Defining & Understanding Your Target Demographics

When considering opening a bubble tea shop, it is important to first consider who your key demographic is and build a customer profile based on your findings. Once you understand your customer base you will build a better knowledge of their flavor preferences and core values. In this blog, iBEV will discuss what we have learned from our years in the boba tea business and share it with you so you can better target customers and build a successful boba tea shop.

Customer Flavor Preferences

When considering your customers’ palette it is best to split them into three categories: the tea newbie, the tea moderate, and the tea enthusiast.

Tea Newbie: When we say a tea newbie, we mean a segment of customers who have had little previous exposure to bubble tea. If your customers consist mainly of these tea newbies we find they tend to prefer a highly sweet and fruity menu. Menu items best suited for tea newbies include slushies and fruit popping boba.

Tea Moderate: This group of customers have had some exposure to boba tea previously. The tea moderate tends to prefer a sweet tea experience. Menu items suited for tea moderates include fruity green tea and fruit jellies.

Tea Enthusiast: A tea enthusiast is a class of customers who have had extensive exposure to bubble tea. This group of customer prefers a bolder tea flavor with minimal sweetness. These customers seek out a quality tea experiences. Menu items best suited for the tea enthusiast include milk tea with a strongly brewed tea base, light sweetener, and tapioca pearls.


Customer Values


Once you have an idea of what your core customer type is, it is important to consider what their core values are and ensure they align with the core values of your business and its offerings. Below are some of the customer core values that have been expanding in the bubble tea business.

Eco-Friendly Options: Customers have become increasingly aware of their impact on the environment. Due to this many boba tea customers who share this value are being drawn to shops who offer eco-friendly options over single use plastics. If your customers value being sustainable, you should likely consider adding a customized reusable cup and straws to your merchandise offerings. In addition, many stores have began carrying bamboo fiber straws in replacement of typical plastic straws despite the products higher price. The reasoning for this added investment is broaden your customer reach.

Vegan Options: Many customers have began adopting a vegan diet for environment, health, social, and personal reasons. However, just because this segment of customers cannot consume traditional dairy products does not mean they should be excluded from the milk tea experience. For these reasons it is import to have vegan milk options, like the Vegan Italian Koita Milk iBEV offers to our customers. Lucky for you many classic tea toppings, like tapioca and agar, already offer your customers a vegan topping option.


We hope this helped to shed a light on how to build a customer profile when starting your boba tea business plan. Understanding who you plan to sell to helps in the next stages of your business plan such as building your concept, finding the right location, making a menu, and developing a system which we will go over in our next blog postings.

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How Cafes Can Survive Lockdown

How Cafes Can Survive Lockdown

The last few weeks have thrown the world for a loop and thousands upon thousands of small businesses are struggling because of it. In the United States, quarantine orders are keeping cafes from operating at normal capacity if they can at all. Restrictions against gathering mean that curbside pick-up, delivery, drive-thru, or takeout are the only options available.

We’ve compiled a list of means your business can use to navigate this troubling time.


Chances are, you’re familiar with DoorDash and UBER Eats. These delivery services allow restaurants to mobilize, sending delivery orders to hungry patrons using an app on their phone. However, fees can be steep depending on the user’s location in relation to your storefront.


If these platforms don’t make sense for your business, consider mobilizing your baristas to deliver themselves. This will require a few hoops to jump through. First, your customers need to know that you’re offering delivery. This can be advertised on your social media channels, website, or through signs in your storefront window.

Secondly, they’ll need a way to place orders and pay. The easiest way to take orders will be over the phone. However, this requires that the customer either pay with cash at the time of delivery, or that you have some type of mobile payment processor (such as Square) that allows your delivery drivers to process card payments on the move.

If you have the benefit of having a website up (or are savvy enough to build one), consider adding a store section with your most popular food & drink items. Customers can essentially purchase the item online during business hours, then your team makes it and delivers it.



Single-Customer Serving

Depending on where you’re located, you may able to allow limited amounts of patrons into your coffee shop at one time. In this case, you can setup a system to bring in one customer at a time to place their order as usual. When they get their items and leave, the next patron may enter. If you take this route, we recommend also using curbside pickup, so that you may keep your at-risk customers well away from the other patrons.


