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by Jessica Tanski

Boost Up Your Blended Beverages

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Oné of the “hottest” trends cur­rently trend­ing is frozen and blended bev­er­ages. Yes, this does mean your favorite tall, dou­ble mocha Frappuccino with extra whip cream, as well as real-fruit smooth­ies, a coffee-alternative that some shops are now offering.

With 2014 already here, and many New Year’s res­o­lu­tions dwin­dling in the back of many of our minds, health-conscious cof­fee drinkers and shops are on to some­thing with these frozen and blended bev­er­ages. There are ways to boost your beloved chilly cof­fee bev­er­ages, and for those of you who own a shop pro­vid­ing your cus­tomers with these bev­er­ages, there are tac­tics and prod­ucts that you can uti­lize to bring the boost into your shop and profits.

Just Add A Scoop
Add a ScoopWhile cof­fee, tea, and real-fruit smooth­ies offer nat­ural health ben­e­fits, like antiox­i­dants, there are many addi­tives that you can insert into your morn­ing or after­noon rou­tine to enhance your healthy lifestyle. By mak­ing small changes, they can yield large results.

Add A Scoop offers a wide range of func­tional sup­ple­ments that can be mixed into your favorite blended bev­er­age to max­i­mize the health ben­e­fits. Their prod­ucts are kosher, veg­e­tar­ian, GMO free, gluten free, and cer­ti­fied Halal. There are 18 dif­fer­ent boosts that don’t have any taste. Therefore, it will not change the great taste of your bev­er­age. The good thing about these pow­ders is that you can add more than one. For exam­ple, you could add an energy boost with an antiox­i­dant boost.

David Gross, President of Add a Scoop Supplement-Boosts, says, “People want to pro­mote health and this is an easy way to do it. In fact, the sup­ple­ment mar­ket for 2013 was up by nine percent.”

Gross con­tin­ues, “If mer­chants that are sell­ing frozen bev­er­ages want to keep and attract new cus­tomers, one way to do it is to pro­mote health.”

By installing a pro­gram, like the one from Add A Scoop, it can boost your shop’s prof­its. The ini­tial invest­ment for Add A Scoop is about five or six cans of prod­uct. Merchants can charge cus­tomers by the scoop. No spe­cial equip­ment for Add A Scoop prod­ucts is needed, and they offer free point of sale/marketing mate­ri­als for merchants.

You’re talk­ing about a $100 invest­ment to pro­mote health to your cus­tomers and increase your sales,” says Gross.

Liquid Flavor
Weldon FlavoringsWeldon Flavorings adds a gourmet touch to all of your blended bev­er­ages. They offer 12 fla­vor choices to appeal to mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent taste buds. All of their fla­vor­ings are 0 calo­ries per serv­ing, con­tain no arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, and are free of sugar. Therefore, these fla­vor­ings will add a boost to your shop’s blended bev­er­ages with­out all of the calo­ries, car­bo­hy­drates, fats, and sodium.  They are also Gluten-free and non-allergenic.

Each bot­tle comes with a pre-measured pump. This allows for quick and accu­rate fla­vor­ing of each cup of blended good­ness. Each 4oz bot­tle of fla­vor­ing fla­vors 118 8oz cups; this is more than three times as many serv­ings as the com­peti­tors’ large bot­tles of fla­vored sugar free syrups.

For shops look­ing to make Weldon their go-to for fla­vor­ing, you can uti­lize the Weldon Gourmet Flavor Station. It is a dec­o­ra­tive wire caddy that sits on the counter. It comes with your choice of three fla­vors. Other than the caddy that keeps the counter clean an orga­nized, there is no need for addi­tional equip­ment. The start up costs is low, but yields a great sat­is­fac­tion result.

These fla­vor­ings by Weldon are ideal for office cof­fee ser­vice, cof­fee shops, drive-thrus, con­ve­nience stores, or any place where blended bev­er­ages are served!

Feel the Frugen Difference
FrugenA func­tional bev­er­age is more than some­thing you sim­ply enjoy. It is a treat that per­forms a spe­cific func­tion. In the case of the Frugen Energy prod­uct line, it sup­plies sev­eral dif­fer­ent antiox­i­dants, vit­a­mins, potent adap­to­gens, and metab­o­lism increas­ing boosts of energy.

Frugen meets the health-conscious consumer’s demands for low-calorie drinks while pro­vid­ing a full spec­trum of antiox­i­dants and adap­to­gens to relive bio­log­i­cal stress from toxic envi­ron­ments and reg­u­lar cel­lu­lar metab­o­lism,” says Craig Meyers, co-founder of Frugen. “Our energy line helps active ath­letes and pro­fes­sion­als stay one step ahead of their tur­bocharged sched­ules while ame­lio­rat­ing the effects of stress that can come with an on-the-go lifestyle.”

Frugen Energy is more than just a func­tional bev­er­age for the com­mon cof­fee drinker. These bev­er­ages spe­cial­ize in more than just an after­noon pick-me-up. Frugen Functional Frappes help busy indi­vid­u­als keep up with their busy sched­ules and the on-the-go lifestyle that the United States lives. Not to men­tion, the groggy feel­ing that other energy drinks may pro­vide is not a feel­ing one expe­ri­ences when con­sum­ing a “Functional Frappé” by Frugen.

Other com­pa­nies may put some caf­feine or basic vit­a­mins in a few of their smooth­ies, but we are the only com­pany that is fully ded­i­cated to exclu­sively deliv­er­ing healthy and enjoy­able drinks.   We offer some of the most in-demand ingre­di­ents in the mar­ket today. Frugen could not be sim­pler to make, just add ice, milk, and blend,” says Meyers.

Meyers claims that their profit mar­gins for cof­fee shops want­ing to infuse their shop with Frugen are almost as healthy as their drinks. Thousands of juice bars and cof­fee shops are open­ing up nation-wide, and Frugen pro­vides an easy way for retain­ing con­sumers, while com­pet­ing with new com­pa­nies in the bev­er­age industry.

We are new, we are inno­v­a­tive, and we are here to rein­vig­o­rate the café indus­try.  As a rel­a­tively small, pri­vately held com­pany, cus­tomer ser­vice is our top pri­or­ity.  When you join the Frugen fam­ily, we will do every­thing in our power to help you suc­ceed,” says Meyers.

Tea Products Now Being Blended:
TeajaWith tea becom­ing a great con­tender for cof­fee, tea-based blended bev­er­ages make for a great coffee-alternative. Not to men­tion, tea offers a wide vari­ety of health ben­e­fits for the health-conscious con­sumer and cof­fee shop.

Stefanie Makagon, the Brand Manager for Teaja Office states, “Matcha is pre­mium green tea pow­der from Japan and used for drink­ing as brewed tea or as an ingre­di­ent in recipes.”

There are a myr­iad of health ben­e­fits one can gain from this tea. In fact, matcha tea’s health ben­e­fits exceed those of green tea. The rea­son for this is because you ingest the whole tealeaf, and not just the brewed water.

One glass of matcha is the equiv­a­lent of ten glasses of green tea in terms of its nutri­tional value and antiox­i­dant con­tent,” says Makagon.

She explains that matcha pairs won­der­fully with milk. Therefore, when you blend the tea together with milk, cin­na­mon, vanilla, and ice, it makes for a refresh­ing blended tea drink. It is some­thing new and dif­fer­ent than what other shops are offer­ing. By con­sult­ing with var­i­ous tea com­pa­nies, you can get a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over the other shops around you.

Other frozen blended bev­er­ages that are made with tea is the pop­u­lar frozen chai tea latte, and even a sim­ple fla­vored iced tea. Tea is a huge trend in the indus­try cur­rently, and it is jam-packed with antiox­i­dants and health ben­e­fits. Coffee shops, you can set your­self apart and gain a new cus­tomer base with offer­ing the lat­est trends.

Ice, Ice Baby!
You can­not make your customer’s favorite frozen bev­er­age if you do not have the right ice to make it flaw­less. There are dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies that you can turn to, to gain the nec­es­sary equip­ment to make an end­less sup­ply of frappes and smooth­ies. The fol­low­ing two ice com­pa­nies can boost your blended beverages:

Chewblet® Ice
FollettFollett’s Chewblet® ice is a softer, nugget-type ice. It blends much faster than the typ­i­cal cubed ice. In fact, you can typ­i­cally cut your blend­ing time by about 50 per­cent uti­liz­ing nugget ice. Nugget ice also blends more thor­oughly, leav­ing the bev­er­age free of large ice chunks.

Michael Rice, Director of Marketing at Follett Corporation says, “Chewblet® ice is great for iced cof­fee, iced tea, and soft drinks, all impor­tant offer­ings of a cof­fee shop.  Customers pre­fer the softer nugget ice like Chewblet® ice by over 2:1 com­pared to hard, cube-type ice.”

Rice con­tin­ues, “They like the looks, the tex­ture, and the chewa­bil­ity of the ice, espe­cially at the end of the drink.  Many will even go out of their way to get Chewblet® ice or buy more drinks because of the ice.”

Chewblet® ice by Follett is com­pressed and extruded flakes. Because of its form, the ice breaks apart eas­ier and will cre­ate lighter loads on the blender’s motor and blades, which extends the blender’s life. Ice machines by Follett use sig­nif­i­cantly less water and often use less energy to make the ice com­pared to machines that pro­duce cubed ice.

Different Types for Different Needs
Overachieve_8.875x6.3125.inddManitowoc offers eight dif­fer­ent types of ice, from gourmet to crushed. Other types include flake, tubu­lar nugget, nugget, reg­u­lar, dice, and half dice. Each of these types of ice offers a dif­fer­ent firm­ness and shape. Because of the diver­sity of the ice, a shop can pick and choose which type they feel would work best for their shop and cus­tomer preferences.

According to their web­site, “The shape of ice has every­thing to do with its intended pur­pose.  Whether used in bev­er­ages, food pre­sen­ta­tion, or health­care ser­vices, Manitowoc Ice offers eight dif­fer­ent types of ice in order to sat­isfy the widest vari­ety of uses.”

Manitowoc offers under­counter machines, coun­ter­top machines, and even mod­u­lar machines. Each of these units can be pur­chased based on the size of the area the machine needs to be stored and the daily ice pro­duc­tion a shop will produce.

This com­pany is the recip­i­ent of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, and has four years of award win­ning excel­lence. By pur­chas­ing a unit by Manitowoc Foodservice, you are pur­chas­ing an energy-saving unit, which will reflect on your elec­tric bill!

