How coffee drinks continue to evolve

Having a variety of milks, personalized coffee experiences and locally sourced coffees and teas, as well as innovative breakfast cocktails, are more important than ever for the food and beverage operations of hotels.

Contributed by Jeanette Hurt

The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago serves customers 26 different types of milk, with everything from goat milk and lactose-free milk to eight different types of almond milk to pea milk and cashew milk on request, said Matt O’Malley, regional director of purchasing.

“From a milk menu, milk options are endless these days, and having a variety of milk is non-negotiable,” said Callum Kennedy, group general manager, QT Hotels & Resorts in Australia. “The ever-growing milk menu is something we stay well versed in. People are religious about their morning coffee ritual and very loyal to their bean, brand and milk of choice.”

Well-present coffee with breakfast at QT Hotels in Australia

“We are seeing a lot of nut milk, yes, and oat milk,” said Liezl Odendaal, executive chef, Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection. “It does not mean that nut milk is healthy or a better alternative as sometimes the preservatives added to them make them more unnatural and unhealthier than natural dairy.”

However, if a guest prefers it, hotels need to take note of it. “After one sitting, staff should know how guests have their coffee for the next morning,” said Adrian Broadhead, global food and beverage director for Aqua Expeditions. “Attention to detail and genuine care is the backbone of great service.”

“People really want their coffee like their want their coffee,” said Will Marquardt, managing director of food & beverage for the Palisociety Dining Group. “It’s one of those familiar things that they want to see when they wake up in the morning. We see repeat guests venture out and try new things, but coffee seems to be one of those comfort items you want it how you’re used to it, and we like providing what people want.”

Quality and local are two considerations guests consider. “We foster a relationship with local coffee roasters,” Kennedy said. “‘Cult coffee’ offerings are important. We use local, high-quality producers, and we name these suppliers and producers on the menu. Consumers are well educated. They expect quality produce and products in our environment, and like their preferred coffee roaster, they are familiar with who these are.”

These locally roasted coffees are popularly served in different methods. “We’re seeing growth in poor over coffee,” Kennedy said. “The rise of drip, filter and cold brew are all earning spots on our menus.”

“Our quality of coffee in Costa Rica is extremely good,” Odendaal said. “We also work with a coffee farmer who grows a variety. Our coffee offering is based on the variety, origin of Costa Rica and a specific farm of origin and the process, which is based on washed, honey or natural fermentation.”

Educating customers on these methods of fermentation and the preparation techniques, Odendaal said, is important. “We encourage our guests to experience the different techniques in making coffee where the appreciation for a specific element in taste is only tasted when it is black, with no added milk or nondairy products.”

“Coffee will remain one of the most important ways to measure an F&B operation,” said Gustavo Borja, corporate head of food and beverage for Inkaterra Hotels in Peru. “The growing interest in where the coffee has been produced and how many types of coffee we offer is making way for innovation.”

Infusing different local ingredients is also trending, Borja said. “There’s a growing demand for local infusions,” he said. “The taste is not more important than the source, in this case, as long as it’s fresh, natural and even better, organic. For example, adding wildflowers in our infusions has been very popular.”

Cocorico, spiked house coffee served at Palisociety’s Simonette restaurant in Culver City, California

Local is also important when it comes to tea and tea experiences. “Inkaterra owns a tea plantation in the hills of Machu Picchu at Inkaterra Maccha Picchu Pueblo Hotel,” Borja said. “The tea leaves are hand-picked and processed. Our guests are fascinated with the fact that they can join in daily excursions to visit the plantation and process their own tea.”

Coffee cocktails are quite popular with guests, Marquardt added. “We have flavored coffees, Irish coffees and takes that are really fun,” he said. “One of our most popular is our cereal milk lattes. We have a really fun one called Cocorico, which is named after the French word for what a rooster says.”

The Cocorico is made with milk that has been infused with breakfast cereal, vodka, and coffee liqueur. “It’s delicious and fun, and just about everyone gets a kick out of it and is giddy about it. It’s fun to see our guests enjoy it. It’s an extravagant feeling thing,” Marquardt said.

Other breakfast cocktails like mimosas and bellinis are also popular, and while some hotels serve flavored mimosas, the traditional mimosa remains the most popular. “It’s a classic for a reason,” Marquardt said. “Bottomless mimosas and carafes of mimosas have taken off.”

There’s such a huge variety of specialty coffee and tea products that it’s important to consider staffing and use technology where appropriate, said Haim Spiegel, director of F&B with Dan Hotels, Tel Aviv, Israel. “Some of the hotels use quality, automatic coffee machines that provide quick and high standard coffee without the need for a barista,” Spiegel said.