Curbside pickup might be a great alternative for your business and is easy to adapt to. In this scenario, customers still drive to your café and park outside. They phone in their order, and your staff walks out to hand them their drink through their car window and collect payment. If they need to pay with credit card, you can simply run inside, ring up the order, and bring their card back with a receipt.


If your business has a drive-thru, you’re in a better spot to weather this storm than most. Take advantage of this avenue by being a “drive-thru only” business for the time being.


No matter what measures you choose to enact to stay in business, you need to reach your customer’s and let them know that you’re still operating. Customers who think you’re closed won’t bother seek you out. Be louder on social media, this is a great free way to be seen. Make sure your posts revolve around still being open, your operating hours, and how people can order their favorite drinks. If you have a website and an emailing list, be sure to be sending regular emails about your status. If you have a prominent storefront, don’t forget to display some type of signage that lets passersby know you’re open.


Whether your customers are working from home, still going into their place of work, or experienced a layoff, they still want their morning coffee.

People who are used to enjoying expertly crafted blended drinks, chai or any other specialty drink your shop makes are now left making cheap drip coffee at home. Consumers are looking for comfort items right now. They want to have as much of their daily routine as they can, and providing them with their favorite morning jolt is a great way to establish your business as an essential part of their routine.

Stay Calm

Regardless of the methods you choose to operate your business during this time, keep calm and understand that this will pass. During this period, do whatever you can to keep your business running while keeping your employees and customers safe.

Soon, it will all be back to business as usual.

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2020 Coffee Industry Analysis

2020 Coffee Industry Analysis

2019 was another booming year in the coffee industry. This behemoth of an industry, that consists of roughly 1.5% of the US gross domestic product, is showing no signs of stopping as it hurls past the $150B annual threshold. The coffee industry is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of roughly 5% over the next 5 years.

While demand for coffee is consistent, the demands of the consumers regarding taste, style, and presentation are ever evolving. Let’s take a look at some of the industry trends we saw in 2019 and those we expect to gain momentum in 2020.


 The younger generations are becoming more and more concerned with ethical sourcing of products and the environmental sustainability of organizations. Selling drinks that are certified fair trade and/or organic is a great way to create repeat customers from the younger demographics.

As corporate social responsibility continues its time in the limelight, be sure to watch for more and more cafés focusing on sustainability and fair trade.


More and more youth are opting for cafés rather than home brew due to the types of drinks their consuming. If you sit in a café and watch your average 15 to 25-year-olds order, very few of them are opting for black coffees. In fact, nearly every one of them will be walking out with some type of frappe or chai. When new coffee drinkers enter the market, typically in their teens or early twenties, it’s these specialty espresso-based drinks they’ll be ordering.


The market for these drinks is incredibly strong. According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 14% of millennials reported drinking an espresso-based coffee every single day.

We’ve definitely seen a shift in the last 2 decades from frappes being considered a luxury item, to being more popular than drip at many shops.


As drinks such as Nitro Brew and Cold Brew pick up steam, so too are their on-the-go counterparts. Pre-bottled frappes, cold brews, and other specialty coffee beverages are rapidly taking up more and more space on the shelves of grocery stores, gas stations, and kiosks.

More and more consumers are opting to take their food and beverage items on the go. Pre-bottled drinks are proving to be a solid option for those in a hurry. A recent webinar by Euromonitor stated that ready-to-drink coffee will exhibit a significant annual growth rate of 7.5% through 2022.

This growth comes from consumers shifting towards convenience products while shifting away from soft drinks and other typically bottled beverages.


The demand for non-dairy creamer options is gaining traction for a variety of reasons. Non-dairy options are typically lower in calories and fat than their counterparts. People watching their waistlines are wary of putting whole milk or thick cream in their morning coffee, so the non-dairy or plant-based blends make for a great alternative.


Secondly, more and more people are becoming aware of the negative effect lactose has on their body. Recent estimates claim that nearly 65% of the world population has some form of lactose intolerance. Those with moderate to severe intolerance face nausea and stomach aches just from using a small amount of milk in their coffee.

Lastly, the demand for vegan food and drink options is skyrocketing across the globe. In the US alone, there’s an estimated 1.5 million vegans which presents a massive market opportunity. In 2020, expect to see a surge of cafes providing plant-based creamer options to meet their customers’ demands.