Blend It Up Stealthily!
BlendtecWhile we all love our frappes and smooth­ies, they would not be pos­si­ble if it wasn’t for equip­ment that makes the deli­cious bev­er­ages– the blender!

The Blendtec Stealth Blender is the most advanced and most pow­er­ful blender in the world, yet it is also the qui­etest. It blends ice, frozen cof­fee, and frozen fruit com­pletely, mak­ing the smoothest, most delight­ful blended drinks, and does it at the same sound level as a nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion,” says Kevan Allbee Manager, Commercial Marketing at Blendtec.

That means cof­fee houses can add a whole new selec­tion of frozen drink options, while NOT adding the dis­turb­ing noise of other less effi­cient blenders,” Allbee continued.

The Stealth Blender has 42 pre-programmed mix and blend cycles, accessed on its capac­i­tive touch screen con­trols. When a chain of stores needs to update blend­ing cycles or add addi­tional blend­ing cycles, they can be pro­grammed online, with the BlendWizard, and then saved into the Stealth blender via its USB port. This allows all of the stores to oper­ate at the same level at the same time vir­tu­ally any­where in the world.

Like all Blendtec blenders, the Stealth is built with the strongest motor in the indus­try. It has 3.8 peak horse­power and 1,800 watts of power. The patented Blendtec blade is cold forged steel, thicker than any other, and shaped for the most effi­cient blend­ing action in the jar.

Allbee says, “The Stealth is the new stan­dard for high-powered com­mer­cial blend­ing. For power, automa­tion, speed, and ver­sa­til­ity, no other blender in the world is its match. Add to these Stealth’s amaz­ingly quiet oper­a­tion, and you can see why no other blender is a bet­ter addi­tion to any cof­fee shop’s equip­ment line-up.”

A Quiet Blend is a Good Blend
VitamixVitamix® com­mer­cial machines offer pre­ci­sion engi­neer­ing, con­sis­tency, reli­a­bil­ity, and an over­all lower total cost of own­er­ship over the life of the machine, with industry-leading war­ranties and fewer repairs and replace­ments than competitors.

The Quiet One® from Vitamix® not only cre­ates opti­mal taste for cus­tomers, it also offers supe­rior value, excep­tional blend­ing capa­bil­i­ties and out­stand­ing noise reduc­tion,” says Lisa Klein, vice pres­i­dent of Commercial Sales, Vitamix®.

The Quiet One fea­tures the Vitamix Advance® con­tainer with a built-in drip­less spout, to improve pour­ing, pre­vents messes, and reduces waste. Vitamix also uses a hard­ened, stain­less steel blade for greater dura­bil­ity and longer life.

The Quiet One is able to pro­duce con­sis­tent blends from drink-to-drink and store-to-store, ensur­ing cus­tomers will receive the same fla­vor and smooth tex­ture each time they order a drink,” says Klein.

The Quiet One has six pro­gram but­tons with 34 opti­mized pro­grams. Its auto­matic shut-off capa­bil­i­ties pro­vide the oper­a­tor with ease-of-use and con­sis­tent bev­er­age prepa­ra­tion.  The unit is also fully pro­gram­ma­ble for shop cus­tomiza­tion. Shop own­ers can cre­ate cus­tom blend­ing pro­grams for sig­na­ture drinks, smooth­ies, and blended cof­fees. Thanks to the machine’s cool-running motor, it can han­dle sig­nif­i­cant up-time, allow­ing cof­fee shops to max­i­mize sales dur­ing peak hours.

Klein says, “Today, cof­fee shops face an increased demand for unique and inven­tive drinks. But, expand­ing a drink menu and tap­ping into new, cre­ative offer­ings can be eas­ier with the right tools—including the right blend­ing equipment.”

The Quiet One from Vitamix® makes for excel­lent, and quiet, front of the house blending!

The “Hottest” Trends
Some of the hottest tends in the cof­fee and tea indus­try can be chilly in nature. There are a vari­ety of solu­tions that can be made to make your favorite blended bev­er­ages health­ier and a step in the right direc­tion to boost your sales and boost your blended beverages.

Flavorings, nugget ice, addi­tives, func­tional frappes and nutri­tious boosts, and new blender tech­nol­ogy are all ways that you can make small changes in your shop to appeal to new cus­tomers, revive exist­ing cus­tomers, and take a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over the other local shops. Which boost will you make?!

Retailer/Roaster Profile

Categories: 2013, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Hey every­body! Today we are feel­ing kind of groovy, so we landed in Salem, OR to chat with Molly Wilkes, the owner of Toadally Joe Coffee. It is a col­or­ful spot that has won the heart of their com­mu­nity not only because of their great cof­fee, but also their deli­cious treats. Here she is, to tell us a lit­tle bit of her story:

V. Can you tell us how this whole adven­ture started?
W. I used to serve tables at Olive Garden before this. I have been in fine din­ing for most of my adult life, but this is my first time as a busi­ness owner.
My grand­mother is a baker and bak­ing is some­thing that has been a part of my fam­ily his­tory; so, every­thing started years ago when I offered her to open up our own place. I always thought that it would be great to not just have baked good­ies, but to also have a cof­fee shop to go with it. And I always wanted a drive through and a cute clean lit­tle build­ing. It just hap­pened that I came upon a loca­tion and my dream just sort of took off from there.

V. What is your style as far as the prod­uct and the image you present to your com­mu­nity?
W. I care­fully choose the cof­fee that I carry. I inter­viewed local roast­ers and ended up decid­ing on what I thought was the best choice, which is Pacifica Coffee. It is all organic, so all cof­fee and espresso that we serve here is organic and fair trade. I really wanted it to be my thing because it matches what my grandma’s cook­ies are about– all organic.
For every­thing that I try to do, for the most part, I try to stick with a local com­pany. I also have a wall space avail­able for local artists who are wel­come to hang their art at no charge. I like to sup­port other people’s entre­pre­neur­ship as much as I can with the space that I have. We also hold fundrais­ers here to help local com­mu­ni­ties as much as we can. I like to help out in any way that I can.

V. How has your expe­ri­ence with cof­fee been so far?
W. I have been self-trained, but I feel like I have become a pretty good barista. I can’t dec­o­rate a latte yet or do some­thing super fancy, but taste is every­thing and our cof­fee is amaz­ing. I feel like I am doing a pretty good job and I also have a super fun menu that I have cre­ated myself. We do some­thing that we call our Toadally Favorites, and there are 33 items on our menu at the time. All of our drinks can be served in any way you like – hot, cold, blended, etc., and we do not charge a dif­fer­ent price for it.

V. What kind of cus­tomers does Toadally cater to?
W. We have a vari­ety of peo­ple. Our mas­cot is a horned toad in a tie-dyed shirt with some glasses. I thought that my mas­cot and the tie-dye sign would attract mostly younger crowd, but we do have older groups of peo­ple that like to come in and have tea. We do every­thing – iced tea, hot tea, green tea, macha tea. We have the best chai in town and we have a lot of peo­ple com­ing here for my chai. I think our cus­tomers really like the cof­fee and espresso that we carry and the fun menu. They can also cre­ate any­thing they want here with all the high qual­ity ingre­di­ents that we have.

V. How is the busi­ness been going so far?
W. Economy could be bet­ter, but it seems like it is pick­ing up. When I started here, I was mak­ing a quar­ter of what I am mak­ing now. This was a sim­ple cof­fee house before, they weren’t doing well and they went under. Once we took over we made many changes. I included the term café in our name because we serve food now, which is another thing that brings more peo­ple in the door. We serve break­fast in the morn­ing and lunch with amaz­ing sal­ads and fresh organic sand­wiches. Not long ago I started mak­ing a salmon burger, which is pick­ing up in pop­u­lar­ity. As far as pro­mot­ing, I am kind of old-fashioned and Facebook is some­thing that I am still try­ing to fig­ure out.
We also do some­thing for the kids. If you are under 12 years old, you can pick any­thing you want off the drink menu for $1.50 with the pur­chase of the adult bev­er­age, of course with the child being present.

V. What advice could you give to future busi­ness own­ers?
W. Be patient when you start a busi­ness because it takes time to be dis­cov­ered. Never give up and put a lot of thought into the prod­ucts that you carry. Price isn’t every­thing. It makes a big dif­fer­ence to your guests if you carry the high­est qual­ity of ingre­di­ents that sets you apart from your com­pe­ti­tion. I have made sure to be very accom­mo­dat­ing to my guests. When peo­ple come through the door and ask for some­thing that I don’t have, I try to incor­po­rate it; so that way the next time they come back it will be here.

Toadally Joe Café

1120 Royvonne Ave SE
Salem, OR 97302
(503) 584‑1725
Molly Wilks
www.facebook.com/ToadallyJoeCafe
toadallyjoecafe@gmail.com
rabih@dripp.com

Training in the 21st Century

Categories: 2013, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Corpo­rate train­ing depart­ments face an increas­ingly daunt­ing task. Not only because they are attempt­ing to train and edu­cate senior and middle-age adult learn­ers who, through­out their career, have been forced to par­tic­i­pate in class room, online or video based train­ing that is not engag­ing, not stim­u­lat­ing, inef­fec­tive or is not even close to the real­ity of what is expe­ri­enced “on the job” – but because every year younger, more tech-savvy, elec­tron­i­cally “wired” work­ers enter the work­force chang­ing the func­tional dynam­ics of the work­place and how employ­ees are trained.

Training depart­ments are attempt­ing to recruit, retain, and develop cross-generational work­forces who often learn through dif­fer­ent modal­i­ties and at dif­fer­ent paces. The level of dif­fi­culty in recruit­ing, retain­ing and train­ing the “right” type of tal­ent for the “right” roles are grow­ing, due to multi­gen­er­a­tional workforces.

A grow­ing per­cent­age of younger work­ers desire to learn on the job, instead of sit­ting in a class­room lis­ten­ing to a teacher, or read­ing cur­ricu­lum and study­ing. But this is not ground break­ing news; we have seen this trend grow­ing for the last 10–15 years. 10 years ago, the Saratoga Institute com­pleted a multi-year sur­vey on employee turnover. Over 60 per­cent of employ­ees reported that they left their job because of a lack of feed­back and coach­ing. How many orga­ni­za­tions within the retail and cof­fee indus­try have actu­ally mas­tered the onboard­ing, men­tor­ing or coach­ing process for new hires?

Companies like Starbucks have imple­mented a vari­ety of train­ing and coach­ing mod­els over the years. Caribou is well known for its edu­ca­tional and train­ing sys­tem and has his­tor­i­cally cre­ated a work­force that is revered. But how do orga­ni­za­tions truly win the war for tal­ent and how do they edu­cate such a broad, diver­si­fied multi­gen­er­a­tional workforce?

