The Role of Tea & Coffee in the Restaurant Industry

May 23, 2024
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The food and beverage business is constantly changing. However, serving quality drinks will always be important. In this article, we’ve highlighted some information about the different aspects of offering tea and coffee in a restaurant. 

Restaurant Coffee Trends

Following the latest trends in the food and beverage industry is important for any restaurant. This is true not only for the novelties in dishes but also for coffee. 

Hot Coffee Trends

Increasing a restaurant’s profits can easily be achieved with the help of upselling drinks.

  • Coffee cocktails. Cocktails mixed with coffee are a great way to improve your beverage menu. Other than coffee, other ingredients of such drinks might be guarana, green tea, and Yerba maté.
  • Technological innovations. There are many opportunities to improve the coffee experience in your restaurant. Some examples include robot baristas, smart coffee machines, and even AI-powered coffee machines. Many guests will be attracted by your venue if you introduce this restaurant tech.
  • Functional coffee. It can be used to get vitamins and other nutrients. Popular options for functional coffees include those infused with protein, superfruits, and collagen.
  • Sustainable options. Nowadays, many clients prefer organically grown options. Keep up with this trend by partnering with a wholesale coffee beans supplier.
  • Nitro coffee. This variety is a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas. It has a thick and creamy texture. Nitrogen gas also removes some of the bitterness and acidity of the coffee. You get a stronger boost while enjoying a creamy coffee.
  • Plant-based milk. A lot of people enjoy coconut, almond, soy, and other milk options. The most popular ones are almond, coconut, soy, and rice milk. With the rise of lactose malabsorption, offering plant-based milk will become more important.
  • The coffee experience. Organizing events such as coffee training classes or coffee-tasting brunches might be a great way to achieve brand awareness and recognition. You can also partner with some of the best coffee roasters in the US and professional baristas for these events. Latte art classes also have the potential to help your brand grow.
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Tea Varieties for Restaurants

Almost everyone enjoys their dish with a beverage. And tea is not an uncommon choice. That is why it might be beneficial for a restaurant to have a tea menu. This increases the value of the service and makes your restaurant a top pick for tea lovers. 

Best Tea Varieties for a Restaurant

  • Earl Grey tea. It’s one of the most popular types of tea in the world. Earl Grey is not a trademark and there are multiple varieties of the blend. It’s made from black tea leaves. What makes it different is the bergamot oil. Truly one of the drinks every bartender should know.
  • Green tea. Its fresh taste and antioxidant properties make green tea a great option for tea enthusiasts. Iced green teas are also popular. A restaurant should consider adding green tea Frappuccino to their seasonal menu.
  • Chamomile tea. Tried chamomile flowers are among the most preferred tea blend ingredients because of their floral and sweet flavor. Chamomile tea also helps with digestion, improves sleep, and reduces inflammation.
  • Jasmine tea. The flavor of this drink makes it an excellent tea pairing for salads and seafood. Its floral notes make a great ingredient for green tea blends.
  • Peppermint tea. The freshness and slightly sweet notes of peppermint make it a great option for every season. It also helps with digestion and freshens the breath.

Ice Tea Varieties

  • Green iced tea is a fresh option for hot summer days. Its sweet and grassy notes pair well with many dishes.
  • Cold black teas can be mixed with citrus fruits to achieve an excellent summer drink. Their caffeine content also makes them a preferred alternative to iced coffees. 
  • Iced fruit teas like peach, lemon, raspberry, or orange are great beverages for hot days. Their freshness and light flavors make them an excellent pairing to a variety of dishes.
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Specialty Coffee in Restaurants

Specialty coffee is becoming increasingly popular. Its significantly higher price is not a problem for coffee enthusiasts who wish to enjoy an exceptional drink. 

What Is Specialty Coffee?

Specialty coffee scores above 80 points out of 100 when tasted by certified Q graders. The qualities that are checked include flavor, body, aroma, acidity, and possible defects. Specialty coffees are produced in small quantities. They are single-origin coffees grown in a specific region. A Specialty Coffee Association certified barista will know how to properly prepare the drink so that all flavors and richness are kept.

Why Offer Specialty Coffee?

There are many benefits of offering specialty coffee in a restaurant. Here are the main ones:

  • Additional value. Many coffee enthusiasts consider specialty brands to be the best coffee experience. Therefore, your venue will attract such clients easily and will boost customer satisfaction for them.
  • Maximizing profits. Specialty coffee is an ideal option for upselling. A lot of people would like to try something exquisite if they’ve had an excellent meal, and they won’t mind paying extra.
  • Marketing. Specialty coffee on the menu can be used as a marketing technique. You can organize tasting events or coffee brewing classes for beginners. Besides bringing people to your venue, you can also offer gift baskets of coffee and desserts or subscription boxes. This will be an excellent revenue stream for your restaurant.

