At a time of year when consumers expect cinnamon, nutmeg and peppermint to flavor limited-time adult coffee drinks, we see an interesting trend emerging in recent menu additions at leading restaurant chains and independent eateries. Fruit flavors—which are growing in popularity in all sorts of adult beverages as well as grown-up non-alcohol beverages—are making their way to hot coffee drinks.
Here are some recent new entries to cocktail menus captured by MenuMonitor, our online database of thousands of U.S. and international menus:
- The Twist—Coffee with Tuaca (a vanilla-citrus liqueur) and dark crème de cacao (Bristol Seafood Grill)
- Bananas Foster Coffee—with Bacardi Coco, crème de banana and whipped cream (Café Tu Tu Tango)
- Ultimate Coffee—Van Gogh Cherry Vodka, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, whipped cream and cherry brandy (Café Tu Tu Tango)
- Nuts & Berry Coffee—a blend of Frangelico and Chambord liqueurs (Firebirds Wood Fired Grill)
- Chocolate Covered Raspberry—Chambord raspberry liqueur, Kahlua, Baileys Irish Cream and freshly brewed espresso (The Palm Restaurant)
Interestingly, the same theme does not seem to be emerging within non-alcohol specialty coffee beverages. Gloria Jean’s added Raspberry Latte to the menu, but no other new coffee drinks—hot or frozen—features fruit flavors.
Other Coffee-drink Findings
Fruit flavors may be a trend in adult coffees, but they are nowhere near the most popular. The top five ingredients, besides coffee, mentioned in the menu descriptions of coffee drinks are, in order: whipped cream, brandy, whiskey, chocolate and cream. The leading spirits are brandy, whiskey, rum, vodka and amaretto.
Adult coffee beverages overall have increased in number on the menus of the top 500 chains, emerging concepts and leading independents. In the third quarter of 2012, there were 217 adult coffees on offer, up 3 percent from the same period in 2012. However, the number of adult beverages overall has increased by 12 percent in that period, so the rate of coffee-drink growth has not kept pace.
Coffee also is found in other alcohol drinks, in simple brewed or espresso forms as well as coffee liqueurs in shooters, martinis and other cocktails. It also turns up as an ingredient in some craft stouts, and as a descriptor of big red wines.
Note: The data presented in this post was gathered from Technomic’s MenuMonitor service.