Younger work­ers think, behave, act, and learn dif­fer­ently because they have been pro­grammed to inter­act with infor­ma­tion, knowl­edge, and each other using the inter­net, com­put­ers, devices, and games. They like being chal­lenged and they like fig­ur­ing out answers to ques­tions or over­com­ing chal­lenges on their own (if they are rewarded for doing so) or in a team envi­ron­ment – but only if they can pick their own team.

These work­ers are not intim­i­dated by elec­tronic devices or com­puter appli­ca­tions unlike a large per­cent­age of the baby boomer work­force – they are quick to mas­ter devices with lit­tle train­ing, they are com­fort­able com­mu­ni­cat­ing and con­nect­ing with oth­ers elec­tron­i­cally, and a grow­ing per­cent­age of these work­ers have been trained to use com­put­ers to help them study, com­plete research, and learn.

K-12 schools are using com­put­ers and edu­ca­tional games to help edu­cate and form the minds of young stu­dents. Using games to influ­ence or accel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of rote mem­o­riza­tion skills or learn­ing is start­ing ear­lier that kinder­garten. ABCmouse.com is an online early learn­ing acad­emy that uses games, sim­u­la­tions, and other meth­ods to help preschool – kinder­garten chil­dren to mas­ter color/art/music/reading/math/science and other topics.

I often hear many older work­ers and man­agers talk about their young peers say­ing that “Their minds are wired differently…they are always on the phone, on devices, constantly…they under­stand this tech stuff.” I also hear these same work­ers com­plain that younger work­ers lack ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and crit­i­cal think­ing skills, are too brash and rush into tasks, or often “try to feel their way through a prob­lem” before ask­ing for direc­tion and help or research­ing the topic or issue before div­ing head on into the situation.

Is this behav­ior due to a lack of train­ing or life expe­ri­ence or a lack of coach­ing and men­tor­ing? Or could it sim­ply be “the new nor­mal” – a grow­ing trend within a younger work­force that is man­i­fest­ing because of how tech­nol­ogy and the Internet are used as a crutch to replace a dis­ci­plined train­ing and edu­ca­tional process?

How are cor­po­rate train­ing depart­ments going to address this new nor­mal while still sup­port­ing baby boomer and Generation X work­ers? In my opin­ion, we must face the real­ity that our legacy approaches to employee train­ing and even recruit­ing, reward­ing, and reten­tion must be exam­ined and re-architected.

A week ago I was at a busi­ness con­fer­ence where Hewlett Packard’s COO Bill Veghte and K.C. Choi HP’s Vice President, Americas Solutions Architecture, were speak­ing about the veloc­ity of tech­no­log­i­cal change and how it is impact­ing com­pa­nies and work­ers glob­ally. K.C. Choi ref­er­enced many quotes from author Nicholas Carr who is one of the most pro­lific authors of the 21st cen­tury. He has become one of a hand­ful of authors who observes the impact of tech­nol­ogy on soci­ety and con­stantly chal­lenges and ques­tions the sta­tus quo when it comes to the usage of the inter­net and tech­nol­ogy in our world.

In Carr’s 2008 arti­cle, “Is Google Making us Stupid?” (www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/) his main argu­ment is that the inter­net might have detri­men­tal effects on cog­ni­tion that dimin­ish the capac­ity for con­cen­tra­tion and con­tem­pla­tion – directly impact­ing our abil­ity to think crit­i­cally, study, retain infor­ma­tion, and per­form over time.

Internet con­nected devices and com­put­ers have absolutely impacted 1) how peo­ple access and think about infor­ma­tion, 2) how they use that infor­ma­tion in their daily lives 3) how they use infor­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy to behave, nav­i­gate and func­tion within our soci­ety – to “learn.”

Corporate train­ing depart­ments need to har­ness the power of the Internet, mobile devices, tablets, and even games if we are to effec­tively influ­ence and train the next gen­er­a­tion of work­ers. Rote mem­o­riza­tion is the foun­da­tion of mas­ter­ing a game. Fun and reward­ing games and sim­u­la­tions can be used to recruit the right type of work­ers with the right types of skills. They can be used to help employ­ees mas­ter the basics of food ser­vice, safety, recipes, or even up sell­ing and cross selling.

We can have blended train­ing modal­i­ties oper­at­ing within the same learn­ing frame­work and expe­ri­ence! Young work­ers need help in devel­op­ing cus­tomer ser­vice, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, crit­i­cal think­ing, and coach­ing skills. Competencies that baby boomer and Generation X work­ers have devel­oped over the last 20–40 years. A blended approach to train­ing and coach­ing through gam­ing and live sim­u­la­tions (accom­pa­nied by dig­i­tal mate­ri­als accessed on any inter­net enabled device) can be designed so young work­ers can mas­ter the basics by lever­ag­ing (and shar­ing) their tech savvy skills while baby boomers and Generation X work­ers can lever­age and share their com­mu­ni­ca­tion, coach­ing and crit­i­cal think­ing expe­ri­ences with younger work­ers through these games or live simulations.

As I said ear­lier, cor­po­rate train­ing depart­ments face a daunt­ing task!

Re-architecting or trans­form­ing a corporation’s approach to train­ing takes a big com­mit­ment. But let’s face it, the prob­lem of train­ing employ­ees in a highly pro­duc­tive, cost effec­tive, and scal­able way is not going away – it will only get larger as more young work­ers enter the mar­ket if we don’t face the issue head on.

If a com­pany is attempt­ing to re-architect its approach to train­ing I would sug­gest: 1) first focus on inte­grat­ing the use of tech­nol­ogy, gam­ing, the inter­net and social net­works into your assess­ment and recruit­ing process – this an area that is easy to mea­sure and easy to quan­tify the impact; 2) develop a rewards strat­egy that can be imple­mented and man­aged through tech­nol­ogy – this enables you to imple­ment changes that impact all employ­ees in a pos­i­tive way; 3) lastly, re-architect how you can imple­ment a blended train­ing expe­ri­ence that helps inte­grate multi­gen­er­a­tional team mem­bers down to depart­men­tal or cus­tomer lev­els using games, online learn­ing, dig­i­tal mate­ri­als, and live sim­u­la­tions (group role play­ing, learn­ing or sharing).

This sug­gested approach should help to rapidly edu­cate and ramp up new hires as they enter the work­force and is expected to reduce turn over and improve employee pro­duc­tiv­ity while cre­at­ing a well-rounded multi­gen­er­a­tional workforce.

Mark DallmeierMark Dallmeier is the co-founder of LifeGames, cre­ators of BaristaLife a new social game for the cof­fee indus­try
(www.baristalife.net). Mark has co-founded a num­ber of soft­ware and ser­vices com­pa­nies, is a well known man­age­ment con­sul­tant and has held Chief Executive, Marketing, Strategy and Sales roles within mul­ti­ple companies.

To Build a Mountain of Profits, Focus on the Big Rocks

Categories: 2013, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

3_13 5-AAfter work­ing with inde­pen­dent cof­fee house own­ers for more than 20 years, I’ve found that one con­sis­tent, major weak­ness is the lack of focus on mar­ket­ing. Many busi­ness own­ers neglect this vital func­tion because they don’t know where to start, are put off by the per­ceived expense, or are dis­tracted by the thou­sands of small details involved in run­ning a suc­cess­ful enter­prise. Yet mar­ket­ing is one of what I call the “big rocks.” The term comes from a story attrib­uted to time man­age­ment guru Stephen Covey.

It starts with a busi­ness pro­fes­sor who takes out a big glass jar, fills it to the top with fist-sized rocks and asks his stu­dents if the jar is full.  “Yes!” they answer. “Not so fast,” the pro­fes­sor cau­tions. He then takes out a pre­vi­ously hid­den con­tainer of small peb­bles and pours them into the jar, fill­ing the spaces between the big rocks.  He asks again if the jar is full. This time the stu­dents respond, “Probably not.” The pro­fes­sor then pulls out a bucket of sand and dumps it into the jar. The sand sifts into the spaces between the peb­bles. This time when he asks if the jar was full, the stu­dents all say, “No!” Finally, he grabs a pitcher of water and fills the jar to the brim. After the stu­dents agree that the jar finally is full, he asks, “What is the point of this demonstration?”

That you can always fit more into your life,” says one of the students.

No,” says the pro­fes­sor. “If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

Marketing is one of the big rocks of run­ning a cof­fee shop. If you don’t put a sound mar­ket­ing pro­gram in place, you may never get to the other items on your “to do” list … because you may not have a shop for long. Fortunately, effec­tive cof­fee shop mar­ket­ing doesn’t require spend­ing a lot of money. A well-focused mar­ket­ing plan that employs sig­nage, grass roots strate­gies, social media, events, and in-store pro­mo­tions can deliver a grow­ing stream of cus­tomers with­out break­ing the bank.

Here are some mar­ket­ing tips that cof­fee house own­ers have used to turn their big rocks into abun­dant profits.

Don’t get stuck on your name. Many cof­fee shop own­ers spent hours fret­ting about the name of their busi­ness, but it’s not a big rock. Just choose a name that quickly com­mu­ni­cates who and what you. Be sure to tack on “Coffee House” or “Coffee Bar” to the title, because peo­ple are not going to stop their cars to find out what your busi­ness is about. And do your research to make sure the name hasn’t been trade­marked by any­one else before you invest in sig­nage or pro­mo­tional materials.

Stake Your Claim. Prominent sig­nage is as impor­tant as the name of the shop. Again, make sure the words “Coffee House,” “Coffee Bar” or “Coffee Shop” are dis­played in very large let­ters. Steer clear of fancy, script fonts.  Potential cus­tomers aren’t going to cir­cle around the block to take a sec­ond look at a sign they can’t read.

Make Your Menu Sell. Lay out your menu in a way that entices cus­tomers to try your most pop­u­lar and prof­itable drinks. As a gen­eral rule, con­sumers read adver­tise­ments from top down and left to right. Put your hot espresso drinks at the top left, iced and blended espresso drinks on the right.

Invest in a Website. Your web­site is your online store­front. Customers can check it 24 hours a day for your busi­ness hours, spe­cials and events.  Web plat­forms such as WordPress make it easy to estab­lish an inex­pen­sive web­site that can be updated regularly.

