7 Ways to Market Valentine’s Day

 

Stockton Graham Coffee Roaster Valentines Day Dilworth Coffee RoasterValentine’s Day is perhaps the biggest coffee marketing opportunity between New Year’s and Memorial Day. Economist predict Valentine’s Day spending to reach $20 billion this year, with average spending topping 2015’s high of $142 per person, according to the National Retail Federation. Here are seven easy marketing ideas that will help your store get in on Valentine’s Day revenues this year.

Try a Few Love-Themed LTOs

STOCKTON GRAHAM & CO VALENTINES LTO IDEAS From a French Kiss Latte to a Love Potion Frapp, adding just one holiday LTO can boost sales. That’s because research finds that LTOs are a constant draw. Technomics reports that nearly half of all consumers try LTOs every month, and that percentage increases with Millennials and Pos-Millennials whose wallets are activated by adventure. Click here for a few LTO ideas from the baristas at Stockton Graham & Co.

Decorate Tactfully
Flameless votive candles. Fresh flowers. Classical music. Starlight mints. It doesn’t take much to add a hint of romance to your coffee shop. Draw hearts on your chalk board. Or better yet, put a few felt tip pens near the register and ask your staff to draw simple hearts on each customer’s paper coffee cup, Kraft bag or receipt.

Add Love to Your Lattes
A heart is perhaps the easiest-to-learn design in latte art. Taking two extra seconds to craft a heart on your lattes during Valentine’s Day is the barista’s equivalent to a chef’s artful plating—it not only demonstrates that a barista cares about the drink but it also signals that your store cares about the customer’s experience. This 2-minute video from Michael, the passionate coffee lover behind Barista Next Door, will have you and your baristas slinging hearts in no time.

httpss://youtu.be/W3Qx6P7FtBc

Get the Word Out Early
Mid-January is not too early to start posting flyers and talking to customers about Valentine’s Day at your store. If you will have special LTOs, then definitely start announcing them by February 1. This will give you enough time to develop marketing momentum and word-of-mouth around your offers.

valentines day at stockton graham coffee roastersSample Your Valentines Menu
Offer 4oz samples of holiday-inspired menu items to customers who make purchases of non-holiday coffee, tea, chai or sweets. Then ask for their feedback. This will allow you to perfect the flavors on your Valentine’s Day menu and help you hone your marketing message and your recipe. It’ll also give staff and customers something exciting to look forward to!

Keep Prices in Check
Although customers view Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to splurge a bit on themselves and their loved ones, over-priced menu items are a turn off. Sure, you can probably get a 10% up-charge for holiday-themed beverages and desserts—just be sure to justify this with great taste, superb service and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Stockton Graham Fresh Beverage for Valentine's DayThink Fresh
One of the biggest food trends in 2016 will be “clean” foods, which contain simple and unprocessed nutrition. Think about adding a whole fruit strawberry smoothie to your menu; add a few heart-shaped ice cubes to a cup of milk for the kids or to a My Fuzzy Valentine (pink grapefruit or blood orange and seltzer) beverage for health-conscious adults.

 

Feel free to reach out to our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 for more information on making Valentine’s Day a success for your business.

The Fine Art of Texturizing Milk

Cappuccino Latte ArtSteamed milk enhances the sensory experience of espresso. A layer of rich, creamy milk is pleasing to the palette and allows a barista to demonstrate an elevated level of espresso sophistication. Milk texture is so important to the specialty coffee business that a micro-industry has evolved around the idea of latte art, where baristas compete nationally and internationally for the title of World Latte Art Champion. Even if a world latte art title is not your goal, mastering the art of texturizing milk can be a major differentiator for your store.

San Domingo Fair Trade Latte Art

San Domingo Fair Trade Coffee Latte Art

Our customer San Domingo Fair Trade Coffee, a full-service coffee café in St. Michaels, MD, is a great case in point. The baristas at this enchanting restaurant and coffee shop have spent extensive time perfecting the fine art of texturizing milk, which they regularly feature as latte art on their Facebook page; As result, the shop has built up a robust following.

Mastering milk texturizing not only brings in more customers, it results in a higher average ticket. In July, The Journal of Sensory Studies published a study showing that customers happily pay more — at least 11%-13% more — for a beautifully texturized latte.

Nick Brown, editor of Roast Magazine’s Daily Coffee News, hypothesized that customers place a higher value on their coffee experience if a barista knows how to texturize milk properly.

“It shows an area of skill from the barista, and I think it demonstrates that the barista cares about what they’re giving you,” editor Nick Brown said.  “Buying a really good latte at an upscale shop and enjoying it there is kind of a luxury.”

Developing Your Shop’s Latte Chops
To help all our retailers develop these in-demand skills, Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College 101 dedicates an entire afternoon to practicing the fine art of steaming milk. Taught by our Specialty Coffee Association of America-certified lead barista, Alex Jeans, participants get one-on-one time with the steam wands on our in-house Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric 3 Group Espresso Machine.

Micah and Elizabeth Behan, owners and operators of First District Coffee Co. of Fairview, TN recently enjoyed the Coffee College experience in our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting headquarters. Here’s just a bit of what they learn:

The texturing process is created when pressur­ized air is introduced to cold milk and breaks the hydrogen bonds between proteins. With these bonds broken, the natural sugar found in the milk is easier to taste, making the milk taste sweeter. This sweet taste combined with a creamy texture will help you prepare beauti­ful, delicious, sophisticated drinks that will set your shop apart from the competition.

Stockton Graham & Co. Latte EspressoThe Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA) teaches that there is only one way to texturize milk with one result: A microfoam with the texture, consistency and sheen of wet paint. The difference between a latte and a cappuccino, then, is the depth of the microfoam on top of the cup of brewed espresso.