Home brew has historically been reigned king in the coffee drinking world. The National Coffee Association’s 2018 report showed that “79 percent of people drinking coffee within the past day brewed coffee at home.” However, a massive chunk of home brewers are over the age of 65. Very few Millennial and Gen Z coffee drinkers are making their coffee at home, and that’s a trend we expect to continue. In fact, a large majority of coffee drinkers under 35 get their coffee from cafés or work as opposed to drinking at home.

As more and more Gen Z-ers start drinking coffee, more demand is going to shift towards coffee shops and away from home brew. This game-changing shift might not happen over the course of 2020 but be prepared for it to slowly happen over the next several years.


As the coffee industry roars into 2020, it’s essential to keep your café on-trend. Be prepared to offer your customers specialty items such as holiday-themed frappes or other trendy blends. Make sure your supply chain is eco-friendly and fair-trade wherever possible and make it part of your marketing strategy if able.

Keep in mind that now more than ever, consumers are looking for grab-and-go items to fuel their day. There is certainly a demographic that is still interested in nursing a hot coffee inside a café, but their numbers appear to be dwindling.

Lastly, pay attention to how consumers are changing their diets. Watch for an increase in vegetarian or vegan demand and be sure to incorporate these options into your menu.

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Café Spotlight: Axum Coffee

Café Spotlight: Axum Coffee

We all agree, your morning cup of coffee makes you feel good. But when you combine that cup of coffee with a charitable cause, you feel great. Down in Winter Garden, Florida, there’s a café that can help you do just that.

Started in 2010, Axum Coffee has vaulted itself into the coffee scene by making delicious coffee, tasty breakfasts, and donating profits to charitable causes. As an added bonus, they’re also pretty talented latte artists that will make your latte look as good as it tastes. Don’t just take our word for it, check out one of their masterpieces below!


We caught up with the Director of Operations, Suzanne, to ask her all about what it’s like running one of the hot coffee spots in town.

How and when did Axum Coffee get started?

“Axum opened its door Dec 2, 2010. We give all of our profit away to local, national and international organizations doing humanitarian work. This year we are supporting Charity: Water.” 

What’s the most rewarding part of running the shop?

“I love my staff and try my best to take good care of them. I do love hearing guests make comments about how much they enjoy our drinks and food too…”

What do you think sets Axum apart from the rest?

“We serve excellent products but do it without pretension. We are friendly!”


How have you tied the Charcoal powder into your menu?

“It started as a seasonal drink, but it has been so well received it’s stayed on as a very long seasonal drink offering…”

It’s a unique product, do people act pretty skeptical of it before trying? What about after trying it?

“People are wary of drinking something black, but once they try it they love it.”

Your Instagram boasts some pretty impressive latte art photos. How did your baristas learn this tough skill?

“I’m so blessed by my staff’s genuine passion for coffee. Lots of them are self-motivated to learn. But, my trainer, Ivan, also gets them started when he trains on bar.” 

Anything else you want to say about your shop or the industry?

“We love the coffee business, from the farm to the bar. We hope to continue down our path of Coffee & Kindness for years to come.” 

We all have lots of options to grab our morning cup of joe. Some of us opt for the closest shop we can find, or one of the corporate chains. However, those of us who demand quality & compassion seek out the diamonds in the rough. We here at MOCAFE™ believe that Axum is just that, a diamond in the rough.

The next time you find yourself wandering through Winter Garden, make a pitstop at Axum Coffee for a Charcoal Mocha. Your mind, body, and conscious will thank you.

Be sure to follow them on Instagram: @AxumCoffee

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How Cafés Can Profit In The Afternoon

How Cafés Can Profit In The Afternoon

There’s nothing better than the caffeine rush you get after your morning cup of coffee. For many consumers, it’s an essential part of their morning. For café owners, there’s a different type of morning rush. From the hours of roughly 6 to 10 AM, it can seem tough to keep up with the constant flow of customers flocking to your coffee shop.

However, once that morning rush ends, many cafés struggle to keep business flowing in or to keep their baristas busy. If you don’t have a game plan to supplement the late morning or early afternoon hours, you’re missing out on huge amounts of revenue, and putting yourself at risk of being financially unstable. Afterall, you’re paying rent every minute of the day whether you’re selling coffee or not.

Luckily, there’s a few ways you can turn these lulls into strategic initiatives that help your shop thrive.