Tea and Food Pairings

Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world. Thus, it’s a common beverage to enjoy while eating.

Breakfast Food and Tea Combinations

There are multiple pairing options for tea and breakfast food. One of the most popular ones is English tea with scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. Earl Grey tea combines excellently with pastries such as croissants. As a healthier option, you can pair green tea with avocado toast and poached eggs.

It can be beneficial for a restaurant to have a breakfast or brunch menu that includes various options for food and tea pairings. Don’t forget that some people prefer their cold beverages too. Iced matcha tea or iced caramel Frappuccino might be excellent options.

Tea Pairings with Main Courses

Allow us to share a few ideas for tea pairings with main dishes. 

  • Earl Grey tea with roasted meat;
  • Chamomile tea with creamy pasta;
  • Indian food with Chai tea;
  • Jasmine tea and Thai food;
  • Chinese food with Darjeeling tea.

These are just a few examples. In the food and beverage industry, everything depends on the taste of your customers and their moods. 

Tea Pairings with Desserts

Tea and coffee are popular options for dessert pairings. The taste of the dessert can be enhanced by the notes of the tea. Here are a few ideas for tea and dessert options to add to the menu.

  1. Chocolate desserts and rooibos tea. The sweetness of the chocolate dessert combines excellently with the mildly sweet and light Rooibos tea;
  2. Fruity desserts and Jasmine tea. Berry tarts or cheesecakes can be complemented by a cup of fresh Jasmine tea;
  3. Spicy desserts and Chai tea. Desserts with ginger or cinnamon as the main ingredients leave a spicy taste and go well with the warm flavor of Masala chai tea. 

Why Offer Tea Pairings in a Restaurant

The main reason is that this can increase the average order value. Tea is a light beverage that can be combined with a variety of foods. Additionally, many tea lovers would choose a place to dine based on the teas they serve.

Another reason why restaurants should offer tea pairings is the fact that the combination of tea and food makes for a great picture. This can bring a lot of brand awareness on social media. People would be eager to share their tea experience with their friends and the world. Especially if it's served interestingly and the plating of the food is Instagram-worthy. 

Coffee Brewing and Barista Training

Having a highly-skilled barista in your restaurant can increase the value of the service. These professionals know how to make excellent coffee and are also skilled in latte art. With the advance of social media, this has become increasingly important.

What Does a Barista Training Course Include?

  • Espresso basics. A professional barista should know their way around an espresso machine. Additionally, barista training includes information about espresso blends, different brewing techniques, and types of coffee beans. 
  • Dosing and grinding. Many levels of coffee grinds are used depending on the coffee beans, their roast level, and the brewing method used.
  • Milk and coffee. Wide varieties of coffee and milk drinks exist. And a professional barista must know how to do them to perfection.
  • Latte art and designer coffees. Baristas learn how to make patterns and designs on the top of the foam of lattes and cappuccinos. This is very important as clients expect their drink to be aesthetically pleasing. A barista skilled in latte art can be one of your restaurant marketing strategies.
  • Customer experience. Recommending different drinks, offering food pairings, and taking orders is part of a barista’s job.
  • Menu management. A barista can be put in charge of the hot beverage menu. 

Specialty Coffee Barista Training

Specialty coffee is becoming a hot trend. These luxurious coffee beans need a specially trained barista to brew them to perfection. The Specialty Coffee Association organizes training for specialty coffee baristas. They undergo courses that help them brew the coffee to keep all flavors and notes. Additionally, these courses include training in coffee selection. 

Coffee Brewing Courses to Help a Restaurant

Keeping your restaurant staff up to date with the latest trends is important. Therefore, your bartenders, waiters, chefs, and baristas need to attend courses regularly. Another way for restaurants to profit from coffee brewing courses is to organize such training for beginners. These fun activities can be excellent for team building, gifts for coffee enthusiasts, and people who wish to expand their knowledge. At these courses, a venue can upsell the attendees with packages of coffee beans or coffee brewing equipment.

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Espresso Drinks in Restaurants

Italian espresso has always been one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. Recently, a variety of espresso drinks have become more popular. Let’s examine some of them.

What Are the Most Popular Espresso Drinks?

  • Espresso shot. A concentrated form of coffee. Usually, it’s between 1-2 oz (30-60 ml). Served in a small cup. Its flavor and texture are strong.
  • Caffè Americano. This is an espresso shot diluted with water. Its name comes from its popularity in the US. Americano has similar strength but a smoother flavor.
  • Cappuccino. This drink consists of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk in a 1:1:1 ratio. The creamy texture and milky flavor make it a hit among coffee drinkers.
  • Latte. It’s very similar to cappuccino. However, the main difference is that the ratio of espresso and steamed milk is 1:3. 
  • Macchiato. It’s much smaller in size compared to a latte or cappuccino. Macchiato also consists of an espresso shot and milk foam on top. However, it’s around two ounces and has a bolder coffee flavor.

