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Get Sauced!

by Kari Guddeck

I broke from habit today. I ordered a 16 ounce pumpkin pie latte instead of my usual Americano. What sparked this change? Besides the prominently displayed poster featuring latte art in the shape of a pumpkin, was the barista's suggestion that I try this drink because "It's the bomb! We use pumpkin pie sauce and it's to die for". So, I had myself a bomb...made with sauce. What a decadent treat; creamy, spicy, and downright delicious! Most coffee shops are serving chocolate sauce in their mochas and other chocolate based drinks, but expanding your sauce offerings can translate into premium beverages that will entice customers to treat themselves.

All drinks are not created equal. While the number of syrup flavors available is staggering, there's something different about a drink made with sauce. Technically speaking, it's the viscosity. Viscosity is a term used to describe the resistance of a liquid to flow, or its "thickness". Sauce has a higher viscosity than syrups and when added to drinks it makes for a rich and thicker feel on the tongue; or mouthfeel. It's this creamy mouthfeel that sets sauces apart and makes beverages made with it seem more like a dessert you can drink.

Sauces are typically available in chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel. In response to market trends, however, many manufacturers have added seasonal, sugar free, and specialty flavors. Pumpkin pie sauce, mentioned before, is a very popular fall flavor. Chocolate sauce spiced with cinnamon and some variety of chili is fast becoming a favorite (ex. Torani Spicy Chocolate). Customers needing a sugar free beverage don't need to miss out on the flavor of sauce as many varieties of chocolate, white chocolate, and caramel are also available without sugar.

Although sauce is most often used as a flavor base for drinks, it can also be used as a decorative addition that demands premium pricing. Lani Peterson, Menu Development Specialist for Kerrry (makers of Da Vinci Gourmet), says "You can also use sauces to top a drink, which typically allows you to ask a higher dollar amount. It is amazing that whipped cream topped with a sauce makes a drink more appealing to people--so they are ok with paying more." This summer I saw many caramel apple smoothies being served up with caramel sauce drizzled on the inside of the plastic cup and on top of the whipped cream for a great finishing touch.

Barista Pro Shop offers sauces from the following brands:

Da Vinci Gourmet:

An economical line of sauces available in half gallon jugs of Chocolate, White Chocolate, Caramel, Sugar Free Chocolate, and Sugar Free Caramel. Gallons are available in Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Caramel.

Ghirardelli®:

Synonymous with quality chocolate, Ghirardelli® makes half gallon jugs of Classic Sweet Ground Chocolate Flavor (formulated to taste like their Sweet Ground Chocolate powder), White Chocolate, Caramel, and Chocolate (specially created for use by baristas).

Torani:

Chocolate, Caramel, and White Chocolate are sold in half gallons and all are available in sugar free as well. Try Pumpkin Pie and Spicy Chocolate for a special treat.

Monin:

Naturally flavored Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Caramel and Sugar Free Dark Chocolate in half gallons and 12 oz. plastic decorator squeeze bottles for garnishing beverages.

Whichever brand you decide to use, here are a few tips to get the most out of your sauce:

  1. Unless you plan on pouring directly from the jug (which can get messy and lead to inconsistent drinks) or transferring sauce into a smaller squeeze bottle, you'll need to get pumps. Pumps are the easiest and most precise way to dispense and measure sauce. Make sure to order the pump specific to the brand of sauce you are using.
  2. Most manufactures also sell racks for their sauces to help keep your bar organized.
  3. Sample and get the word out! Make sure to let customers know that you offer sauces by adding it to your menu and using posters, counter cards, and table tents. Let them try a sample - you might just convince them to indulge in a tasty treat!
  4. For recipes and ideas visit https://www.baristaproshop.com/recipes/index.php