Grow Your Business with Grass-Roots Marketing. The best form of mar­ket­ing doesn’t take a lot of money. You have a community-based busi­ness, so don’t start with a radio spot or by plac­ing ads in a city-wide paper. People are not going to drive across town for a cup of cof­fee. Instead, hit the pave­ment to meet other busi­ness own­ers and build rela­tion­ships with local schools and com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tion.  As your busi­ness grows, you may become so busy that “hit­ting the pave­ment” loses its pri­or­ity.  Again, focus on the big rocks and it will pay big dividends.

Strike a Partnership with Local Business Owners. Ask local busi­ness own­ers for refer­rals, and then give them and their staff a $1 espresso-based drink. Local restau­rants, retail shops, salons and other busi­nesses in the area are good places to network.

Join the Chamber of Commerce. Become a mem­ber of your local Chamber of Commerce and take advan­tage of the ser­vices they offer, includ­ing net­work­ing ses­sions and annual events. This is a great way to meet your neigh­bors and get involved in the community.

Hold a Grand-Opening Event. Plan a grand open­ing about a week after your soft open­ing. Make some inex­pen­sive signs and fliers invit­ing neigh­bors to come in for great espresso-based drinks for $1. An espresso-based drink costs about $1 to make, so you’re not los­ing money by sell­ing it for $1. Ask area busi­ness neigh­bors if you can post signs or leave fliers with them, and leave fliers at area homes.

Create Weekly Specials and Seasonal Promotions. Encourage your cus­tomers to try some­thing new with posters, counter mats, table tents and other point-of-purchase mate­ri­als fea­tur­ing a pic­ture of a deli­cious drink. These point-of-purchase mate­ri­als also usher in the hol­i­days in a fun and invit­ing way.

Activate Your Customer Base. Building rela­tion­ships with your cus­tomers encour­ages repeat sales and refer­rals – the lifeblood of any small busi­ness. Encourage cus­tomers to bring friends in for a “buy one, get one free” spe­cial.  Gather cus­tomer e-mails and send them reg­u­lar news and specials.

Get Social. Starting a social media pro­gram is another inex­pen­sive way to engage with cus­tomers and prospects. With today’s array of social net­work­ing plat­forms, it’s easy to get over­whelmed, so start out slowly. Open only a Facebook account or only a Twitter account. Once you have mas­tered that account, branch out to oth­ers. Keep these things in mind as you set up your social media pro­gram:
1.    Make a plan. Know what you hope to achieve and how you will mea­sure results.
2.    Be inter­ac­tive. Listen to your cus­tomers, respond to their ques­tions or con­cerns, and ask for their opin­ions. The more engag­ing you are, the more likely peo­ple will be to visit your page, web­site, and ulti­mately, your cof­fee house.
3.    Be con­sis­tent. Social media is a long-term invest­ment; you have to post reg­u­larly to see the payoff.

Celebrate Your Anniversary. Every year, cel­e­brate your busi­ness anniver­sary with a one-day spe­cial, such as $1 drinks.

We have just scratched the sur­face of the mar­ket­ing big rocks in this col­umn. Next time, we will look at the real costs of shoe leather in grass roots mar­ket­ing campaigns.

Greg Ubert, founder and pres­i­dent of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, has been roast­ing cof­fee in small batches since 1991 and has taught hun­dreds of busi­ness own­ers how to run suc­cess­ful inde­pen­dent cof­fee houses. The author of Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry can be reached at greg@crimsoncup.com.

Building Healthy Profits

Categories: 2012, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

If I were to ask you your story, and how you came about man­ag­ing or own­ing a cof­fee shop, you would prob­a­bly tell me that it’s because you are pas­sion­ate about roast­ing, pas­sion­ate about serv­ing peo­ple, pas­sion­ate about cof­fee.  However, at the end of the day, like every other per­son or busi­ness, you need to make ends meet; and more impor­tantly, you need to be prof­itable. If you decided to read this arti­cle because of the title, it shows that you care about the suc­cess of your shop.  Let’s take a look at a few prod­ucts and ser­vices that can help you increase prof­its, so you can con­tinue to do and serve what you are pas­sion­ate about: Coffee. (The author of this arti­cle is mak­ing free assump­tions based on the fact that you are read­ing a cof­fee magazine).

1. Offer a cus­tomer loy­alty pro­gram.
Have you ever won­dered how you can get your occa­sional cus­tomers to come in more often? Chain cafes fig­ured out long ago that cus­tomer loy­alty pro­grams sig­nif­i­cantly increase sales because of this very rea­son. One of the lat­est loy­alty pro­grams out there is Perka. Perka is a mobile loy­alty plat­form (mobile app), that lets small busi­nesses rec­og­nize and reward cus­tomers by pay­ing atten­tion to which cus­tomers are help­ing you make the most profit. Perka is a punch­card in consumer’s phones that allows retail­ers to send push noti­fi­ca­tions and send cus­tomers offers invit­ing them to come by the café or cof­fee shop.  According to Rob Bethge, Co-Founder of Perka, “Getting reg­u­lar cus­tomers that come in three times a week to come four times a week will have a great impact over the course of a year.” As they say, ‘80% of your prof­its will come from 20% of your cus­tomers;’ make sure you are nur­tur­ing them and invit­ing them to stop by more often.

Annual Profit Potential: Based on a shop that has monthly sales of $5,000, the Perka cal­cu­la­tor esti­mated $3,996 (See Graphic for details or use the Perka cal­cu­la­tor to cal­cu­late your own.)

To see how Perka can increase your prof­its go to www.getperka.com/foryourbusiness/


2. Offer a boost.

Position your con­cept to reach the health-minded con­sumer. Individuals are often look­ing for vit­a­mins, and energy sup­ple­ments that will make them feel health­ier and more ener­gized. Compete with juice bars, health clubs, and other retail­ers who offer supplement-boosts for their smooth­ies & frappes. According to David Gross, CEO of Add a Scoop by Smoothie Essentials, “Supplement-boosts will help you sell more blended drinks! Supplements are a 70% + gross profit add-on.” Moreover, Gross adds, “75% of all adults in the US take a mul­ti­vi­t­a­min– 65% of all US adults take sup­ple­ments.” Don’t miss out on the oppor­tu­nity to sell more blended drinks and make a profit on each boost.

Annual Profit Potential: $1,277.50 (See Graphic for details)*

For more infor­ma­tion visit 
www.smoothieessentials.com

3. Spice it up.
While many of us can’t live with­out our daily cup of java, there will be indi­vid­u­als that come into your shop request­ing other options. Make sure you do not dis­miss these con­sumers, by offer­ing a wide array of bev­er­age options. According to Bipin Patel, Founder of Tipu’s Chai, “Tipu’s Chai™ is a bold alter­na­tive to cof­fee, tea, and American Chai.  Stop ship­ping water by using our new Chai Now™ food ser­vice prod­uct to make your own chai tea con­cen­trate.  We sup­ply the reusable bot­tle and the chai – you just add water!” Regarding prof­its, accord­ing to Patel, “At the Master car­ton level (6 cases/ 12 units per case) one pack of dry mix is $3.93 and makes one quart of chai con­cen­trate.  Each quart makes eight 8 oz serv­ings.” Considering, an aver­age cof­fee shop sells each chai between three and five dol­lars, after sell­ing one cup of chai, the remain­ing serv­ings of the pack will be profit!

Annual Profit Potential: $11,023 (Assuming the shop is sell­ing 16 oz Chai at $4.)*

For more infor­ma­tion visit www.tipuschai.com

4. Diversify your ser­vices to attract new cus­tomers.
Attracting new cus­tomers can some­times become a chal­lenge for a cof­fee shop.  Not every­body knows about your shop, or the great cof­fee you serve. For this rea­son it is impor­tant to diver­sify not only your prod­uct line but also your ser­vices.  According to John Newberry, President of Venco Business Solutions, “Retailers can offer an addi­tional ser­vice for their cus­tomers by offer­ing an ATM… Profitability can come to the busi­ness in sev­eral ways. It will put more cash in the loca­tion for cus­tomers to spend. It will cut down on credit card use, which will save on expenses. It will also bring more cus­tomers into the loca­tion to use the ATM and they will spend money while there.” An aver­age Venco ATM costs about $2,100; if you charge $3.00 per trans­ac­tion and you have an aver­age of 35 trans­ac­tions per week, you could get an addi­tional $105.00 profit per week. Not to men­tion the addi­tional flow of new prospects that will come into the shop and will prob­a­bly make a purchase.

Annual Profit Potential: $5,460

To diver­sify your ser­vices visit www.vencosolutions.com

5. Encourage cus­tomiza­tion, and charge for it.
Nowadays, peo­ple are look­ing not only for diver­sity but also cus­tomiza­tion. People enjoy and demand that retail­ers offer a wide array of options. For this rea­son syrups and fla­vor­ings are a smart addi­tion to your menu; espe­cially, if you offer prod­ucts that are sugar-free, low-fat, zero carbs, etc. According to Brenda Weldon, Marketing Coördinator at Weldon Flavorings, “Weldon Coffee Flavorings is the sen­si­ble and health­i­est way to serve deli­cious fla­vored cof­fee… Our fla­vor­ings are totally unsweet­ened and con­tain no sugar, arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, cream­ers, pow­ders, calo­ries, carbs, fats, or sodium. In this health con­scious age find­ing ways to serve your cus­tomers health­ier prod­ucts just makes good sense.”

Annual Profit Potential: $1,095 (Assuming the shop is charg­ing $0.50 per shot.)*

For more infor­ma­tion visit 
www.weldonflavorings.com

6. Expand your prod­uct offer­ing while pro­mot­ing your brand.
Why not pro­mote your busi­ness and brand while mak­ing a profit? Whether for per­sonal use, or as a gift, there are mul­ti­ple items that con­sumers are will­ing to pur­chase such as to-go mugs, in-house drink ware, or t-shirts. Janet McNaughton, President of Lasting Impressions says “We offer an A La Carte col­lec­tion of Drinkware, Apparel + Grab & Go prod­ucts for retail sale.  Designed specif­i­cally for the cof­fee indus­try, each themed item can be branded with a logo and trans­formed into a mobile bill­board that cre­ates a sec­ond profit cen­ter.  This new prod­uct line will be unveiled at Coffee Fest in Seattle on Friday, September 21.”  According to McNaughton, effec­tive pro­mo­tion is essen­tial; prof­its on these items will vary depend­ing on smart pric­ing, shrewd prod­uct posi­tion­ing in the store, and con­sis­tent pro­mo­tion with each cus­tomer at point of sale.

Annual Profit Potential: Varies widely.

