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A Little Squirt
Goes a Long Way

Kate LaPoint provides us with a retailer Q &A: The first in a two-part series exploring how today’s retailers are profiting from flavored syrups. This month’s focus: Flavor trends and recipes.

Bellachino’s Espresso & Panini Café, Chico, California
Katharine Dietz, owner
Tel: (530) 892-2244
1 location, 10 employees
11 flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Stirling’s Sarsaparilla
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Stirling’s French Vanilla
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “We use syrups on waffles with fresh fruit, to flavor our whipped cream, in chai and iced tea, in muffins, over cheesecake and ice cream. We top our giant brownies with whipped cream and then drizzle syrup over the top and add sprinkles for a dramatic presentation.”
Future of flavored syrups: “I believe the future is bright for this great product because of the growing trend toward gourmet cooking at home. The wide variety of uses will generate more interest and spark creativity in all areas of food and beverage preparation.”


BJ’s Coffee, Portland, Oregon
Ken Palmer, roastmaster and owner
Tel: (503) 357-1195
Web: www.bjscoffee.com
5 retail locations, 40 employees
106 flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Da Vinci’s Spice Blend, Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Stasero’s Vanilla, Almond, Hazelnut, Chocolate Mint and Caramel
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “We use syrups for everything, from our coffee granitas and milkshakes to spiced cider, flavored whipped cream, egg nog drinks and even chai and tea. We also sell bottles to a lot of customers who bake or cook with syrups at home.”
Future of flavored syrups: “We are seeing a growing demand for sugar-free syrups, especially ones made with Splenda. As more exotic flavors become available, we believe demand will also increase.”

Dekalb Farmers Market, Decatur, Georgia
Jai Gowkarran
Tel: (404) 371-3882
1 location, 450 employees
25 flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Entner-Stuart’s Hazelnut
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Entner-Stuart’s Hazelnut and Boysenberry
Future of flavored syrups: “The future will bring endless possibilities, as long as we continue to educate the customer with point-of-purchase materials.”

Gourmet Latté, Inc., Mill Creek, Washington
Karissa Bresheare, president
Tel: (425) 359-1518
6 locations, 46 employees
44 flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Oscar’s Toasted Marshmallow and Montana Huckleberry
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Oscar’s Vanilla, Hazelnut, Almond, Irish Cream and Raspberry
Future of flavored syrups: “The market for sugar-free syrups will continue to grow. The demand will be for a broader range of high-quality, great tasting flavors. I also believe syrups will begin to be used to complement and enhance teas.”

Java du Jour, Bellevue, Washington
Marty Banel, owner
Tel: (425) 445-5282
1 location, sole operator
35+ flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Da Vinci’s Peanut Butter
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Da Vinci’s Almond, Caramel, Hazelnut, Raspberry and Vanilla
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “I started a ‘Drink of the Week’ program with special concoctions to entice people into trying new flavors. Recently, I completely re-formatted my menus and put together the most popular drinks in a unique specialty menu, which is becoming a huge success. The one sure way I have found to keep drinks consistent from order to order is to combine the multi-syrup combinations in separate bottles (excluding thick syrups or sauces) so the quantity of each flavor is exactly the same very time. I have converted the original program into the ‘Drink of the Month’, which now advertises mostly seasonal beverages.”
Future of flavored syrups: “Syrups are not just for coffee anymore! With such an astounding list of flavors from which to choose, syrups are finding their way into everything from milkshakes to desserts to barbecue sauces, which will truly enhance their popularity and versatility. Also, with the ever-increasing concerns around health and fitness, the demand for sugar-free varieties is rising, also taking into account diabetic customers.”

Mellelo Coffee Roasters, Medford, Oregon
Sal Mellelo, president
Tel: (541) 779.9884
Web: www.mellelo.com
3 locations, 29 employees
Entire Stirling line currently offered

Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Stirling’s Jamaican Rum
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Stirling’s Irish cream, French Vanilla, Crème Caramel, Rocky Mountain Hazelnut and Hawaiian Coconut
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “We make a ton of ‘Dancing Elephant Shakes’, which are basically old-fashioned milk shakes with hand-packed ice cream, espresso and flavored syrup. Some mornings, it will be near freezing and our customers are still ordering Dancing Elephant Shakes!”
Future of flavored syrups: “As coffee retailers, we must think ‘outside the box’ and make sure we are offering new experiences to our customers. I believe the future of flavored syrups will be fun, innovative and informative. The consumer will seek out quality in every aspect of the beverage he or she purchases, from the coffee itself to syrups. I also believe that loyalty between customer and retailer will increase as quality increases. With syrups, the sky is the limit on ways to use them.”

Peggy Sue’s Coffee, Columbus, Montana
Tanya Ennenga, owner
Tel: (406) 321-2090
2 locations, 10 employees
50+ flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Stirling’s Toasted Marshmallow
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Stirling’s French Vanilla, Crème Caramel, Rocky Mountain Hazelnut, Irish Cream and English Red Raspberry
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “We add syrups to our frappes so our customers have a wide selection of tastes. We also use them to create nearly 200 different daily specials.”
Future of flavored syrups: “I believe that flavored syrups will become increasingly popular. People want a large selection of flavors from which to choose, and as a retailer it will become even more important to carry the best syrup line available.”

White Mountain Gourmet Coffee, Concord, NH
Richard Clark, president/owner
Tel: (603) 228-3317
Web: www.whitemountaingourmetcoffee.com
1 location, 10 employees
10 flavors currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Fee Bros.’ Vanilla
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Fee Bros.’ Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Hazelnut and Raspberry
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “We stick with the basics.”
Future of flavored syrups: “We are seeing a decrease in the use of exotic flavors in all hot coffee-based beverages. However, there has been a substantial increase in the use of flavored syrups in iced coffee beverages. In our shop, about one out of 10 hot coffee beverages is flavored, while one out of five cold beverages calls for a flavored syrup.”

Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Co., Seattle, Washington
Neal Brown
Tel: (206) 661-9654
Web: www.zokacoffee.com
1 location, 40 employees
Entire line of Da Vinci currently offered
Hottest-selling (new or increasingly popular) flavor: Da Vinci’s Gingerbread and Toasted Almond
Best-selling (tried-and-true) flavors: Da Vinci’s Vanilla, Almond, Hazelnut, Caramel and Chocolate
Innovative uses for flavored syrups: “Syrups can be very versatile when used by a pro, but it takes getting to know your syrups. Syrups, no matter what flavor, should never overwhelm the coffee, and we try to meet the customer’s expectation for flavor and sweetness. It’s more about quality than innovation - it takes a special touch to get a simple vanilla latte just right.”
Future of flavored syrups: “Syrups offer a great way to differentiate a menu, and I think that in the future cafes will be taking a look at how they can actively use syrups to further distinguish themselves and increase customer loyalty. Teas and shakes are a growing segment, as are beverages for kids.”


Tea & Coffee - January/February, 2003
Tsubaco

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