My worst nightmare realized: the iced cappuccino.

So, I've been working in specialty coffee since 2000. And nearly every day since my first shift behind an espresso machine, I've encountered a customer requesting an iced cappuccino.

And generally, up until now, that meant that the customer was referring to a sickly sweet vanilla flavored iced beverage they encountered at a 7/11 or QuickTrip.

 

To my horror, I have recently been having customers requesting that I steam their milk as normal for their cappuccino, and pour the shots and the steamed milk with foam over ice.

 

I haven't set foot in a Starbucks for years, so I decided to do some reconnaissance to figure out what semi-obnoxious trends they've recently set. And sure enough, they offer an iced drink topped with foam that they refer to as an iced cappuccino.

 

Someone, anyone, please tell me what is the point of this?

Early on in my career as a barista, I was taught that if you steam your milk, and then ice it, you're very likely to give yourself a bad tummy ache because the milk will release more gas in your digestive system.

Only the watery bits of the milk that are left after you stretch it to create foam will be left to mix with your espresso, leaving the foam stuck to the inside of your cup.

 

In my coffee shop, we serve a traditional 6oz cappuccino. How do I reconcile this with what these customers are asking for?

Views: 2341

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A well-made "iced cappuccino" is actually delicious. I used to tell customers that there was no such thing when I worked at Starbucks, but when I started working for Peet's a few years later, they had a legitimately good way of making it.

 

It's not a "legitimate" cappuccino. I'm not arguing that. But it is a great tasting beverage. Here's how they do it:

 

Steam your milk like you're making a real cappuccino. Thick, dense microfoam. Now spoon off 2 or 3 (depending on the size of your spoon) healthy dollops of foam into the bottom of an empty plastic cup or glass. Now pull a double espresso. While the shots are pulling, scoop ice into the cup on top of the foam - almost a full cup. Don't stop monitoring the shots!

 

As soon as the shots are done pulling, pick up your carton of cold milk, and mingle the milk and shots together as you pour them both into the cup. Shots in one hand, milk in the other. This prevents the shots from melting the ice, and the foam had cooled somewhat by the time you added the ice. The foam floats to the top through the ice as you add the liquids, and makes for a very creamy iced beverage.

 

Again, it's not an actual cappuccino. But it sure tastes good.

Simple:

Just let them know that is not policy to do so and confidently offer an alternative.

Once you start talking about temperatures, and "doing the coffee justice" you lose them. They are your customer and should be treated with respect. Who cares if they get Vanilla in their drink (if we offer it I cannot imagine being upset at someone taking advantage of the offer), who cares if they don't know what the "right" thing to order is. We as a baristas are not there to look down on them for not being cool. (I don't want you to think I am acussing you in particular...but it is a common barista mistake)

Customers will say many things they don't understand, sometimes rapid fire, in order to get a drink they will enjoy. I always tell my staff that they should simply learn the customers language and translate it into "our" language at the shop...without even telling them sometimes (gasp!) I may let them order a Caramel Macchiatto, serve them a great Caramel Latte, and watch them leave without ever "educating" them. It does not matter really. As long as my staff and I can give them a great drink I am happy to have them call it what ever they want.

Offer them a great iced beverage and don;t sweat their semantics. All they want is something that tastes great.

 

For what it's worth, we offer an Iced Cappuccino, and it's actually pretty tasty. I actually straight stole the recipe from this very board, after some playing around and experimenting, and it sells like hotcakes in the summer months.

 

We prepare milk exactly as we would for a regular capp, but rather than heating to regular serving temp, we stop at around body temp (around 100F, give or take). An iced-bev cup filled to the brim with ice is given the appropriate amount of espresso, and the steamed milk is added to the cup. The extra ice cools it to a good cold-bev temperature, much of the ice remains to keep it at a cold temp, it keeps a nice head of foam on top, it is visually and taste-wise distinct from the iced latte... it is a pretty good offering, and I doubt it is anyone's worst nightmare. Also, no complaints of belly problems from anyone, at least not yet.

 

That being said, a lot of people out there still don't even know the difference between a cappuccino and a latte. Most of our customers, once trust is established and I ask a few leading questions, admit that they always thought a capp just "had more coffee."

 

To actually answer your question, you don't need to reconcile it - it's either on your menu or it's not. This is a case of killing them with customer service, I'd imagine.  

Ahh yes, spring must be coming early this year?

 

Here's the one Simon is referring too.

Here's the one from the previous summer.

 

Glad this discussion is happening again though... despite having to clean coffee off of my keyboard after the "call their mother a rhino" thing. Good background on the Peet's connection, and good thoughts on the customer-service aspect.

 

Simon Ouderkirk said:

For what it's worth, we offer an Iced Cappuccino, and it's actually pretty tasty. I actually straight stole the recipe from this very board, after some playing around and experimenting, and it sells like hotcakes in the summer months.

 

We prepare milk exactly as we would for a regular capp, but rather than heating to regular serving temp, we stop at around body temp (around 100F, give or take). An iced-bev cup filled to the brim with ice is given the appropriate amount of espresso, and the steamed milk is added to the cup. The extra ice cools it to a good cold-bev temperature, much of the ice remains to keep it at a cold temp, it keeps a nice head of foam on top, it is visually and taste-wise distinct from the iced latte... it is a pretty good offering, and I doubt it is anyone's worst nightmare. Also, no complaints of belly problems from anyone, at least not yet.

 

That being said, a lot of people out there still don't even know the difference between a cappuccino and a latte. Most of our customers, once trust is established and I ask a few leading questions, admit that they always thought a capp just "had more coffee."

 

To actually answer your question, you don't need to reconcile it - it's either on your menu or it's not. This is a case of killing them with customer service, I'd imagine.  

ha! I  second Lukes' opinion. and isnt there an entire thread on BX dedicated to how  the milk sits in the "danger zone" temp associated with putting hot milk over ice?

Aeryn! E said:
...and isnt there an entire thread on BX dedicated to how  the milk sits in the "danger zone" temp associated with putting hot milk over ice?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Brady said:

...

Here's the one from the previous summer.

 


:)
basically, what he says.  everyone has to draw their own line between 'respecting the ingredients' and 'giving them what they want' (let them eat war.)  the line is different based on each shops demigraphic, owner, and location.  guys in the pearl district of portland, OR can get away with a lot more than I can making drinks for tourists at the beach.  like the time I made a 20oz soy latte with sugar free peach and whipped cream.  sure, my soul died just a little inside but I served it up with a smile and went on with my day.

Deferio said:

Simple:

Just let them know that is not policy to do so and confidently offer an alternative.

Once you start talking about temperatures, and "doing the coffee justice" you lose them. They are your customer and should be treated with respect. Who cares if they get Vanilla in their drink (if we offer it I cannot imagine being upset at someone taking advantage of the offer), who cares if they don't know what the "right" thing to order is. We as a baristas are not there to look down on them for not being cool. (I don't want you to think I am acussing you in particular...but it is a common barista mistake)

Customers will say many things they don't understand, sometimes rapid fire, in order to get a drink they will enjoy. I always tell my staff that they should simply learn the customers language and translate it into "our" language at the shop...without even telling them sometimes (gasp!) I may let them order a Caramel Macchiatto, serve them a great Caramel Latte, and watch them leave without ever "educating" them. It does not matter really. As long as my staff and I can give them a great drink I am happy to have them call it what ever they want.

Offer them a great iced beverage and don;t sweat their semantics. All they want is something that tastes great.

 

Kudos Deferio! I love the line of action you are taking!!

Learn the customer's language. 

prepare them something great tasting.

get over ourselves.

repeat.

 

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2022   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service