For more infor­ma­tion visit 
www.LastingImpressionsGifts.net

7. Target the health con­scious.
A preva­lent trend in the food and bev­er­age indus­try is prod­ucts that are labeled ‘Organic’ ‘and All-Natural.’  Diversifying your menu and prod­uct offer­ings to attract new demo­graph­ics, will in turn, increase rev­enue.  Torie Burke, Co-Founder of Torie & Howard, LLC, empha­sizes on the impor­tance of offer­ing health con­scious prod­ucts, “Continue to offer refresh­ing health con­scious grab and go items fea­tur­ing sophis­ti­cated fla­vor com­bi­na­tions for today’s on the go cus­tomer.” Burke adds, “We offer Organic and Kosher cer­ti­fied deli­cious fresh from the gar­den fla­vors in a 2 oz travel sized recy­clable tins. Most impor­tant to the con­sumer: Our fla­vors taste as if they are fresh from the gar­den and fea­ture no GMOs, No Corn Syrup, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Casein Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free, No Artificial Flavors or Colors, and at just 12 Calories each deliv­er­ing all nat­ural sat­is­fac­tion with­out the guilt!” Make sure to mar­ket your prod­ucts by high­light­ing healthy fea­tures and using healthy buzz­word that will appeal to customers.

Annual Profit Potential: $9,636 (Assuming each tin is sold at $4.99.)*

For more infor­ma­tion visit 
www.torieandhoward.com

8. Retail prod­ucts that endorse cof­fee cul­ture.
Retailers have rec­og­nized the impor­tance of teach­ing cus­tomers to taste qual­ity cof­fees by pro­vid­ing cup­ping and cof­fee edu­ca­tion. This not only enlight­ens the con­sumer to what qual­ity cof­fee is, but it shows a new side of cof­fee they might have been unaware to.  Another way to teach cus­tomers is by show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent brew­ing meth­ods, and show­ing indi­vid­u­als how they can do it them­selves. Empowering your cus­tomers to brew at home, will not only pro­mote your whole bean cof­fees, but also by offer­ing brew­ing equip­ment at your shop, you will have an addi­tional rev­enue source. Alex Tennant, General Manager at Aerobie, says, “Coffee lovers who brew deli­cious cof­fee with an AeroPress will brew more cof­fee and there­fore buy more beans.”  According to Tennant, an Aeropress whole­sales for $15.00, and a retailer could sell it for $29.99, pro­vid­ing a $14.99 profit per sale.

Annual Profit Potential: $1,558.96 (Assuming 2 Aeropress brew­ers are sold per week.)

For more infor­ma­tion visit www.aerobie.com

9. Encourage larger pur­chases.
An essen­tial and highly prof­itable tac­tic that is often neglected is upselling. Upselling is often an eas­ier task than spend­ing all your efforts try­ing to bring new cus­tomers in. It is impor­tant to train your baris­tas to sell more to your cus­tomers, and con­tin­u­ously entice your cus­tomers to make addi­tional pur­chases.  However, this should be done in a sub­tle and clever man­ner, so cus­tomers are not dis­pleased or aggra­vated. Make it an appar­ent bet­ter deal for con­sumers, by offer­ing com­bined food and bev­er­age spe­cials, or rec­om­mend­ing a larger size cof­fee to those who do not spec­ify on the size.

10. Engage through Social Media.
Considering the aver­age per­son spends an aver­age of 405 min­utes on Facebook, 21 min­utes on twit­ter, and 89 on Pinterest each month1, Social Media is a highly effec­tive chan­nel to reach con­sumers and get expo­sure. The best part is that it’s free! In today’s soci­ety, hav­ing a Facebook and Twitter account is essen­tial to keep in con­tact with your cus­tomers, and mar­ket your brand. Make sure you assign some­one in your staff to man­age your Social Media. However, hav­ing a Facebook page is not enough; you need to engage your fol­low­ers. Pinterest and Instagram are other pop­u­lar Social Media tools that will allow you to get more expo­sure and gain fol­low­ers.  Many retail­ers have embraced Instagram and are using it to fea­ture pic­tures of their latte art, events, and cof­fee trav­els. Social media is all about engag­ing and get­ting cre­ative! As of this September, Perka, the loy­alty plat­form, also inte­grated social media so retail­ers can run spe­cials and pro­mo­tional offers by allow­ing their cus­tomers to ‘like’ or ‘share’ their page.  In addi­tion, con­sumers can share spe­cials and coupons with their friends. Imagine your ‘50% off’ coupon going viral!

*Because sit­u­a­tions vary so widely, we have made these assump­tions based on a cof­fee shop that is open 363 days per year; receives 100 vis­i­tors per day; and assum­ing 10% of the sales are based on this spe­cific product.

To learn more about healthy prof­its and mar­ket­ing strate­gies come to our work­shop at Coffee Fest Seattle Sunday, September 23rd, at 10:05 am Room 4C3!

1 The Mounting Minuses at Google+, Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2012. online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204653604577249341403742390.html

CA">Retailer Profile: A Little Jewel in Redlands, CA

Categories: 2012, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

This month, I decided to pick a charm­ing neigh­bor­hood shop with char­ac­ter, and the one that caught my atten­tion is located in a lit­tle town called Redlands in California. It is called Augie’s and today we are going to have a talk with its owner and mas­ter roaster Austin Amento.

V. Hi Austin! Great to have you here with us today! Please tell us, how did Redland’s best cof­fee house – Augie’s – get started, and who is Augie?
A. About four years ago, my dad Andy Amento wanted to diver­sify his fam­ily busi­ness of elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing. We looked around at dif­fer­ent busi­nesses – liquor stores, min­i­marts, any­thing that was kind of a “cash” busi­ness and we found this cof­fee shop. It was about two years old, and it was for sale by the landlord’s kid. At the time, it was a very small mom and pops shop with very lim­ited seat­ing and mediocre cof­fee.
It is named Augie’s after the pre­vi­ous owner’s grand­fa­ther. We decided to keep the name, work with it, and rebrand it.

V. You have the cutest antique build­ing for your shop! Did it present any ren­o­va­tion chal­lenges?
A. Thank you. It is just about a hun­dred years old: I believe it was built in 1914. However, as far as ren­o­va­tion, yeah, it is the biggest pain in the ass out of any­thing we have done in the cof­fee shop. (Laughs…) We have to fix the plumb­ing all the time, but we now are to the point where we know exactly what this build­ing needs; every­thing works out really well, and it is a beau­ti­ful build­ing that we love.

V. Taking over a turnkey cof­fee shop busi­ness – what kind of chal­lenges did you have to face and how did you deal with them?
A. We took a shop that already had its clien­tele, and every­thing was kind of set­tled on the way they wanted to make all the bev­er­ages. Over the first few months after tak­ing over Augie’s we were hes­i­tant to change any­thing, but we quickly real­ized that we needed to make changes to help this busi­ness to sur­vive and get to where it needs to be in terms of growth. We started really small by redo­ing the bar, and knock­ing down walls to make room for more seat­ing. Then two years in after hav­ing some rough sum­mers, I decided I wanted our cof­fee to be really high qual­ity, so we had to go through and change every­thing. We wanted to pro­vide our cus­tomers with a con­sis­tent menu, so we have lit­er­ally stripped our menu down to around eight bev­er­ages, and we make them really well. This has been the best deci­sion for us because con­sis­tency and qual­ity are more impor­tant to me than offer­ing a bunch of dif­fer­ent smooth­ies or blended vari­a­tions of the same bev­er­age.
Around the same time, two years ago, we put in the last of our money and bought a roaster, so we started roast­ing our­selves. Luckily, things turned out great for us and we are really suc­cess­ful now.

V. What would you do dif­fer­ently to avoid the pit­falls you have just described?
A. If I were to start again, I would really rec­om­mend fig­ur­ing out what you want to do from the very begin­ning because it makes all the dif­fer­ence. Decide who you want to cater to from the very start and go from there. Our hard­est thing was to get rid of that “cater to every­one” type of men­tal­ity. I don’t want to say that in a mean way, but if you want to pro­vide your prod­uct in the best pos­si­ble man­ner, some­times you really have to change the way you do stuff. Pretty much just stick to one atti­tude that is right for you and allow your busi­ness to be suc­cess­ful instead of just try­ing to please every­one. Our atti­tude is to offer the high­est qual­ity cof­fee pos­si­ble in our shop.

V. What is your cus­tomer base?
A. We got a real tight knit com­mu­nity here in Redlands, and our shop is always packed because it is hard to just go in, get a cup of cof­fee and go back to work. You end up hang­ing out for a while. If you hang out in our shop for an hour you can see the mayor, you could see all these dif­fer­ent local busi­ness own­ers, pro­fes­sors, high school kids and grad­u­ate stu­dents – really any­one, and it is a lot of fun.

V. What amazes you about the indus­try?
A. The most amaz­ing thing to me is the whole chain of steps of get­ting the cof­fee from seed to cup. The dif­fer­ent venues, and dif­fer­ent con­nec­tions and rela­tion­ships that are involved in this – It is just mind-blowing to me, and not just mind-blowing, it is life chang­ing. I think it is a very impres­sive process that we all take for granted five or ten times a day. One grinds some beans and brews a cup of cof­fee in three min­utes, and it is so easy not to think about the thou­sands of hands and miles it took to get here. So just help­ing peo­ple to under­stand this is some­thing I really enjoy doing at our shop.

Augie’s Coffee House

113 N. 5th St
Redlands, CA, 92373
www.augiescoffeehouse.com
Austin Amento – Owner/Master Roaster

Alliance for Coffee Excellence

Categories: 2012, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Contact Name: Susie Spindler

Website: www.cupofexcellence.org
Location: Various Coffee Growing Countries
Email Address: susies@cupofexcellence.org
Phone Number: 406−542−3509

Project Description

The Cup of Excellence is the most strin­gent com­peiti­ton for top qual­ity cof­fees in the world. It awards a country’s best cof­fees and sells them to the high­est bid­der dur­ing a global inter­net auc­tion. It is open to all farm­ers equally with­out a fee and the rules are struc­tured to allow any farmer that pro­duces excep­tional qual­ity to win regard­less or eco­nom­ics or gen­der. These win­ning cof­fees are cho­sen by a select group of national and inter­na­tional cuppers.

Coffees of this exem­plary qual­ity are rare. These cof­fees are per­fectly ripe, care­fully picked with well devel­oped body, pleas­ant aroma and a lively sweet­ness that only extremely high qual­ity spe­cialty cof­fees con­tain. Each win­ning cof­fee has its own fla­vor sig­na­ture from the earth where it grows and all have been hand­crafted in such a way as to enhance these unique char­ac­ter­is­tics. The competition’s extrememly strin­gent qual­ity selec­tion pro­ce­dures with a focus on bal­anced acid­ity and per­fect sweet­ness have set a global stan­dard for those cup­pers look­ing for top cof­fees. Roasters that have these beau­ti­ful cof­fees on their shelves find that their cus­tomers are more engaged and are more likely to appre­ci­ate the dif­fer­en­ti­ated fla­vor pro­files that only top cof­fees can that generate.

