5 Emerging Coffee Drinks that Could Perk Up Your Business

Embracing these trends could help set your coffee shop apart.
Stay ahead of the game at your coffee shop or cafe by incorporating these coffee trends into your daily routine. (Photo: The Blind Tiger)

In 2016, sales of coffee and tea at coffee houses reached $21.6 billion according to market intelligence firm Mintel and are expected to continue their upward trajectory.

But as coffee demand grows, so do the number of competitors on the scene. To set themselves apart, many cafes are brewing up new, innovative offerings. Some drinks, such as avocado lattes and rainbow-colored coffee, are novelties that may not see the light of tomorrow, but others may have legs.

Cold-brew coffee and nitro are two cold brews that are hot right now. Here are five other drinks that could perk up business at your shop.

Carbonated coffee


Carbonated coffee can be created using any kind of carbonated water and espresso, says Roberto Torres, owner of The Blind Tiger Cafe. (Photo: The Blind Tiger)

For a refreshing twist on cold coffee this summer, add some fizz.

Roberto Torres, owner of the Blind Tiger Cafe in Tampa, Florida, said carbonated coffee can be made using any kind of carbonated water — soda, tonic or mineral. “We call them ‘Sparkling Americanos,’” he said. “It’s a double shot of espresso with 10 ounces of carbonated water and is served cold.”

Related: 5 Coffeehouse Trends that Could Perk Up Your Business

“It’s just a really crisp, refreshing drink. The carbonation, takes away the bitterness from the espresso or the acidity that a hot drink will sometimes have — and it’s amazing.”

Butter coffee


Butter coffee was created as part of the Bulletproof Diet to promote weight loss by replacing breakfast with the drink. (Photo: Vista Photo/Shutterstock)

Torres said he’s also adding butter coffee to his menu soon, mainly because customers are asking for it.

Butter coffee is a regular cup of joe with two tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil blended to emulsification and served hot. Butter coffee started as part of the Bulletproof Diet, which claims that replacing your breakfast with the drink can contribute to weight loss. Some people use coconut oil instead of MCT.

Butter coffee is gaining a large following, especially in the fitness community, said Torres. When Blind Tiger adds it to the menu, Torres said they are going to replace both the butter and the MCT with coconut oil because of its creamy texture. It will also make the beverage an option for those who want to avoid or cut back on dairy, he noted.

Thai iced coffee


Thai iced coffee combines espresso and sweetened condensed milk to create a chilled, sweet treat. (Photo: KC Lindman/Shutterstock)

For coffee drinkers who like it sweet, there’s Thai iced coffee. To make it, you pull a double shot of espresso over a very strong French brew coffee, then add sweetened condensed milk and pour over ice.

Related: What Your Coffee Choice Says About You as a Small Business Owner

The result is “almost like a melted coffee ice cream,” said Matt Quevillon, chef at Bradford Place Cafe in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

The key, said Quevillon, is mixing and cooling the drink simultaneously. “Basically, the coffee is transferred between two pitchers at a distance so it aerates as it is combined with condensed milk,” he said. This gives the drink a similar “frothiness” as a hot latte or cappuccino.

Slowly expand the distance between the two pitchers as you transfer the mixture back and forth to blend, which creates a microfoam and also serves to cool the coffee. “By the time it’s done,” said Quevillon, “your arms are pretty much wide open and you’re just pouring coffee through the air. It’s pretty neat.”

Golden milk


Golden milk incorporates turmeric into your coffee, which has added health benefits. (Photo: Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock)

Another old-world recipe gaining new popularity is turmeric milk, sometimes called “golden milk.”

“Golden milk is a blend of non-dairy milk, vanilla, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper,” said Brian Abernathy, founder and master roaster of Grumpy Goat Coffee in Bonita Springs, Florida. There are many variants of the recipe, which can be served hot or cold.

Because turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, some health-conscious consumers are looking for ways to incorporate it into their diet.

While the traditional recipe doesn’t include coffee, Abernathy said some cafes are adding espresso and turning the drink into a turmeric latte. “I think this would be an absolutely amazing drink if a single or double shot of a high-end Peruvian or Ethiopian coffee was added to it,” he said.

Coffee cherry tea


Coffee cherry tea is one of the newest coffee trends and uses the dried skins of coffee berries (cherries) to create a tea-like drink. (Photo: Kseniia Ryzhcova/Shutterstock)

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of coffee, look into coffee cherry tea. It blurs the line between tea and coffee is still relatively hard to find, so adding it to your menu would likely set you apart.

Coffee beans grow inside coffee fruit, which consumers rarely see. The fruit is usually discarded when the beans are harvested. But the skins can be dried and used to make a sweet, fruity, tea-like drink known as coffee cherry tea or cascara (in Spanish, “cáscara” means “shell,” “rind” or “husk”).

Peter Femino, owner of Boston Common Coffee Co., believes cascara has a good chance of going mainstream because it’s a sustainable option and there’s no shortage of discarded coffee skins. “Like any other business, each farmer is looking to maximize his crop yield with every marketable product available to them. With over 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed each year, the earning potential of turning a ‘waste product’ into a commodity seems like a natural progression for the coffee farmers.”

Related: Restaurant Waste: Three Ways to Save Green By Going Green

Whatever new drinks you decide to add to your menu, educate your baristas on the techniques used and the differences they make to the flavor and texture, Quevillon advised. If they understand and are passionate about these subtleties, they can better educate your customers — and create more demand.

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