You need to understand the psychological side of your consumers. They buy coffee because they need that morning jolt to get them through work. However, their mentalities change as AM turns to PM. A large number of American’s make a habit out of hitting the gym on their way home from work. Swing by your local gym at 5 PM, and you’ll see it’s absolutely swamped.


This presents two different opportunities for your afternoon menu: Drinks meant for consumption pre-workout, and protein-based drinks for after. Since you’ve already got the blender and water/milk, adding protein shakes to the menu is as easy as buying the powder.


Not all of us are fitness nuts (no judgements passed). Some of us have a different way of winding down after a stressful day at the office. If you can get your hands on a license to sell alcohol, selling wine by the glass or craft beers are a great way to supplement income in the afternoon.

Many coffee shops already have the bohemian vibe that is so sought after in pubs these days, making the interiors hardly distinguishable. Don’t worry about spending top dollar on installing taps. Simply keeping bottled beer in a fridge, and a few bottles of wine on the countertop is enough to get you started.


You can also try adding a charcuterie board or cheese plate to your menu. This pairs well with the wine you’re serving and can turn a $4 sale into a $10 one.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to be priced competitively if you’re going to compete with the sports bar down the street. Keep it cheap and keep it simple. Remember that first and foremost, you’re a coffee shop not a bar. Even if you only sell a few alcoholic drinks in the afternoon, you’ll be helping cushion the low-sales lull.


Live music is a great way to get people hanging out in your café, and ultimately making purchases. This task might sound difficult but is actually fairly easy. There’s no shortage of musicians out there who enjoy playing for just exposure or tips.

Post on Craigslist, your social media channels, or any other online forum that you’re looking for an acoustic guitarist to play occasional afternoons. Let them setup in a corner of your shop and allow them to accept tips. Be sure to let your social media followers know that you’ll be having live music.


Most cafés are equipped with grab-and-go food options for the morning hours, such as bagels, muffins, and bananas. If you can expand your menu offerings to include more variety, as well as lunch hour food items you’ll see an uptick in revenue.

Take a hint from the world’s largest coffee chain (they who must not be named). They always have a refrigerated section with pre-made sandwiches, vegetable platters and more. If you’re currently purchasing items from a distributor, getting similar products into your own shop should be a breeze. Don’t forget to use your countertop space as well to cross-sell your customers.

Our sister company, Modern Oats produces single-serving oatmeal cups. Put a variety pack on your counter next to the register and turn $3 coffee purchases into $6 food and drink purchases.

Remember that if you’re looking to increase your afternoon business, providing foods that can be eaten for lunch is essential. Oatmeals and sandwiches will sell better in the afternoon than bagels and donuts.


In short, most likely. As a business strategy, a storefront should stay open for as long as they can cover operational costs, after the COGS (cost of goods sold) have been deducted. So long as you’re remaining in the black, it is strategic to remain open. If you don’t believe you can cover electricity, cost of goods, and personnel expenses in the afternoon, then close up early.

For as long as you’re open, you need to find ways to maximize revenue. You might be highly profitable in the morning hours, but if sales are stagnating in the PM then you’re burning money. By utilizing some (or all) of the methods above, you should be able to see some improvements in your balance sheet.

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Plastic Straw Ban

Plastic Straw Ban

Chances are, you’ve heard of the plastic straw ban taking place across the globe. What started as a social media campaign, has evolved into a massive global movement prompting corporate giants such as McDonald’s to pull plastic straws entire countries, individual restaurants to opt for more eco-friendly options, and even major cities such as Seattle to plans bans on the product.

The plastic straw ban has led to a massive influx of alternative material straws hitting the market. Some of the most popular alternatives consist of glass, paper, stainless steel, and silicone straws. Now more than ever, environmentally conscious consumers are leaning towards the reusable options, with some even opting for trendy carrying cases to tote theirs around. Not only do reusable straws contribute to a healthier environment but they promote individualism amongst the consumers.

While some people are upset with the ban, it is important to note how big of an environmental impact this small measure will have.


According to The National Park Service, 500 million straws are used in the United States EVERY day. 500m is a tough number to imagine, so let’s put some context around this. Assuming that the average straw is 8 inches in length (or ¾ of a foot) this means that 375 million feet of straws are used per day. At 5,280 feet per mile, there are over 71,000 miles of straws used in the U.S. each day. The birds-eye distance from Los Angeles to New York is roughly 2,500 miles. This means that each and every day, enough straws are used to make a continuous line from Los Angeles to New York 28 times. Every year, that’s enough straws to go to the moon and back 5 times. Again, this is JUST in the United States alone.