The Cup of Excellence pro­gram has had huge impacts on both the farm­ers and on the spe­cialty indus­try world­wide. Before there was Cup of Excellence much of the world’s cof­fees were blended together, there­fore caus­ing a commodity-like same­ness even in the spe­cialty indus­try. The result of the now 75 Cup of Excellence com­pe­ti­tions has been to rein­vent an indus­try that is now focused on unique qualti­ties, micro cli­mates, vari­etals and on con­stant dis­cov­ery of qual­ity pro­tec­tion and farmer recognition.While the fear was that the com­pe­ti­tion would cherry pick the best cof­fees and leave the rest, it has had the oppo­site effect, and has actu­ally increased the total amount of qual­ity cof­fees exported at a pre­mium from COE part­ner countries.

The cof­fees that have been dis­cov­ered and sold at auc­tion have allowed a new group of spe­cialty roast­ers focused on extremely high qual­ity cof­fees and buildng rela­tion­ships with farm­ers to thrive. The open auc­tion for these award win­ning cof­fees has sup­ported a restruc­tur­ing of top pric­ing and reset what is pos­si­ble for farm­ers that pro­duce incred­i­ble cof­fees. The fact that the COE pro­gram forces trans­parency, chain of cus­tody and a large finan­cial reward to the win­ning farm­ers has given thou­sands of farm­ers a rea­son to know the value of their cof­fees– to learn to cup– to har­vest more care­fully and to feel more secure that if they work hard there will be eco­nomic sup­port. It has also given their chil­dren an excit­ing rea­son to stay on the farm as proud cof­fee farmers.

Who Benefits From This Project?

The Cup of Excellence fun­da­men­tally changes what we know is pos­si­ble in an exem­plary cof­fee. This ben­e­fits the entire cof­fee chain because it engages the con­sumer in a dis­cus­sion cen­tered on the joy of qual­ity coffee.Often these award-winning cof­fees are so good that con­sumers expec­ta­tions of what a cof­fee can taste like are def­i­nitely exceeded.

Many roast­ers and importers have relied on the COE results to find the high qual­ity farm­ers their busi­nesses depend on and have found a new demo­graphic of cus­tomers who appre­caite qual­ity and are will­ing to pay for it. Cup of Excellence is an impor­tant vari­able in the Direct Trade movement.

The ben­e­fit to the win­ning farmer is obvi­ous but the entire region ben­e­fits from the recog­ni­tion as buy­ers visit all of the sur­round­ing farms as well. The pay­ment to the cof­fee farm­ers for their cof­fee is more than Fair. The vast major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds go to the farmer, the rest to the organ­inz­ing com­mit­tee. ACE does not make money on the auc­tions. There is no other pro­gram that is as excit­ing for the cof­fee lover, the roast­ers and espe­cially the farm­ers whose mon­e­tary reward often changes the lives of their entire fam­ily and the rural com­mu­ni­ties where they live.

Cup of Excellence builds inter­na­tional rela­tion­ships and coöper­a­tion in many forms. Coöperation is the key to suc­cess, appre­ci­a­tion is the mantra and friend­ships and last­ing part­ner­ships are crit­i­cal. It is one of the few pro­grams that puts its main focus on indi­vid­ual empow­er­ment, train­ing and edu­ca­tion with no con­sid­er­a­tion of gen­der or eco­nomic status.

How Can I Help?

Become a mem­ber of Alliance for Coffee Excellence. Register on line. Sign up for sam­ples, join a jury, or sim­ply sup­port ACE with your mem­ber­ship. A small fee to sup­port a global non-profit orga­ni­za­tion mak­ing a difference.

An ACE mem­ber­ship with sam­ples and auc­tions gives the inter­na­tional cof­fee
com­mu­nity the oppor­tu­nity to bid for award-winning cof­fees which in turn
pro­vides the sup­port to farm­ers ensur­ing qual­ity for the future.
Visit www.cupofexcellence.org to view mem­ber­ship benefits.

Support your local roaster. Look for and buy Cup of Excellence roasted cof­fees from your favorite cafes and roast­ery world­wide.
Most impor­tantly, brew and drink COE Coffees and reflect on the farm­ers who make it pos­si­ble for ACE to change the world of cof­fee. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Six Notable Specialty Tea Trends for 2012

Categories: 2012, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

At World Tea Expo, we always strive to stay one step ahead of emerg­ing trends, so we can deliver a rel­e­vant event to par­tic­i­pants that fuels busi­ness growth. Accordingly, we’re pin­point­ing qual­ity tea, growth in tea retail, cold brew green tea, green tea pop­u­lar­ity, Matcha lattes and tea-enhancing wares as six of the key tea trends for 2012.

World Tea Expo, the largest and most promi­nent B2B event for the indus­try, is tak­ing place June 1 – 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and all of these trends will be cov­ered – as well as numer­ous other hot top­ics. At the event, atten­dees can: taste cold-brewed green tea and the lat­est Japanese Matcha lattes; gain cur­rent knowl­edge regard­ing tea retail growth, sup­ply chain trans­parency and FDA reg­u­la­tions; learn how to cap­i­tal­ize on tast­ing trends; and taste for them­selves whether or not the newest tea ware on the mar­ket does in fact enhance the fla­vor of tea.

Trend No. 1. – Quality Tea on the Rise

The tea indus­try is edu­cat­ing tea con­sumers about qual­ity, thus improv­ing their palate and desire for bet­ter tea. We’re still a bit behind here, but many retail­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers are mak­ing progress, and con­sumers are increas­ingly look­ing to buy bet­ter teas; they want to know what makes cer­tain teas high qual­ity rather than rely­ing on the manufacturer’s word or entic­ing pack­ag­ing. At the same time, indus­try mem­bers con­tinue to dis­cuss and ask one another, “How do we inter­nally define qual­ity,” and that is great. We are scru­ti­niz­ing our own prod­uct; we are ask­ing what Fair Trade really means; and we are ask­ing if prod­ucts call­ing them­selves ready-to-drink [RTD] tea should con­tain a min­i­mum of tea total dis­solved solids, or if tea-flavored sugar water should be allowed to call itself tea. We are also see­ing big tea buy­ers take notice of the high-quality win­ning teas from the North American Tea Championship, a pro­fes­sion­ally judged tea com­pe­ti­tion. A win here means that a third party pro­fes­sional has assessed qual­ity, and that is mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence for man­u­fac­tur­ers when clos­ing major deals.

Trend No. 2. – Tea Retail Continues its Upward Trend

The tea retail trend hit a nice stride in 2011, and it will con­tinue to move up quickly in 2012. Last year, for exam­ple, tea retailer Teavana launched its IPO and Canadian-based DavidsTea opened two retail stores in N.Y.C., adding to its line-up of 69 loca­tions. Most recently, Teavana acquired Canadian –based, Teaopia which has 46 stores. And Starbucks Coffee Company hired tea-retail expert Charles Cain as its new vice pres­i­dent for Tazo tea mer­chants and oper­a­tions, which leads to much spec­u­la­tion regard­ing Starbucks’ plans to launch tea retail out­lets. At World Tea Expo, the indus­try is set to dis­cuss the future growth of tea retail – and what will hap­pen in 2012 – in a ses­sion called “Will Tea Ever Be as Big as Coffee?” Right now, in the United States, there are cur­rently more than 25,000 cof­fee­houses and around 3,500 tea retail locations.

Trend No. 3. – Green Tea Grows in Popularity

Green tea is mov­ing ahead of fla­vored and blended herbal teas, in terms of pop­u­lar­ity. No doubt due to its asso­ci­a­tion with health and the pref­er­ences of age­ing Baby Boomers and con­scious Millennials, green tea is expe­ri­enc­ing a grow­ing con­sumer base, and that will con­tinue this year. According to Packaged Facts’ Tea and Ready-to-Drink Tea in the U.S., 4th Edition, green tea is cur­rently the No. 2 top fla­vor for U.S. tea prod­uct intro­duc­tions (the No. 1 spot is blended teas). Among house­holds pur­chas­ing loose leaf tea, green tea edges out herbal and fruit/spice teas with black tea as No. 1. The study notes that green tea is the No. 1 selected spe­cialty tea prod­uct selected by cus­tomers at restau­rants and retail establishments.

Trend No. 4. – Tea-enhancing Tea Wares

Glassware maker Reidel cre­ates some of the finest wine glasses and decanters, and it’s said that these spe­cial glasses make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the taste of vino, bring­ing out the depth, fla­vor and bal­ance. And now, as the gen­eral pop­u­lous con­tin­ues to build a sophis­ti­cated palate, inno­va­tors are emerg­ing and look­ing at ways they can enhance the tea drink­ing expe­ri­ence on a more sophis­ti­cated level. In fact, one stel­lar exam­ple of tea-enhancing tea ware is the 2012 World Tea Expo Best New Product Award win­ner 1660 London, for its 1660 Tasting Cups. The com­pany won the top prize in the cat­e­gory of Tea Ware. These cups are each shaped to enhance the drink­ing expe­ri­ence of green, black, and fra­grant teas.

Trend No. 5. – Cold Brew Green Tea

Cold brew green tea is expected to be big in 2012. Last year, Japanese man­u­fac­turer Yamashiro Bussan Company launched the first cold brew green tea at World Tea Expo. This year, branded cold-brew green tea takes the stage, includ­ing Swirl Tea, by Breezy Springs LLC. Breezy Spring prod­ucts are already sold in Whole Foods Markets and Publix Supermarkets, to name a few. Swirl is a trendy new con­cept that com­bines pre­mium green tea with con­ve­nience. Its unique, slen­der tea bag goes into a water bot­tle for brew­ing any­where. It also uses all nat­ural ingre­di­ents, is nat­u­rally decaf­feinated, zero calo­ries, and con­tains no sugar or gluten. We pre­dict that with Swirl Tea’s cold-brewed green tea on gro­cery store shelves, there will be a larger con­sumer base and aware­ness for this prod­uct cat­e­gory in 2012. Imagine the delight con­sumers will have when they real­ize they can enjoy green tea with­out wor­ry­ing about over-steeping it or water tem­per­a­tures caus­ing the tea to taste like burnt grass. Swirl Green Tea – Cold-Brewed On The Go!, by Breezy Spring LLC, won a 2012 World Tea Expo Best New Product Award in the cat­e­gory of Tea as an Ingredient.

