You put a considerable amount of time and thought into designing your hot beverages, sourcing a range of varietals, topping them off with impressive latte art, and serving it in a sophisticated demitasse. Are you doing the same for your beloved cold brew offerings?
Today’s consumers are looking for more than just a cup of coffee. Most of us are purchasing a coffee journey, which means that to compete with other beverage providers, you need to look at the full experience. Sit down and put some strategic thought into everything from the taste of your cold brew to the drinking vessels it’s poured into and the barista who serves it.
To create an unparalleled cold brew experience for your guests, follow three simple steps:
- The top priority is what goes into the cup.
- Don’t be afraid to mix things up.
- Build out the cold brew journey.
Start by thinking about the cold brews you offer. Have you selected coffees from different areas? Do you offer both single origins and blends, various roast levels? Have you experimented with the brewing variables to dial in flavours for their specific applications, e.g., stronger concentrate for frozen beverages, a lighter, more delicate brew for single origins you plan to serve over ice, shorter/longer steep times?
Educate your baristas about your cold brew options so they’re comfortable talking to customers about tasting notes, roast levels, processing methods, and more. Although this guidance might sound overly simplistic, it’s vital that you do the basics really well before thinking about the rest of the journey.
Next, it’s time to get a little creative. Look for ways to deliver the unexpected. Yes, you can always serve delicious cold brew over ice, but consider other options that help your guests learn more about cold brew. Serve some crafty mocktails with attention-grabbing garnishes. Create cold brew flights that feature different still cold brews as well as a nitro option. Steam cold brew for a smooth-drinking hot alternative. Combine cold brew with tonic water for a refreshing summer drink. You can even brainstorm a signature cold brew beverage for your cafe. Bonus points if it photographs well (more on that in a minute).
Finally, flesh out the rest of the cold brew journey. Yes, the flavor is king but appearance is still an important aspect of the experience. Think about the glassware you’ll use when serving your cold brew. Plastic cups work for beverages taken to go, but customers who will be spending some time in your cafe deserve to enjoy their drink in a vessel that rivals the traditional cup and saucer presentation associated with hot coffees. Serving cold brew straight up over ice? A highball or Collins glass showcases that well. If you’re serving a concentrate that’s designed to be sipped, explore barware or snifter glasses typically used for brandies and cognacs. If you’re delivering a decadent frappe, pour it into a frosty mug and top it with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel syrup, and a maraschino cherry.
A beautiful presentation does more than delight your single customer; it often leads to your guest taking a photograph of their drink, which they then share on social media – essentially marketing your products for you to their friends and family. At Toddy, we call this concept “the phone eats [or drinks] first.” Images of delicious cold brew beverages that are shared on social media create a fear of missing out (or FOMO), and can even help entice those who may not have had cold brew yet to visit your cafe.
This essay is published in proud partnership with Toddy.