Signature drinks at coffee shops are a well-established means to boost revenue.
Seasonal and limited-edition drinks attract a crowd and a distinctive well-crafted year-round house special encourages customers to return.
These drinks – colorful and with quality ingredients – earn better margins and lend themselves to social media promotion and window, circulars and in-store display.
This spring tea-based specialty drinks are popping up on some unlikely menus. Tim Horton’s, a Canadian-based coffee chain with 4,485 stores, including 859 in the U.S., introduced a Frozen Green Tea and a Raspberry Frozen Green Tea last week. The tea is offered in three sizes beginning at $1.49.
DAVIDsTEA is selling a 1 oz. (28 gram) pitcher pack called Just Peachy that includes sweet blackberry leaves, real peach and apple. The tea is frozen with fresh sliced peaches into an ice pop.
Teavana reports great success with its lightly carbonated teas. These are typically fruit varieties brewed as iced tea (slightly more concentrated) and carbonated to the customer’s preference. There are now several countertop carbonation dispensers such as SodaStream. Strawberry Lemonade loose leaf herbal is popular and Berry Kiwi Colada herbal.
Tea slushies generally rely on fruit with perhaps a sprig of mint but an adventurous mixologist might experiment with rhubarb in season or a fusion of strawberry and sweet basil.
Variations on Thai iced tea are popular as are bubble teas mixed with fresh juice marketed to adults.
In March Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf introduced the Tea Granita, a tea-based refresher inspired by Italian shaved-ice drinks. The Passion Fruit blends a bold Assam with the slightly tart Passion Fruit. A Pear Berry Tea Granita uses CBTL’s popular Swedish Berries infusion as a base.
The company modified a truck to promote sampling. The Yumita Truck roamed the streets of Los Angles frequenting farmer’s markets and outdoor gatherings and was the focus of a YouTube video contest.
Recipes call for these drinks call for a concentrated blend of citrus and mint sweetened with cane sugar (half cup per quart) that is heated and steeped with either green or black tea, generally four teabags (or loose leaf equivalent) per quart.
The blend is then hard frozen and shaved. Popular flavors include tea with peppermint, mint, cranberry and herbals.