Sip. Savor. Save $3 on Cases of Oregon Chai

Last week, we shared Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte on ice with our friends on Twitter and Facebook. Today, we’re sharing $3 off per case with you!

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it’s a great time to pick up a case of spiced chai tea latte. Although chai tea’s exotic spices are traditionally from the Eurasian countries of India, Malaysia, Java, Bengal and Cambodia, beverages from Mexico and other Latin American locales share similar flavor profiles. The spice notes can add a pick-me-up to your specialty beverage menu.Oregon Chai logo Guy (2)

The Spiced Chai Tea Latte flavor from Oregon Chai features more authentic chai spice for deeper chai flavor, but it maintains the same amount of caffeine as the original chai latte concentrate: approximately 30–35 mg of caffeine per servings (same as a lightly brewed cup of black tea). Plus, most Oregon Chai concentrates are over 90% organic and carry the USDA Organic seal.

As you plan your Cinco de Mayo menu, think about a simple “Cha Cha Chai” drink special to serve up iced or hot. Just add 3/4 an ounce of your favorite cinnamon syrup to 6 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte. Stir well and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Or, if your location has a bar, you can try a Spicy Chai Martini. Just mix 2 ounces of vanilla vodka with 1.5 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte and a pump of your favorite cinnamon syrup over ice in a shaker. Give it a few shakes and pour into a cold martini glass.

Any time of the day or night, you can spice up your espresso by adding 6 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte to a freshly pulled shot. Add a bit of steamed milk to this Dirty Chai, as this popular drink is now called, for a frothy dirty chai latte experience. We, of course, prefer espresso from Stockton Graham Coffees: the single origin espressos include Seda Dulce and Papua New Guinea and the espresso blends include our ever-popular Midnight Lotus Blend and our San Remo Blend. All coffees are roasted at Stockton Graham & Co. headquarters in Raleigh, NC.

Chai’s Big Flavor is Trending

Chai — traditionally made by mixing black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean, nutmeg and honey over milk — is one of this year’s biggest flavor trends. In fact, it was one of the featured flavors at the 40th Anniversary of the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. And that wasn’t just in the international section, but all throughout the Moscone Center.

The tea latte category has been quietly growing for quite a while, with chai lattes as the leader. The basic concept of a tea latte is very simple. Instead of espresso, use a concentrated tea mixed with milk. Tea lattes can be made hot, iced or frozen. All forms offer the same health benefits as traditionally brewed tea and are great alternatives to coffee.

Nirvana in a Cup from Oregon Chai

If you don’t know the history of Oregon Chai, pick up a copy of Nirvana in a Cup: The Founding of Oregon Chai by Tedde McMillen. It’s a fabulous story of true-life mother-daughter journey that transformed the ancient tea from a traditional Himalayan cultural and health secret to a multi-million dollar Oregon Chai company.

Nirvana in a cup starts off with the arresting, literally, line “Mom, call the embassy! I’ve been arrested!” The plea from Ms. McMillian’s 20-year-old daughter, Heather, from Zambia at 3am in the morning on Christmas Eve turned out to be a journey of a lifetime for the mom-and-daughter duo.

Although the company has grown over 400% since distributing its launch press release on Halloween day in 1994, the crave-worthy drink is still a favorite among baristas, mixologists and chefs. That’s why Oregon Chai is one of the biggest chai brewers in the U.S. The company, which is still located in Portland, is now owned by Kerry Group Plc.

Order your Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte and get $3 off a case of 32oz boxes. Offer ends 5/1/2015. Just call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 to order.

“Blend This!” Event Recap – Frozen Drink Sales Growing Fast!

Blend This!In June, Kerry Foods and Stockton Graham & Co. co-hosted two “Blend This!” seminars in Charlotte, NC and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC. The events featured Jill Zimmerman, Kerry Foods Southeast Regional Food and Beverage Manager and Thom Swain, Stockton Graham & Co. Southeast Business Development Associate. Both Thom and Jill provided attendees with updates and detailed market data on one of the fastest growing food and beverage segments in the US with personal experience, industry statistics and samples.

What started as summertime treat, blended ice coffee and other frozen drinks are now among the fastest growing segments in the specialty beverage industry with estimated 2012 US sales of over $4 billion. This number is continuing to grow each year, with smoothie sales alone estimated to grow worldwide to over $9 billion in 2015.

During the events, Thom and Jill reviewed the current trends in these categories, ideas on how to capitalize on them, and the profitability of frozen drinks.

Beverage Trends
One consumer trend that has emerged in the hectic schedules of American daily life is the idea of eating several small meals throughout the day, with 38% of consumers claiming to do this. Also, 46% of women and 36% of men say they eat healthy most of the time, but indulge in a daily “guilty pleasure.”

In our industry, frappe sales are bigger than ever and growing at 25% over last year with a strong focus on indulgent frozen or ice blended options, especially in coffee shops, donut shops and even traditional food service restaurants. The frozen drink trend has gone mainstream with 20% increase seen in smoothies on Quick Service Restaurant menus from 2009 through 2012.

In terms of our own customer base, throughout this year frozen and ice blended coffee sales are equal to or greater than the number of specialty coffee prepared drinks utilizing the espresso machine.

How to Capitalize on these Trends
There are many ways that you can take advantage of this sales trends to drive additional gross profits for your store. The first step is to benchmark your store. Do you offer a selection of blended ice drinks, including coffee, creams and fruit options? Do you have the proper ingredients, equipment and serving options for them? You don’t need an extensive menu, but you should offer multiple choices to customers. Finally, you need to decide how these menu items will complement your mainline espresso and coffee offerings.

In reviewing the menu trends, consumers are looking for that reward treat, or “guilty pleasure.” While the basic ice blend café mocha is a mainstay, incorporating some different options such as cookies and cream, caramel swirl and blueberry-pomegranate will tempt customers to indulge themselves at your store. To keep the menu fresh and appealing, we learned that market surveys indicate that 41% of consumers like to try new beverages, so offering LTO’s (limited time offerings) that rotate regularly, as well as the opportunity to try new flavors will help build repeat visits as well as sales. Seasonal or holiday-themed food and drinks also help to create a sense of urgency with a “get it while it’s here” immediacy.

As a specialty coffee shop, you and your staff can also express creativity that appeals to the consumers’ sense of flavor adventure and thirst for innovation by offering unique combinations, customizations and garnishes all served with expertise and awesome service. This will help you  stay on top of new trends and flavor options each season.

To further capitalize on the profitability of frozen blended drinks, utilize your staff’s knowledge, customer input and national trends to create unique signature drinks for your store. Work with your ingredient distributor and manufacturers to get tips on how to market and promote them in your store using a variety of tactics from vendor-provided POS to sampling programs for new LTO introductions.

How Profitable are Frozen Drinks?
Like their espresso-based counterparts, frozen drinks have sales prices that range from $3.00 per drink (smaller sizes) to over $5.00 per drink for the more indulgent, elaborate and larger sizes. The cost of goods on these drinks typically should average 25% of their sales price, thus generating gross profit of $2.25 to $3.75 per drink. With even 30 sales a day that represents an additional gross profit contribution to your store’s profits of $90 per day, or $2700 per month!

Ice blended coffee and blended drinks may not fit every specialty coffee bar or program, but they are an important and growing part of many a retailers’ operation whose sales are growing rapidly each year. This segment has been a mainstay for many of the larger chains such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and it has recently attracted restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and others.

Stockton Graham & Co. associates can help you review your offerings, incorporate new drinks onto your menu and blend specialty coffee knowledge with successful business practices. Contact us today at 800.835.5943 or send email to inforequest@stocktongraham.com.