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      • Quirky coffees – tasty treats or needless novelty?

      • You can’t work in the coffee industry and fail to spot some of the more unusual trends in coffee preparation and drinking. Of course, some coffee shop businesses just lease a commercial espresso machine, stock up on snacks and bites, and keep the everyday Joe happy. Others are looking for an angle, something to set their coffee shop apart from the other cafés on the high street. And that’s where the question of quirky coffees comes in.

        It may all have started with the avocado latte. A straight – and probably delicious – latte served in a cross-section of carved-out avocado. Soon after, we saw lattes served in oranges, apples and, surely most delicately and dangerously of all, a hollowed-out carrot. Brilliant for marketing and raising your social media profile, and for pushing your public liability insurance premiums sky-high, no doubt. Serving hot drinks in fruit and veg is obviously wildly impractical. Little point in using the pinpoint temperature accuracy of your premium espresso machine to create the absolutely ideal macchiato, only to see the fruit you served it in collapse and empty its brown contents onto a customer’s lap. Or their baby’s head.

        But photogenic fruit and veg, coupled with liquid latte art? Now there’s a thing. Add the alleged health benefits of certain ingredients to the known benefits of coffee, and you could almost get away with calling your new speciality a superdrink. There’s no doubt that dishing up a bright pink latte – à la beetroot latte – is a treat for InstaGram, Facebook and Twitter addicts. On those grounds alone – if you’ll pardon the pun – we think it’s worth a punt for a coffee shop looking to carve out a reputation, rather than a carrot. It’s all about balance, of course, and what matters most is making sure that every coffee on your drinks menu – from a straight espresso to a mochaccino – tastes perfect every time. For that, you need to lease a really good espresso machine (and keep it clean and maintained), source seriously tasty and ethically produced coffee, and make sure you and your baristas take pride in every step of production.

        When all that’s nailed, we say yes, get out there and add something different. Since most pubs with discerning drinkers have guest ales, and restaurants offer their dish of the day, why would you not add more unusual coffee choices for your customers?

        Our top 9 quirky coffees to research recipes for and practice concocting.

        1. Beetroot latte
        2. Turmeric latte
        3. Pumpkin spice latte
        4. Raspberry-infused espresso
        5. Lavender latte
        6. Hibiscus latte
        7. Pistachio latte
        8. Rose water latte
        9. Orange and cardamom cold-brew coffee

        P.S. Friday June 29th is National Cream Tea Day, so make sure you’re stocked up on fine teas, scones, cream and top-notch jams.