In this case, the difference between types of espresso drinks—a cappuccino and a café au lait, for instance—is the proportion of milk foam and steamed milk to espresso. But there is no difference between the way milk is ultimately prepared.

A second approach to texturizing can be considered by shop operators. The idea that there are two types of texturized milk has been made popular by large chain coffee shops: One for latte drinks and one for cappuccino drinks.

Those who ascribe to this approach explain the difference this way:

“The distinction is that in cappuccino, the milk is “frothed… into a “microfoam” that is about twice the volume of the original milk. In latte, the milk is merely “steamed.” For latte, the goal is not to create that much foam, so any type of milk works.” The Coffee Brewers, Danbury, CT

The different “techniques” create markedly different textures. The consistency of latte style milk is creamier and cappuccino style milk is foamier. Some, but not all, of these operators also adjust the proportion of milk foam and steamed milk.

Although Stockton Graham & Co. complies with the SCAA approach to texturizing, we share the second approach with our customers so operators can decide what’s best for their store.

Creating milk with different textures requires submerging the steam wand below the surface of the milk at different times in the texturizing process. The differences are discussed below.

  • Latte Style Milk

The latte style of milk steaming is used when the texture of the drink to be created is more creamy than foamy.  When a drink that has been prepared with latte style textured milk settles, there should be a layer of foam on top that is usually less than an inch.

To create latte style milk, submerge the steam wand completely below the surface of the milk no more than 5 seconds after steaming begins. Completely remove the wand when the milk reaches 140-150F. This should take about 20 seconds.

The latte style of steaming can be used when preparing latte, mocha, café au lait, hot cocoa, or flavored milk drinks, or any drink that has a texture that is more creamy than foamy. It usually does not produce a dollop of aerated foam on the top of the drink; so it is possible that the steamed milk and coffee mix quickly and evenly, resulting in a smooth, creamy beverage.

  • Cappuccino Style Milk

The cappuccino style of milk steaming is used when the texture of the drink to be created is more foamy than creamy, or has equal parts steamed milk and foam.

To achieve more foam, introduce more air to the milk at the beginning of the texturizing process by allowing some of the holes in the tip of the steam wand to be exposed above the surface of the milk.  Leave the holes exposed for a full 10-15 seconds before submerging the tip of the wand completely.

Cappuccino style is used by commercial shops when preparing a traditional macchiato, American-style cappuccino, traditional cappuccino, or for any customer who prefers extra foam on top of their beverage. Often customers who request a “dry cappuccino” are looking for a beverage topped only with the most aerated foam, which is lifted out of the steam pitcher with a spoon. This way, there is actually less milk added to the  beverage, resulting in a less diluted espresso element.

Top six espresso drinksTo download our frame-ready Top 6 Handmade Espresso Drinks poster, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Coffee College offerings, click here or dial 800 835 5943 and talk to one of our Customer Care Associates.

 

 

 

Latte Art Throwdown @ Electric Beanz in Raleigh on Nov. 11th

Electric Beanz Coffee Bar in Raleigh, NC has announced they are hosting their second Latte Art Throwdown, a competition for local coffee shop employees. The Throwdown will be held Thurs., November 11th at 7:30 pm and is open to the public.

The event allows area café professionals to compete head-to-head to see who can create the best latte art. The patterns, typically intricate hearts and flower-like swirls called rosettas, are then judged and the winners are awarded prizes.

The competition fee is $5.00 and registration begins at 6:30 pm the day of the event. Recreational latte artists and experts are encouraged to sign-up.

Hope to see you there!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

 

Latte Art Throwdown @ Inman Perk Gainesville on Fri., Oct. 8th

Inman Perk in Gainesville, GA has announced they are hosting their first Latte Art Throwdown, a competition for coffee shop employees. The Throwdown will be held Friday, October 8th at 7:30 and is open to the public.

The event allows area café professionals to compete head-to-head to see who can create the best latte art. The patterns, typically intricate hearts and flower-like swirls called rosettas, are then judged and the winners are awarded prizes.

The competition fee is $5.00 and registration begins at 6:00 pm the day of the event. Recreational latte artists and experts are encouraged to sign-up.

RSVP on Inman Perk’s Facebook page. We hope to see you there!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Latte Art Throwdown Recap from Beyu Caffe

Thanks to Beyu Caffe owner Dorian Bolden and his staff for letting us have some fun in his shop on Wednesday night. The competition was so fierce that even Mr. Bolden decided to hop behind the bar to pour!

We also had other incredibly talented baristas show up from all over the Triangle, including Larz from Electric Beanz, James from Bean Traders on 9th and Curtis from Beyu. The competitors each poured twice and the highest combined score determined the winner.

3rd place: Michael Harwood – Caffe Driade, Chapel Hill, NC
2nd place: Lem Butler – Counter Culture Coffee, Durham, NC

…and your winner, by a single point, Simon Aceves from La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC.

Congrats to Simon and thank you to all the competitors for a great night!

Be sure to check out all the pics:

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

Latte Art Throwdown @ Beyu Caffe on Wed., Aug. 11th

Beyu Caffe in Durham, NC has announced they are hosting their first Latte Art Throwdown, a competition for coffee shop employees. The Throwdown will be held Wednesday, August 11th at 7:00 pm and is open to the public.

The event allows area café professionals to compete head-to-head to see who can create the best latte art. The patterns, typically intricate hearts and flower-like swirls called rosettas, are then judged and the winners are awarded prizes.

The competition fee is $5.00 and registration begins at 6:00 pm the day of the event. Recreational latte artists and experts are encouraged to sign-up.

RSVP on our Facebook page. We hope to see you there!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.