In short, there is a LOT of unnecessary plastic going into our landfills and oceans. Even worse, it’s not going away any time soon. Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose in the environment. Those that don’t make it to a landfill or get recycled, end up polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Marine life is suffering the consequences as fish, birds, and marine mammals are being found with straws stuck in their stomachs. It’s nearly impossible to walk any public beach without seeing straws littered in the sand, and many of us watched in horror as the video of the turtle with a straw stuck in its nose went viral last year.

Now, many of you may argue that plastic straws are just a tiny fraction of the world’s plastic pollution, and there are bigger fish to fry. You are correct. However, plastic straws are one of the products that a vast majority of us don’t really need. Short of having a medical condition, there are very few drinks that actually require the use of a straw. When you’re out at a restaurant, you might consider a straw in your glass of water as a convenience, but it would truly have zero impact on your life if no straw were included.

The fact that straws are just a vanity makes them a powerful starting point for attacking ocean pollution. Anti-straw activists don’t need to change any laws or create new legislation to have an impact. Simply making consumers aware of the issue is enough to decrease the amount of plastic pollution. This opens the floodgate for similar initiatives to have lasting global impacts.

While a plastic straw ban isn’t going to save the earth, it’s one step of many that will contribute to a healthier environment. The next time you’re having a drink at a restaurant, ask yourself, “Do I truly need a straw?” If not, pick up the glass and sip it like the adult you are. You can do it.


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A History Of Coffee

A History Of Coffee

Before we’ve had our morning fix, many of us have only one thing on our minds: coffee. Getting your morning cup of joe is simple, as there’s coffee shops on every street corner these days. However, would you know where coffee originated off the top of your head? Do you know what the “Bean Belt” is? In this short article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of coffees journey through history.


So where did it all start? It is generally believed that the growth of coffee beans began in Ethiopia, where the hot equatorial climate provides an ideal growing condition for coffee plants. In fact, coffee gets its name from the Ethiopian province, Kaffa, where the plant originated from.

It is believed that early Ethiopian monks knew about the effects of coffee beans, and often chewed them for a simulating boost. However, there’s a legend involving a shepherd that explains how coffee beans were first brewed into water. Legend has it that a shepherd in Ethiopia noticed his goats behaving erratically after ingesting the beans. He took the berries to his local monks, who decried them as evil and threw them into a fire. However, as the beans burned, the enticing smell of coffee filled the room. They took the burnt beans from the fire and placed them into a bowl of water and began drinking it.

Early evidence of coffee drinking spans back to 15thcentury Yemen. From there, it moved north into India, Persia, and Turkey. By the 1600s it had entered Europe before crossing the pond to the Americas in the 1700s.


Coffee grows in the “Coffee Belt” or “Bean Belt, a three-thousand-mile-wide belt running along the equator between the Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer. The plant requires extremely warm and humid environments, which makes the tropical lands around the equator ideal for its growth. Common regions include Hawaii, Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Indonesia. Slight variations in the climate of these regions, as well has variations in the production and harvesting methods create very noticeable differences in the taste and aroma profiles.


It is possible to grow coffee outside of tropical regions, but the plants may struggle to survive and produce a much smaller yield. Therefore, non-tropical regions typically make the production not economically feasible for commercial purposes.


Coffee started to become popular in the United States in the 18thcentury during the revolutionary war. This is partially due to the fact that after the Boston Tea Party, drinking tea was considered unpatriotic. American patriots needed another way to get their caffeine fix and turned to coffee instead of tea. Over the past few centuries, this has led to a massive coffee market in the United States followed by a much smaller tea market.


While Hawaii is undoubtedly the leading producer in the United States, there is a blooming coffee scene in Southern California. Farms are sprouting up from San Diego to Santa Barbara, as farmers are realizing that coffee trees are surviving in the mostly warm, but not quite tropical climate.


In 1817, coffee plants were brought to Hawaii by Don Francisco de Paula Marin. Over the next few years, different variations of the plant were brought from different regions of the world, some of which failed while others thrived. In the 200 years since, coffee farming has exploded in Hawaii, and produces what we now know as “Kona” coffee.