Trend No. 6. – Matcha Lattes (Real Ones)

Unlike the poor qual­ity Matcha lattes that have “crashed and burned” in the past, there are now superb prod­uct offer­ings in the mar­ket. All of these use real and high-quality Japanese Matcha, blended with min­i­mal sugar but packed with fla­vor, such as AIYA America’s Matcha Zen Café Blend. Matcha lattes are already wildly sell­ing in Canadian food­ser­vice estab­lish­ments, and we sus­pect the time has come for American restau­rants to catch on in 2012. They are easy to make, require no addi­tional equip­ment, taste deli­cious and are packed with the nutri­tional ben­e­fits of Matcha. They’re cer­tainly a won­der­ful alter­na­tive to over-roasted cof­fee after a lovely dinner.

Tea Growth in 2012 & Beyond

On the whole, tea con­tin­ues to grow in the mar­ket­place, and many com­pa­nies – like 2012 World Tea Expo exhibitor finum by Riensch & Held – are nur­tur­ing an urban tea cul­ture, where con­sumers are dis­cov­er­ing full-leaf spe­cialty teas. finum offers a range of prod­ucts, includ­ing styl­ish drink ware in com­bi­na­tion with unique fil­ter­ing com­po­nents for tea. The com­pany agrees that more young peo­ple are drink­ing tea because they like it, because it suits their image, because it fits into their life style. “They are of course health con­scious,” says Christian Justus, CEO of finum, “and tea must blend into their social and eco­logic envi­ron­ment – in the office, at a party on the street.” The com­pany is try­ing to make it eas­ier to pre­pare good, high qual­ity tea to the stan­dard that the Chinese and Japanese are accus­tomed to.

Yes, tea is on the rise. And accord­ing to pro­jec­tions from Packaged Facts, in their study Tea and Ready-to-Drink Tea in the U.S., 4th Edition, tea retail mar­ket growth will edge up from approx­i­mately 6.6 per­cent in 2012 to 8.7 per­cent in 2014, reach­ing $8.3 bil­lion in that year. World Tea Expo pre­sen­ter David Sprinkle, research direc­tor for Packaged Facts, notes, “The hori­zon for tea indeed looks bright. Factors spurring con­tin­ued over­all growth of the tea mar­ket include: the suc­cess of refrig­er­ated and RTD tea; the acqui­si­tions of Honest Tea and Sweet Leaf Tea that will con­tinue to expand the dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels for these and other organic and spe­cialty brands; the rapid expan­sion of spe­cialty tea retail­ers such as Teavana; increased empha­sis by Starbucks and other cof­fee­houses on their tea offer­ings; the sus­tained pro­mo­tion of tea by the big restau­rant chains, led by McDonald’s; the pro­lif­er­a­tion of tea rooms and other tea offer­ings at food­ser­vice; the con­tin­ued recog­ni­tion by con­sumers of tea’s healthy prop­er­ties and their switch to tea from car­bon­ated soft drinks.” Sprinkle will present, “Understanding the Retail Shopper of Tea Products” Saturday, at World Tea Expo.

Kim Jage is the sales and mar­ket­ing direc­tor, World Tea Media, a divi­sion of F+W Media. To learn more about these trends and other hot tea top­ics, reg­is­ter for World Tea Expo at www.WorldTeaExpo.com.

The Mysteries of Chai Revealed

Categories: 2012, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

History

The word Chai in Hindi means tea. What is referred to sim­ply as “chai” in Western coun­tries is what is known in India as Masala chai, lit­er­ally mean­ing “Spice tea.” In Ancient days, Masala chai was used for med­i­c­i­nal pur­poses (in Ayurvedic prac­tices), and was con­sid­ered a rem­edy for minor ill­nesses. Early on, Masala chai was pre­pared in a vari­ety of ways, served both hot and cold, and com­prised of a wide array of spices.1

Surprisingly in ear­lier days, tea was not a very pop­u­lar drink in India. It was not until the 1830’s, when the British East India Company became con­cerned about the Chinese monop­oly on tea, which sus­tained the enor­mous con­sump­tion of tea in Great Britain. British set­tlers noticed the exis­tence of the Assamese tea plants in India, and began to cul­ti­vate tea plan­ta­tions locally.

However, con­sump­tion of tea within India still remained low until an aggres­sive pro­mo­tional cam­paign by the British-owned Indian Tea Association in the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury; which encour­aged fac­to­ries, mines, and tex­tile mills to pro­vide tea breaks for their workers.1

The offi­cial pro­mo­tion of tea was to be served in the English style, adding small quan­ti­ties of milk and sugar. But Masala chai remained a part of Indian cul­ture and, in its present form, firmly estab­lished itself as a pop­u­lar bev­er­age, spread­ing beyond South Asia to the rest of the world with its multi-cultural influences.

Variations

In Western coun­tries, a sweeter and creamier ver­sion Masala chai was cre­ated, such as the chai latte. The basic Masala chai is made mainly with a base of black, green, rooi­bos tea, or in some cases yerba mate, and an assort­ment of spices. In India, each recipe varies from region to region, and fam­ily to fam­ily. This con­tin­ues to be true, as dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies as well as com­pa­nies have cap­i­tal­ized on chai, cre­at­ing their own blends and sell­ing them loose, in tea-bags, pow­ders, and con­cen­trates. According to Christopher Merry, President of The Chai Company, “Companies like ours use whole leaf tea that is steeped in hot water and then steeped again with spices. This brew­ing process means that all of the good­ness in the tea and spices is cap­tured in the final prod­uct. Our chai is made with whole spices – gin­ger, car­damom, black pep­per, clove, cin­na­mon, and vanilla.”

According to Bipin Patel, President of Tipu’s Chai, “Our (Masala chai) is a third gen­er­a­tion fam­ily recipe that has been tested by my family’s migra­tions from India to Africa to England and now to the U.S. I have stayed loyal to the recipe and not cut cor­ners. It is a recipe that is bolder, spicier, and more robust than most other chai’s. It’s not bland and weak; it is invig­o­rat­ing, bold and sooth­ing too!”

In con­trast, Eva Wong from the Republic of Tea says, “Our Republic Green Chai is Green tea blended with spicy gin­ger, cin­na­mon and car­damom is fin­ished with sweet­ness of fresh almonds. Our Republic Red Chai is rooi­bos and it has been blended with a deli­cious mélange of other herbs and spices: orange, cin­na­mon, gin­ger, corian­der, car­damom, star anise, fen­nel, black pep­per, pimento and cloves. It is more sub­tle in fla­vor than our tra­di­tional Republic Chai.” Juanita Joachim from Tea Packs USA says, “What dif­fer­en­ti­ates us is not only our qual­ity of tea and spices, it is the wide selec­tion of chai blends that we offer.”
Furthermore, Bhakti Chai is the only fresh chai in the mar­ket. It con­tains no preser­v­a­tives and is made with Fair Trade and Organic tea, fresh organic gin­ger (they press 1,000 pounds of gin­ger on a weekly basis!), Organic evap­o­rated cane juice, car­damom, black pep­per, fen­nel, and clove.

Nowadays, chai is not lim­ited to only drinks. People have used the Masala chai blend to cre­ate var­i­ous dessert recipes. For instance, chai cup­cakes and cook­ies, chai rice pud­ding, pump­kin chai latte cake (Yes, I am hun­gry), chai ice cream, and I am cur­rently munch­ing on Cary’s Tea Toffee Chai, which is a milk choco­late with English tof­fee bar blended with Masala chai spices. Delicious!

Health Benefits

The Masala Blend was orig­i­nated because of the indi­vid­ual heal­ing prop­er­ties of the spices. In addi­tion, tea in itself has var­i­ous health ben­e­fits and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. According to Dawn Lewis, President of Chaikhana Chai “Flavonoids and polyphe­nols are nat­u­rally occur­ring com­pounds in pre­mium black and green tea. They func­tion in the body as antiox­i­dants and help neu­tral­ize the free rad­i­cals known to dam­age cells which can lead to dis­eases such as Cancer and heart dis­ease. Also, by inhibit­ing the absorp­tion of cho­les­terol in the diges­tive tract, tea helps pre­vent the form­ing of blood clots, which may cause a heart attack or stroke. Studies have also shown that black tea relaxes and expands your arter­ies, increas­ing blood flow to the heart, while improv­ing the func­tion­ing of the blood ves­sels and low­er­ing blood pressure.”

While chai could have a ben­e­fi­cial effect on adults, is it safe for chil­dren? Lewis says “Absolutely! Decaffeinated chai is usu­ally an option and it is a great alter­na­tive to hot choco­late. Honey is ener­giz­ing and good for the immune sys­tem, spices are good for tum­mies, and milk is full of pro­tein, vit­a­min D and cal­cium.” Furthermore, Bipin from Tipu’s Chai adds, “I can only speak from per­sonal expe­ri­ence. I grew up drink­ing chai and I think I was about 5 or 6 when I had my grandmother’s chai for the first time. I don’t think it did any per­ma­nent damage…except per­haps my addic­tion to chai!”

A Social Mission

Beyond their prof­itabil­ity goals, many busi­nesses in today’s world have adopted a phil­an­thropic and social aware­ness phi­los­o­phy. This is the case with Brook Eddy, Founder of Bhakti Chai (Bhakti mean­ing devo­tion through social action). She believes in a “triple-bottom-line busi­ness,” based on prof­itabil­ity, and eco­log­i­cal and social respon­si­bil­ity. Her com­pany phi­los­o­phy is based on the Swadhyay move­ment orig­i­nated in India; where a main motto is “com­pelling indi­vid­u­als to serve their com­mu­nity by donat­ing two days a month for the good of their com­mu­nity.” Besides the fact, that her chai is Organic and Fair Trade, through her busi­ness, she donates 10% to Non-profits that invest in women, girls, and the envi­ron­ment (See their story at www.bhaktichai.com).

Growing Demand

Masala chai has spread around the world, and its pop­u­lar­ity is increas­ing as peo­ple try it and become informed. “As con­sumers become more aware of chai as a bev­er­age option, it sim­ply offers them another choice when cof­fee may not be what they are look­ing for, but they still want a hot drink. The health prop­er­ties of tea and spices are becom­ing more of a news topic as well, which inspires those who have yet to expe­ri­ence chai to give it a try.” Says the President of Chaikhana Chai.