Types of Coffee Roasts

Coffee roasting is an essential part of the coffee brewing process. It’s what turns green coffee beans into brown and aromatic ones.

  • Light coffee roasts. Brown in color, they keep most of the original characteristics of the coffee. This makes them a preferred option for a lot of specialty coffees. The light roast means notes from the region of origin, soil, and climate are kept.
  • Medium coffee roasts. They have a medium brown color and still keep the original characteristics of the beans. With medium roasts, some of the acidity gives way to the roast notes. Most of the specialty coffees are medium roasted.
  • Medium-dark and dark roasts. Higher degrees and longer roast time mean the characteristics of the coffee are fading away, but the bitterness and roast taste start to show. The darkest roasts have the least acidity and full-body burned taste. 

Coffee Selection for a Restaurant

The beverage menu of a restaurant should include a variety of tea and coffee options. Usually, the restaurant manager will consult with a bartender or a barista on the choice of drinks. Cold drinks such as iced Frappuccino can be part of the main menu and not only the seasonal one. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the coffee menu. Offer different types of drinks every few months to see which ones perform the best. Of course, keep the best performing permanently.

Cold Brew Coffee in Restaurants

Steeping ground coffee in cold water or through the ice for a couple of hours is how you make cold brew coffee. The process is much longer than brewing espresso or other drip coffee. It takes between 12 and 24 hours for cold brew coffee to be ready for consumption.

A big difference between cold brew and espresso or other coffee types is that cold brew is much less acidic. This makes it a preferred choice for people suffering from acid reflux. Cold brew is smoother than most other types. Additionally, it can be stored in a refrigerator and many people who enjoy this type of coffee prepare it in larger quantities.

Why Offer Cold Brew Coffee in a Restaurant?

There are many reasons why you might consider offering cold brew coffee in your establishment. Let’s check some of them:

  • It’s a great upselling opportunity. Especially on hot summer days. People who want to enjoy a caffeine boost might prefer an iced cold brew coffee or an iced matcha tea instead of a traditional hot drink. Furthermore, since the cold brewing process is longer, the price of this coffee can be higher. 
  • Additional beverage options on the coffee menu. The fact that cold brew coffee steeps for a long time is a reason for many restaurants not offering it. However, you can differentiate your menu by adding it. Also, consider offering pairings with food for a brunch or breakfast menu.
  • A great alternative to hot coffee. When the temperature outside is high, few people will opt for a hot coffee. Instead, an iced espresso drink or an iced cold brew might be the most preferred drink.

Popular Cold Brew Types

  • Nitro coffee. Created by infusing nitrogen gas through cold brew coffee, this smooth drink has become one of the biggest coffee trends. It has a rich and creamy texture.
  • Flavored cold brew. This brewing technique is ideal for people who take their coffee with flavors. Some of the popular ingredients are cinnamon, caramel, coconut, vanilla, and chocolate. They can be added as syrup or during the steeping process. 
  • Sparkling coffee. It is an ideal option for people who enjoy carbonated beverages. 
  • Cold brew cocktails. A variety of coffee cocktails exist. And cold brew is a great option for mixing into a cocktail. Probably the most popular one is cold brew bourbon.
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Cold Brew Subscription Box

Cold Brew Subscription Boxes in Restaurants

Nowadays, venues are actively looking for ways to increase their profits and discover new growth opportunities. Some organize events such as quiz trivia nights, other venues might have wine-tasting events. Selling cold brew subscription boxes can be a great way for a restaurant to achieve better brand popularity and offer a solution to customers. These subscription boxes can be in different sizes and customized with different flavors.

How to Start a Cold Brew Subscription Box Business

This business idea is not only for restaurants. Anyone can start a subscription business with a fairly small investment. If you’re a coffee enthusiast, why not become a coffee entrepreneur too? Here are the main steps to do so:

  • Create a SWOT analysis and a business plan. This will be the roadmap for your business. Components such as marketing, financial estimates, goals, and competition will make the business plan complete.
  • Find good wholesale coffee vendors. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, finding the right wholesalers is very important for a coffee distribution business.
  • Marketing is the key! Nowadays, the attention span of people is much shorter than it used to be. That is why you need creative marketing ideas to promote your business. Video content is becoming easier to produce and is currently the most popular one. Also, partnerships with food influencers or gamers can be beneficial.

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