National coffee day has become a prominent day for coffee shops all across the United States. It originated from the National Coffee Association (NCA) and is always celebrated on September 29th. Coffee shops take advantage of this day by whipping up special promotions to entice customers into coming in and celebrating with them. Both consumers and coffee shops post on social media to showcase their hand-crafted drinks using the hashtag #NationalCoffeeDay amongst others.


Since its discovery, coffee has grown to become the highest consumed beverage in the world. In developed nations, coffee shops can be found on every street corner, and coffee machines can be found in every professional office. In fact, nearly 500 million cups are consumed in the United States every single day.

What started with monks chewing beans to stay awake has evolved into a massive global industry with trillions of dollars in annual profit. Whether you drink black coffee from sun-up to sun-down, or just enjoy an occasional frappe, the coffee industry has secured a lasting impact on your life.

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What is Fair Trade?

What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is a set of standards that aims to improve the labor and trade conditions in developing nations. It is a progressive standard that helps save the environment, increase the well-being of laborers, decrease child labor and forced labor, and provide economic benefits to exporting nations.

Apart from providing economic and welfare benefits to workers in often exploited industries, it provides consumers with peace of mind knowing that the products they buy are ethically sourced. Thankfully, this is a trend that has become more popular and sought after in recent years.


Coffee is one of the more popular items to get certified as Fair Trade. Growers who are able to prove that their operations live up to certification standards can qualify as FT suppliers. Businesses that purchase from these suppliers, can label those products as Fair Trade Certified after paying a fee to one of the regulatory agencies.

This standard sets a minimum price that must be paid per pound of coffee, as well as an extra $0.20 premium. This ensures that the farmers and producers are paid fairly. Since a majority of the world’s coffee is grown by small farms, having a governing body that encourages ethical labor and environmental standards has helped thousands of farms improve their working conditions and environmental footprints.


The organic certification simply takes it a step further, by certifying that the production method used by the farms are organic. Earning this certification proves that an operation is serious about sustainability, employee relations, and the long-term health of both their staff and the environment.


While countless products qualify for certification, the most common are coffee, sugar, tea, chocolate, bananas, and wine. Non-food items such as gold and cotton are common products as well.


Fair trade is more focused on the employees of suppliers, and ensuring that they have comfortable working environments, livable wages, and increased job satisfaction.

Free trade on the other hand, focuses on easing the restrictions on trade between countries, decreasing tariffs, and increasing globalization.


When you as a consumer decide to buy FT food or products, you enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re fighting child labor and improving the quality of life for those in developing countries.

We strive to use a FT certified supply chain whenever possible. Check out some of our most popular Organic Fair Trade products: OFT Dominican Mocha Frappe, OFT Belizian Vanilla, and OFT Vera Cruz Caffe Latte.

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Types Of Coffee

Types Of Coffee

When walking into your local café, chances are you’re presented with countless types of coffee for your caffeine fix. Mochas, lattes, frappes, cappuccinos, americanos etc. We’ve all heard the names, and we all have a favorite. However, if someone asked you “What’s the difference between a mocha, latte, and frappe? What’s the difference between a cappuccino and a flat white?” would you be able to answer off the top of your head?

If you were able to answer those correctly, pat yourself on the back and consider becoming a barista. For the rest of us, we need a bit of a refresher course. Read on for a breakdown of the most popular drink options at your local caffeine fix.


If you go to your local café, you’ll likely be presented with some or all of the following options:

  • Espresso
  • Latte
  • Cappuccino
  • Flat White
  • Frappe
  • Mocha
  • Americano

Most people have a favorite, and they order the same thing over and over again. However, if you wanted to try something new, how would you know what to order? Let’s take a look what what the major differences are between these popular types of coffee.


First, let’s start with espresso. Although a straight shot of espresso isn’t the first choice for many people, it is an incredibly important part of the coffee community. This is because espresso serves as the foundation for many other drinks, such as cappuccinos and lattes.

Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of boiling water through very fine coffee grounds using a large amount of pressure. This results in a really thick, and highly concentrated form of coffee. Espresso is also much higher in caffeine content than typical drip coffee, but is usually served in much smaller amounts. You can expect your typical espresso drink to contain a similar amount of caffeine as a cup of black drip coffee.

