Hot chocolate often evokes images of cold winter nights, snuggled up by the fire with a mug in hand. It’s the go-to beverage for kids fresh in from making snowmen and adults who want to add a little splash of brandy while baking holiday cookies. Well, we’ve got news. Cocoa is no longer a drink to be confined to the colder seasons. You can enjoy it any time of year, hot, cold, frozen, or over ice.
In fact, cafes and coffee houses are capitalizing on this decadent beverage–serving cocoa with swirls of whipped cream on it around the world. Where once they were seen as luxury beverages, they’re now seen as that quick, liquid fix for something sweet with just enough caffeine from the cocoa bean to keep you going.
Cocoa’s popularity has grown so large that across the Atlantic, it has surpassed both tea and coffee as the number one hot drink in England. Is it going that way in the U.S.? Trend reports are showing a slower increase here, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be on your menu. Customers look to cocoa the same way they do coffee and tea. That is, it’s a beverage meant to be indulged in daily, hot or cold. Plus with new flavors being offered every month, customers remain curious enough to keep exploring the trend.
In fact, varieties running from white chocolate to low carb cocoa are staples to have on any good cocoa menu. Plus, if you’re in a Millennial-saturated market, you might want to consider the Vivaz Mexican Spiced Cocoa, which gives every sip a lively kick that keeps a drink interesting. Committing to cocoa as a coffee house is more than just adding the traditional hot cup to your beverage selections, it’s making sure you can prepare a drink no matter what season we’re in.
We’re excited about this. Why? Because who doesn’t love chocolate? With a solid variety, customers can find new favorite flavors to order on the go. Plus, while it’s another item on the menu, gourmet cocoa doesn’t take up much space on the shelf. It’s easy to make, easy to indulge in, and even easier to bring in a profit with.
In 2012, we had our eye on caramel. It trended high and grew right into the #2 selling flavor behind mocha. Fast forward to now? It hasn’t slowed. It’s still one of the top flavors to have on your menu—along with chocolate and vanilla—and the best part is that it can be served a variety of ways.
Because of its versatility and years-long chart-topping status, we’re upgrading caramel from trend to staple. Demand for the gooey, warm sweetness of caramel makes it a flavor that’s going to stay. It’s something to always have on the shelf no matter what customer demographic you serve. So if you don’t have it on your menu, it’s certainly time to add it. And if you do? Consider this contender for your shelf space, too: our Caramel Crème Blended Crème mix.
It combines the flavors customers love with the versatility of caramel—it can be served blended, iced, or hot. This makes it a perfect permanent menu item that pleases the taste buds from January to December. So where do you start? Our caramel base can be used to create a latte or frappe, and if you want the kick of coffee, you can simply add espresso to it.
Here’s a couple recipes to get started. They’re easy to make with a base that doesn’t take up much space, and the best part? They’re even easier to drink.
The term “healthy” is everywhere. We see it on packages in the grocery aisles and bottles in the refrigerators. It’s decorating our Facebook newsfeeds along with the latest trends in diet and exercise. It’s become synonymous with low fat in some circles, low sugar in others. But when it comes to selling beverages, what does “healthy” really mean to the consumer?
Customers themselves are redefining the term. They’re focusing less on nutrition labels and more on ingredients. They want drinks that are fresher and less processed. They’re ordering beverages that take effort to make—ones they can’t simply pull off the local grocery store’s shelf, uncap and drink. We’re talking mixers that are homemade or fresh-picked. They want locally-sourced herbs and handpicked fruit garnishes.
In addition to muddling your customer’s next beverage, you can also take a look at your menu. Even the way you describe a drink can begin an experience for the consumer long before the first sip. For a healthy drink, consumers are looking for premium cues. A descriptive word or two can make all the difference between ‘a lemonade and vodka’ and ‘a freshly-squeezed lemonade and vodka’ to your customers. Are you creating this experience in your business?
The good news is, implementing this style of beverage into your menu isn’t difficult, even if you also have consumers who prefer the classic definition of healthy. You can easily keep a drink under 150 calories with juices, nectar and lower proof alcohol. It’s the best of both worlds when it comes to the healthier, better-for-you beverage trending in the market. Just remember, never call a drink ‘skinny’ when you want to market it as healthy. Customers tend to think it means poor flavor and crazy amounts of artificial sweetener. You definitely don’t want to give the wrong impression.
Besides with fresh ingredients and a low calorie count, you don’t need the word ‘skinny’. You can keep your customers satisfied, your margins profitable, and your drinks flowing without it.
Tell us, what trends have you heard about in the market and want more information on?
Coffee Fest Dallas 2016: Where passionate coffee and tea professionals will learn skills, receive education and experience new products, plus great networking!
The Big Train team is excited to participate once again in this leading tea and coffee trade show.
Coffee Fest has been serving the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992 and is viewed by most as the best trade show in America and around the world specifically for those involved with retailing coffee, tea and related products.
Everything under the sun that is found in an upscale coffee shop on either side of the counter, including the counter was on the exhibition floor.
The best coffee retail education, training, and workshops were present to network and learn from each other.
In 2013, we took home a best new product award, taking home third place in the New Product Showcase for our Fit Frappe Spiced Chai!