Cold brew coffee is now a household name, and cold brew tea is slowly but surely following suit. Sparkling tea is also growing in popularity. For coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels, adding these drinks to their menu can be an easy way to increase profits and attract new customers.
Adding a new class of food or beverage to a menu requires planning. Fortunately, these on-trend drinks are easier to prepare than they might seem. Carri Hecks, Training Manager at Canton Tea and Head of the Brew Team at The UK Tea Academy tells us more about them.
Why It’s Time to Add Cold Brew and Sparkling Tea to The Menu
Make no mistake: these teas are in demand, and they offer food and beverage providers a sparkling opportunity.
“Many speciality coffee shops and cafes understand the need to offer a good quality tea alongside their coffee, and have realised that in the warmer months they can offer cold brew teas alongside cold brew and iced coffee,” says Carri. “The consumer is also more drink savvy – the growth of food-based social media sites means that we can see what’s out there and available, which means more familiarity and the curiosity to explore.”
For many consumers, cold brew tea is also a more accessible drink than hot brewed speciality tea. “Cold brew teas dissolve fewer bitter compounds, like caffeine and polyphenols, so the other flavours notes of the tea can really come through,” Carri explains.
She tells us that cold brew and sparkling tea are in vogue and are surprisingly easy for businesses to add their menu. “With the big move away from sugar loaded drinks and even fruit juices, tea-based beverages offer a great alternative. The benefits of tea are really getting to be better understood and they offer so much flavour and variety without having to add too many ingredients,” she explains.
How to Design a Cold Brew and Sparkling Tea Menu
Many businesses begin ambitiously, with an extensive and creative menu, only to discover that they have overestimated their abilities. Remember that whether serving hot or cold drinks, maintaining excellence in beverage preparation is crucial.
“Start simple,” Carri says. “Test the recipe yourselves before serving it to your customers. You might want to adjust dosage or brew times.”
Simple, however, does not mean basic. In high-end or speciality businesses, customers will expect quality ingredients and creative pairings. In cafés and restaurants targeting families and children, sweet and fruity flavours may go down well.
The wide variety of teas on the market gives businesses many options. “Green, white and oolong teas are fantastic cold brewed,” Carri tells us. “Don’t forget that herbals also make fabulous cold infusions, [since they are] so flavoursome and naturally caffeine-free.”
Adding sparkling water to a herbal tea can help it stand out, and position it as a healthy replacement for cocktails and mocktails – especially if a little thought is put into the presentation. “It’s rare for non-drinkers to be well catered for and these drinks really offer a great alternative to alcohol, great for those choosing to avoid it or lessening that FOMO feeling for the designated driver!” Carri says.
Businesses can experiment with loose leaves, tea concentrate, syrups, crushed herbs and fruits to create beverages that truly stand out.
Preparing Cold Brew and Sparkling Tea In-House
These beverages can be easily made in-house, allowing businesses to see a greater percentage of the sale price as profits.
“[There are] great margins on these drinks. For very little effort, you can produce innovative and exciting menu additions and the customer will be happy to pay a little more,” Carri stresses, adding that it’s possible to get “a whole new range” without needing working with new suppliers.
What’s more, it’s also better for the environment. “Unlike RTDs,” Carri says, “there is no plastic or glass bottles involved.”
A little creativity will be needed when it comes to menu design, as well as a good water dispenser. Businesses need to be aware of the local water quality and opt for a dispenser with an in-built filtration system.
The award-winning FRIIA HCS, which comes in two sizes, is a hot, cold, and sparkling water dispenser. It is energy-efficient and offers temperature precision to X°C, allowing complete control over the brewing process. With an undercounter boiler, it leaves the countertop sleek and minimalistic while also providing instant access to up to 3 or 8 litres of water at the ideal temperature
“Making these infusions with a one-stop piece of kit is a joy!” Carri tells us. “I have had the pleasure of working with the Marco FRIIA at this year’s London Coffee Festival. Delivering hot, cold and sparkling water from one tap, it made hot brews, cold brews, and sparkling teas a total breeze.”
Training Staff to Prepare Cold Brew and Sparkling Tea
Your staff should be knowledgeable about the drinks’ ingredients, flavour profiles and body, health benefits or effects (if there are any), and more. As Carri says, “enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are… key.” A well-trained staff member will actively promote and recommend these drinks to customers, as well as helping those customers to appreciate the flavours and aromas.
Carri also highlights the importance of training staff on health and safety guidelines, as well as the best brewing practices. Fortunately, with the right equipment, a cold tea recipe can be easy to follow. However, the more knowledge baristas and waiters have about the brewing and the ingredients, the better they will be able to serve customers.
A savvy cold brew and sparkling tea menu offers up a realm of benefits for businesses: high profit margins, trendy and visually attractive items, flexible recipes, the ability to attract new customers, brand reinforcement or refinement, and a range of drinks that will be popular from opening through to end of day.
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