Brewing espresso typically requires a specialty espresso machine, which can be manual or automatic in nature. Manual machines require the pulling of a lever to create the pressure inside the machine. This is why you might here the term “pulling a shot of espresso.” However, many people now opt for electric machines which use a pump to generate the pressure with the push of a button.


Lattes are quite simple drinks. They are made by pouring a shot or two of espresso into a cup of steamed milk, then adding a layer of foamed milk on top. They are typically served hot, but you can certainly find them iced as well. The milk is a great way of diluting the aggressive flavor of the espresso, making this a nice drink to sip on in any occasion. In recent years, latte art has exploded in popularity, in which baristas create artwork in the foam topping of lattes. Local coffee shops often add an artistic touch, and there’s even a Latte Art World Championship in which 1stplace will walk away with a cool $2,500. That’s some expensive espresso!


Cappuccinos are extremely similar to lattes. Both consist of espresso and milk, but the cappuccino has less milk and more milk foam creating a richer, more robust taste profile. This makes cappuccinos a great option for people who want a little extra flavor than a latte. They are very foamy in nature and are quite lightweight which can catch first-time drinkers by surprise.


Another uber-similar drink to the latte and cappuccino, flat whites are a mix of espresso, milk, and milk foam (sound familiar?). Flat whites typically use two shots of espresso, and less milk and foam than their latte and cappuccino counterparts, making them a smaller but more concentrated alternative. It’s important to note, that the difference between flat whites and their counterparts has become a bit blurred in recent years. When cappuccinos burst into the main stream, they often came with a ton of foam on top. This led some people to request a “flat” drink, meaning one without such a massive pile of foam on top. This resulted in the flat white as we know it. However, modern day cappuccinos and lattes have less foam than they used to, making them much more similar to flat whites.


Frappes are served iced, and exact recipes can vary wildly. There’s a never-ending number of concoctions that frappes can be crafted into, which makes them a popular starting point for trendy and holiday drinks. The typical mix involves placing ice, milk, sugar, coffee, and water in a blender and topping with whipped cream. The resulting drink is similar to a milk shake in flavor and texture, coupled with a nice kick from the coffee. By adding extra spices, juices, or other flavor additions, you can create a wide-ranging menu of frappes to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.


Americanos are another espresso-based drink, and arguably one of the easiest types of coffee to make. Simply add a shot or two of espresso to a cup of water and enjoy! You might think that the water creates a diluted, flavorless drink but you would be mistaken. The result is a deliciously rich drink that is similar to a cup of drip coffee, but with a bit more intense of a flavor profile.


Mochas are similar to lattes, except they contain a hint of chocolate. The name Mocha comes from the type of coffee beans typically used in these brews. Mocha coffee beans originate in Yemen, and are named after the Al Mokha port that they used to be exported from. Over the years, these beans became better known as Arabica (which is what we call them today) and the term Mocha began referring to the marriage between coffee and chocolate.

To brew a mocha, follow the same steps as a latte, but add some chocolate to the mix as well. This can be in the form of hot chocolate, chocolate powder, or even a pump of chocolate syrup. If you’re looking for an even easier way to whip one of these up, check out our Wild Tribe Moka mix which blends with just milk and ice to create a delicious iced mocha.

It seems nowadays that coffee shops offer an endless number of choices. With so many types of coffee on the menu, choosing a new item to try can become a daunting task. However, now that you’re armed with this new arsenal of knowledge, we know you’ll pick your next drink with the confidence of someone who just downed two shots of espresso. Whether you’re looking for a strong hot drink such as an Americano, or a delicious iced frappe, you’ll look like an aficionado the next time you swing by your favorite café.

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Latte Art: How To

Latte Art: How To


In the time of social media latte art has become crucial to coffee shops. There are millions of latte art pictures that are posted daily throughout social media channels. Social media has become a gateway for coffee shops to generate profits by posting eye catching content to lure in consumers. Consumers are no longer only looking at reviews, they are looking at content. There are studies that have come to the conclusion that consumers are willing to pay more for a drink with latte art than a plain drink. Therefore, not only can it make your café appear more interesting, but it can also improve yours bottom line.

Latte art is here to stay…

Many artists will tell you there’s nothing better than a blank canvas, but we at MOCAFE must respectfully disagree. We believe there is one thing better: A blank canvas that tastes delicious.

Confused? Read on.

