Coffee and tea in pubs: perc up your profits

By PubChef

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hot chocolate Tea Coffee Chocolate

Tea: growing market
Tea: growing market
This month PubChef looks at ideas for flavoured coffees, driving tea sales and new hot bevs products. Adding flavour to hot drinks Ian Boughton...

This month PubChef looks at ideas for flavoured coffees, driving tea sales and new hot bevs products.

Adding flavour to hot drinks

Ian Boughton looks at ideas for adding some flavour to your hot beverages offer

Winter is the time for flavours and licensees can add a premium to their hot drinks offer by offering a menu of flavoured syrups with their offer.

Flavoured syrup was a French tradition long before espresso was invented; today it is the aggressive competition between British coffee chains which has challenged the Monin laboratory in Bourges, and its distributor Bennett Opie of Sittingbourne, to come up with the latest profitable menu items. Stephane Moesle is Monin's director of beverage innovation, and insists that the easiest winter menu item is still the flavoured caffe latte — if there is an espresso machine in the bar, this is quick, and profitable.

In the past few years, the winter latte business has been driven on the high street by Starbucks' gingerbread latte, which in that chain's own inimitable style, it once described as a 'traditional Christmas drink'.

The winter latte can be a nut flavour, or even a biscuit or pie flavour, says Monin's Mosele. Nut flavours, particularly almond or chestnut, are always fairly fail-safe with coffee, but it is a new biscuit or pastry theme that has cropped up in Monin's latest flavours.

Taking the biscuit

An apple pie syrup has arrived, so has a speculoo flavour (that's the little caramelised biscuit usually served with an espresso), and there is a shortbread on the way.

Moesle says: "Costa Coffee had a wonderful success last year with Monin crème brulée syrup latte — you can garnish it with brown sugar to replicate the crisp topping. Costa Middle East have decided to run with an apple pie latte. You garnish that with cinnamon."

The flavoured latte method is simple and quick — 30ml of the syrup first, then the steamed milk, then the espresso.

Profitable chocolate

Although drinking chocolate seems an obvious menu item, the really profitable version is flavoured chocolate. Most hot chocolates are made from a powder, whipped into a paste with a drop of hot water, then developed in a latte glass with steamed milk. Monin is one of several companies to say that chocolate syrup instead of powder is easier to work with and gives a smoother, more 'gourmet' result.

"The advantage of making hot chocolate with sauce is that you keep your milk white, for layers," says Moesle. "You can also use white chocolate sauce for a different result. But get the wrong chocolate powder and you can end up with black milk.

"Flavoured drinking chocolate is more and more popular. Flavour it with our cherry syrup, or chestnut, triple sec, frosted mint, or tangerine… orange flavours and chocolate always work well, but the problem with some citrus flavourings is they can curdle if you're not careful with the milk.

Our triple-sec syrup does not, so it's chocolate sauce first, then the espresso, then the milk flavoured with triple-sec, and steamed together.

What's new in hot beverages?

Chocolate heaven

United Coffee has added Grand Chocolat to its range. The drink has been developed by French specialist chocolatiers using Fairtrade beans from cocoa plantations in the Dominican Republic and Panama.

United Coffee managing director Elaine Higginson says: "As with speciality coffee, a good hot chocolate is difficult to replicate in the home, so caterers have an opportunity to capitalise on the 'indulgence' associated with hot chocolate out of home and could increase hot beverage sales by as much as 15% in the winter months."

Each 18g hot-chocolate sachet should be added to 25ml of hot water and 200ml of steamed whole milk. Add marshmallows, whipped cream and flavoured syrups to bump up the price and add luxury for customers.

For more information visit​.

Eco coffee

An eco-friendly coffee, certified by the Rainforest Alliance, has been launched by Country Range Group.

The roast and ground filter coffees are "sweet but well-balanced with toasted almond notes".

Fifty sachets of 60g each are packed in foil pouches to preserve freshness.

Each sachet makes three pints, or 10 cups, of coffee and 50 filters are also provided.

For more information on the product visit​.

Spice up your cocoa

Cream Supplies has introduced Mocafé Azteca D'Oro, a spiced hot chocolate powder, which can be served hot or cold.

Based on an authentic Aztec recipe, the carefully selected ingredients include premium African Forestero cocoa, Sri Lankan cinnamon, natural almond essence and real vanilla.

It can be used to make mochas and gourmet hot chocolate or served iced.

It is available in 1.36kg canisters for £9.35. Each canister is sufficient for around 35 x 250ml drinks. Simply blend with hot or cold milk.

Speculoos, inspired by the traditional shortbread biscuits by Routin, is the latest flavour in Cream Supplies' syrups portfolio. It's a mix of caramel and warm spices.

It can also be used for finishing drinks and desserts.

Time for tea

Many licensees have introduced and improved their coffee offer in recent years, but the tea category seems to have been left behind, with pubs taking just a 2% share of the out-of-home market. Tea offers great profit margins for pubs. A cup of tea costs the caterer just 2p, which sold at £1.65 per cup gives a profit of £1.63. A licensee could increase annual profit by £9,125 by selling 50 cups of tea a day.

Eight steps for a successful tea service

Nick Buston, a leading tea expert working with Unilever Foodsolutions, owner of PG Tips and Lipton, gives his tips for boosting afternoon tea trade in pubs:

• Use an envelope — it will stay fresh, taste as it should and cross contamination with other tea bags cannot occur.

• Use fresh boiled water — this means the water will be full of oxygen and will enhance the taste of the tea. Water stored and kept warm in tanks will not make such a good cup. Remember, it has got to be hot. That is especially important for tea infusions.

• Have a good range — you need an English Breakfast tea in a brand that people trust. Have one luxurious blend, such as a Darjeeling, and an Earl Grey.

• Make a tea menu — this will make sure that people know the teas are there to try. Create a comprehensive menu with recommendations and facts about tea.

• Serve it well — Bring over individual pots that hold one and a half to two cups. people will feel as though it is better value. When serving a single mug of tea, do not add the tea bag to the water, but leave it on the side.

• Cater to brewing preference — if serving a pot with the tea bag already in, dangle the tag outside so people can check which blend it is, and easily remove the bag. Always say how long the bag has been in for, so that the customer can accurately brew it to their preference.

• Time of day — casual seating in today's pubs means that tea is perfect at any time of day. It can be drunk socially, as a pick-me-up or just to relax. Try upselling tea after dinner instead of coffee to achieve a higher GP.

• Make sure it is served well — people will not return if they are disappointed. If they are impressed, they will tell their friends.

Tea and cake matching

Graham Hornigold, head chef patissier at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, offers ideas on tea and cake matching

• English Breakfast tea — with plain or sultana scones.

• Earl Grey — serve with apple and blackberry choux pastries.

• Lemon tea — serve with a lemon and poppyseed cake.

Hot ideas to boost footfall

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