coffee and tea. With proper care and preparation, bringing coffee and tea back to the forefront has the potential to enrich your operations.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BREAKFAST BOX
Incorporating coffee and tea into your bar menu will give customers more reason to try your coffee or tea in all forms, not to mention drawing in new customers. We know both coffee and tea have been integrated into food, as well as shaken iced teas and cold- brewed coffees, but coffee and tea are superstars when they lend themselves to mixology. A simple mix of cold-brew espresso and amaretto, shaken with an egg white, creates a sweet, velvety drink while retaining the robust nature of the espresso. Classic flavours, mixed with the consistency of egg white, create a smoothness that mimics a latte. Flavours that people know will draw them to the menu item; the addition of the un- known will inspire immediate interest and ultimately return business.
FRONT OF HOUSE + BACK OF HOUSE = COCKTAIL SYNERGY
Deciding the cocktail offerings in your operation is something that the front and back of house should do together. The knowledge that your chefs have about pairings, using atypical produce and creating balanced flavour profiles, will help to develop an exhilarating and well-thought-out cocktail menu. The knowledge that your bartenders have about mixology ratios and their experiences with customer input will make that exciting new cocktail a menu main.
Try an infusion of poached pear syrup, Earl Grey tea and Cava. Poaching pears in elderflower water, lemon zest, cloves and Cava (the Spanish answer to Champagne) creates a zesty fruit base to complement the floral flavours of Earl Grey. Served in a champagne flute rimmed with turbinado sugar and finished with more Cava creates a fun, easy drinking cocktail. The light and unique flavours make this a versatile option to begin the evening, or a suitable option for those who may not want a full dessert, but still want a sweet finish.
Turn the bean into the new Old Fashioned using a very dark roast rather than bitters. Turn the leaf into a cool martini on a hot day.
As a fixture in the standard dining experience, coffee and tea have become menu items that diners talk over, rather than what they talk about. Challenge yourself, your operations and your ideas about coffee and tea. Inspire your patrons to try something new. Turn coffee and tea into bottom line boosters and cocktail celebrities.