We’re talking of course about lattes, and the recent explosion in latte art popularity. From artistically inclined baristas decking out drinks for an extra tip, to global (and highly competitive) competitions, latte art has left its everlasting mark on the coffee scene.

Check out this graph from Google Trends showing the growth in popularity since 2004:




If you’re looking for a “Latte Art How To” then look no further.

Believe it or not, there’s a bit of science involved in this process. While it boils down to mixing espresso, crema, and milk, the milk has to be properly handled in order for it to work. Using regular, cold milk will not leave you with any beautiful tulip on top of your drink. Instead, it is important to first steam the milk, as latte art milk temperature and texture is extremely important. There’s a couple of ways to properly steam milk.

Start by pouring cold milk (33° – 35° Fahrenheit) into a cold pitcher. It is advised to leave the empty pitcher in the freezer beforehand to keep it cold.

Once the milk is poured into the pitcher, place the steam wand just beneath the surface of the milk, and towards the edge of the pitcher. Activate the steam wand, and slowly turn the pitcher until the exterior is room temperature to the touch.

 The dark color of our charcoal mocha mix is ideal for latte art.

Dip the steam wand towards the bottom of the pitcher, while continuing the rotation of the pitcher. Continue to heat the milk until it reaches just over 150°f, being careful to never let it reach 160°f. If you’re doing latte art professionally, you should be using a thermometer to make sure that you don’t scald the milk or underheat it. However, if you’re trying this at home you may have to use your best guess. If there’s no thermometer handy, stop steaming when the pitcher becomes hot to the touch.

Once you’ve removed the steaming wand, knock the pitcher against the counter a few times to remove any big bubbles. Big bubbles cause inconsistencies in the pouring process which can wreck your design.

Once you have a latte poured, and the milk is steamed, you’re ready to begin your masterpiece (Okay…if you’re currently reading a “how to” article, you probably won’t be making a masterpiece anytime soon but stay positive).


There’s a couple of techniques to keep in mind during this latte art step by step.

The speed at which the milk is poured is incredibly important. For the sake of carefully crafting your artwork, you’ll want to avoid pouring too quickly. However, pouring too slowly can have negative effects as well. When you pour too slowly, you allow the aerated milk to separate from the regular milk. This leads to regular milk pouring into your latte and the aerated foam being left in the pitcher, which will not allow you to craft a beautiful design.

The height of the pour is another important aspect. While filling the cup, start by pouring from about six inches above the cup. This will allow the milk to mix with the espresso, creating the creamy color of a latte. However, as it surpasses half full, lower the pitcher just above the surface. When adding your design, the jug should be held close to the surface since pouring from too high causes your foam to submerge below the surface rather than nesting on top.

Arguably the easiest and most popular designs, latte art tulips and latte art hearts are a great way to get started.

For absolute newbies, start with a heart.

Once your cup is roughly ¾ full, move the spout to as close to the surface as possible. If you are pouring at the correct speed, you will see a circle start to appear on the surface. Continue pouring at a steady speed until the circle is as big as you want the heart to be.

Then raise the jug a few inches, and quickly dash a straight line of milk through the circle. Raising the pitcher makes the milk land with more impact, which causes the indention in the top of the circle. The speed and direction of the pour will cause the bottom of the circle to stretch out to a point, ultimately leaving you with a heart.


Okay, so you’ve read a tutorial, maybe watched a YouTube video or three, and you’ve managed to make a sort-of, kind-of heart shaped thing. Well done. It’s going to take a lot more work to make it into the big leagues.


Believe it or not, there is an entire industry based on latte art competitions, most notably, the World Latte Art Championship. It’s an annual competition that brings together baristas from every corner of the globe, competing for thousands of dollars in prize money. If you think a simple heart or tulip is going to win this competition, think again. Competitors create intrinsic designs ranging from incredibly difficult geometric shapes to unicorns and dragons.

For the rest of us, a simple heart or Rosetta is all that’s required to feel accomplished. Afterall, it is certainly no easy task. If you are working as a barista, and have dozens of chances per day to practice, you’ll likely pick it up quickly. However, if you make one latte per day at home, it’s an art that will take you quite some time to perfect.

If you try and try again with no luck, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Afterall, your canvas is a delicious latte that is begging to be consumed.

If you want to try it on your own, buy a case of our Charcoal Mocha mix to make dramatic and eye-catching lattes.

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