Marketing is always an essen­tial part of sell­ing any type of prod­uct. In the same way, every retailer should pro­mote chai. Christopher Merry, from The Chai Company sug­gests “Specialty tea is a rapidly grow­ing mar­ket and cafes can do a much bet­ter job in cap­tur­ing some of this growth by offer­ing a higher qual­ity range of pre­mium teas. A pre­mium authen­tic chai should be a big part of that. A cof­fee shop that prides itself on hand­crafted qual­ity cof­fee should have the same men­tal­ity with all of their allied prod­ucts. Promote it with posters; cre­ate drinks with it – like Chai-nog or Chider. Offer more types – reg­u­lar, spicy, caf­feine free, unsweet­ened – and give peo­ple sam­ples.” Exotic and trendy bev­er­ages such as chai are a great addi­tion to your spe­cialty tea menu. Especially since it is not only fla­vor­ful, but also heal­ing. Find fun and fla­vor­ful blends; pro­mote them; make a profit.

Cinnamon
–
Is thought to increase cir­cu­la­tion and open breath­ing. In addi­tion, it is used as a diges­tive stim­u­lant and to treat joint pain.

Cardamom–
Is said to ben­e­fit the lungs, kid­neys, and heart.

Cloves–
Have pain-relieving and anti­sep­tic attributes.

Black Pepper–
Widely used to sup­port cir­cu­la­tion and metabolism.

Nutmeg–
Used for cen­turies to ease sci­at­ica and pro­mote the diges­tion of heavy foods. Ancient Arab physi­cians also used it to treat kid­ney and lymph problems.

Ginger–
Mainly known for its diges­tive prop­er­ties; also used as a stim­u­lant for the cir­cu­la­tory and immune systems.

Fennel–
Widely used to treat both kid­ney and ocu­lar prob­lems, as well as laryngitis.2

1. Masala chai. (2009, February 24). New World Encyclopedia. 
www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Masala_chai?oldid=935168.
2. Chai Tea Health Benefits. www.chai-tea.org/benefits.html

2012 Trends for Frozen Beverages — Time to get Creative!

Categories: 2012, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Many restau­rants and Cafés have focused on adding dif­fer­ent foods to expand their menu hop­ing to draw more patrons. Beverages have become the lat­est medium for oper­a­tors look­ing to drive sales and increase prof­its. Many fast food chains have seized this oppor­tu­nity, and are exper­i­ment­ing by enlarg­ing their bev­er­age menu and offer­ing fun and cre­ative drinks. “McDonald’s touts its new frozen straw­berry lemon­ade while Steak’n’Shake and Sonic shout about their “happy hour” deals on milk­shakes and frozen drinks, avail­able dur­ing the mid-afternoon snack period.” 1. For this rea­son, we will be look­ing into some of the trends for 2012 and what peo­ple are demand­ing this year, specif­i­cally in the cold and frozen bev­er­ages market.

As the cof­fee lovers that we are, the first thing that I should point out is that Iced cof­fee is on the top of the list; and this topic could be an entire arti­cle by itself. “Consumption of this cold caf­feinated bev­er­age in restau­rants has heated up 20% per­cent in the last five years.”1 According to an inde­pen­dent sur­vey con­ducted by Dunkin’ Donuts, “an over­whelm­ing major­ity (84%) of iced cof­fee drinkers claim they are drink­ing more iced cof­fee this win­ter com­pared to last win­ter.” 2 Not only the inter­est in pre­mium and spe­cialty beans, but also all the advances in the cold brew tech­nol­ogy, has influ­enced the grow­ing demand. Everywhere, from McDonald’s to the local Café’s, oper­a­tors are offer­ing iced and frozen java drinks; even Starbucks with its new Via Iced Coffee is giv­ing cus­tomers the means to make their own at home. As a café, it is impor­tant to focus on the qual­ity of your brew­ing method, and make sure you dif­fer­en­ti­ate your iced or frozen cof­fee from those of the big chains.

Next, con­sumers have become increas­ingly health con­scious, and this trend will con­tinue to be fol­lowed for years to come. Individuals are look­ing at labels that con­tain “Free-From,” “All– Natural,” and “Low-Calorie.” Consumers, espe­cially women, are extremely aware of this last one. Therefore, when select­ing what fla­vor­ings, syrups, and prod­ucts to offer in your café, look for these labels. According to Brenda Weldon, Marketing Coördinator for Weldon Flavorings “We believe at Weldon Flavorings that health con­scious cus­tomers are demand­ing
 more qual­ity from all their bev­er­ages. They want their frozen treats to be health­ier for them and have less sugar, fats, calo­ries, sodium, and arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers. Frozen treats made with Weldon Flavorings can increase the fla­vor of any drink with­out adding these unwanted ingredients.”

From enhanced waters and drinks, such as vit­a­min water, to made-to-order frozen bev­er­ages, con­sumers are look­ing to get extra vit­a­mins and sup­ple­ments from their thirst-quenchers. Specifically ones that will give a boost of energy; hence, the pop­u­lar­ity of “5-hour” and other energy drinks. David Gross, CEO of Smoothie Essentials says, “Our prod­uct line includes twenty assorted blends that indi­vid­u­ally and together encom­pass the broad spec­trum of what­ever par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fit a cus­tomer would be look­ing for. Whether for energy or for rest­ful sleep; for pro­tein or for fiber; for recov­ery from one too many drinks the night before or for an extra boost to the brain func­tions before school, the Smoothie Essential prod­uct line has a prod­uct to meet the benefit.”

According to an inde­pen­dent sur­vey con­ducted by Dunkin’ Donuts, “an over­whelm­ing major­ity (84%) of iced cof­fee drinkers claim they are drink­ing more iced cof­fee this win­ter com­pared to last win­ter.” 2

While many may think that offer­ing sugar-free and low-calorie prod­ucts will affect the taste of their bev­er­ages and limit their cre­ativ­ity, many sup­pli­ers have cre­ated great tast­ing fla­vor­ings, sweet­en­ers, and syrups in order to meet this demand. Your frozen bev­er­ages can be unique and healthy at the same time. Gina Costello, CEO of Costellini’s says their most cre­ative fla­vor is “the cin­na­mon bliss, it’s a show grab­ber every time, peo­ple are shocked when they taste it; then even more shocked when they learn it sugar free and fat free.”

Get Creative!

Creativity is crit­i­cal to dif­fer­en­ti­ate your café; and of course fla­vor. People are now demand­ing not only unique and excit­ing bev­er­ages, but cus­tomiz­able. Consumers want the do-it-yourself expe­ri­ence by being able to pick and choose from an array options. Syrups and fla­vor­ings will allow you to offer vari­ety, while main­tain­ing a high-profit mar­gin. “There is high demand for frozen fruit based bev­er­ages. Lemonade and teas are very pop­u­lar. Again, adding fla­vor offers a com­plete range of drinks. In fact, a café can cre­ate ter­rific tast­ing lemon­ade sim­ply by using Monin Lemon as the base fla­vor.” Says Bob Hager, Vice pres­i­dent of Marketing at Monin Syrups.” While fresh and local is cur­rently a big trend; using only fresh prod­ucts can be expen­sive, and can limit your cre­ativ­ity. Combining syrups and fla­vor­ings with a few sea­sonal fruits and botan­i­cals will allow you to mix fla­vors while keep­ing costs low, and also dis­tin­guish your Café with inven­tive drinks.

According to Jillian Hillard, Marketing Manager at PreGel AMERICA, “ Slushes, frappes and smooth­ies aren’t the only play­ers any­more. Soft gelato and yogurt prod­ucts (affogatos), excit­ing alcohol-infused drinks and more will all greatly expand the frozen bev­er­age cat­e­gory.” Diversifying your prod­uct line does not only mean offer­ing dif­fer­ent fla­vored bev­er­ages, but also dis­tinc­tive and orig­i­nal styles of cold drinks. “PreGel’s Caféttone, Fruittone and Yogurttone lines eas­ily incor­po­rate into an exist­ing café model for a num­ber of rea­sons. The con­cept blends well with the exist­ing offer­ings of many cafés i.e. cof­fee, espresso, juices and fruits – mean­ing you can incor­po­rate Caféttone, Fruittone and Yogurttone within a café’s cur­rent prod­ucts (Salted Caramel Caféttone swirled with espresso).” Adds Hillard.

Quality

When a cus­tomer is pur­chas­ing a frozen or cold bev­er­age they will expect it to be tasty; that it is well blended; and that the fla­vor lasts until the end. The type of blender you use will play an impor­tant role in the out­come of these fac­tors. According to Tony Ciepiel, COO of Vitamix, “Our cus­tomers’ rep­u­ta­tions are built on qual­ity. Whether our prod­ucts are being used in a cof­fee house, smoothie bar, or one of the finest restau­rants in the world, we’ll con­tinue to cre­ate value and ver­sa­til­ity to help ensure suc­cess… Vitamix offers oper­a­tors the abil­ity to deliver a wide vari­ety of supe­rior blended bev­er­ages to their cus­tomers through a vari­ety of fea­tures and ben­e­fits, includ­ing its pro­gram but­tons with 34 opti­mized pro­grams found on The Quiet One.”

Something that is iron­i­cally often neglected, con­sid­er­ing it is the most promi­nent ingre­di­ent, is ice. According to Michael Rice, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Follett Corporation, “Studies have shown that peo­ple pre­fer Chewblet ice, gener­i­cally known as nugget or extruded ice, by over 2:1 com­pared to con­ven­tional cube-type ice.” He con­tin­ues by adding, “All Follett ice machines pro­duce Chewblet ice. More than 50% of the pop­u­la­tion likes to chew ice and con­sumers pre­fer the tex­ture, size, shape, and appear­ance of Chewblet ice. They often think Chewblet ice makes their drinks taste bet­ter and will go out of their way to get drinks with this type of ice.”

Frozen bev­er­ages are not just a sum­mer trend. People enjoy frozen drinks as a snack drink; some as a meal replace­ment, or sim­ply as a func­tional drink that allows them to get their daily fruit intake and other sup­ple­ments (which helps jus­tify the calo­ries); oth­ers drink them because of the tex­ture and because they are just plain fun! Regardless of the motive, the demand is present. Frozen Beverages are high-margin menu items that sell well, and they are easy to add to the menu with min­i­mal invest­ment and inven­tory. Do not miss an oppor­tu­nity to diver­sify your menu and increase rev­enue; fol­low the indus­try trends.

1 www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/top-ten-beverage-trends-2011/
www.sacbee.com/2012/01/24/4210780/iced-coffee-drinkers-running-on.html