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Totally Instagrammable

Monday July 8, 2019 by Dana Schlingman, Marketing Representative, Promotion Specialist @ Barista Pro Shop

How to Create and Capture Picture Perfect Specialty Beverages

Instagrammable Signature Drinks with 1883 Orchid Syrup

As a millennial in my mid-thirties, I remember when Facebook was just an informal network for college students. At the time, “social media” was merely a place for Myspace musings and covert searches to find out more about a crush. However, jump forward to today, social media has expanded in scope to include advertising, commerce, employment and of course broader networking. Though informal personal connection is still a feature of social media, it’s now only one facet. So as a business, it only makes sense to capitalize on the reach and exposure offered by modern social platforms–whether that means establishing a presence with a business page or providing photo worthy creations that patrons will want to post out on their accounts. In this era of brand ambassadors and personal brands, influencers are eager to share their experiences, artisanal discoveries and inspirations. So why not give them beautiful content to share that will gain recognition for your brand or shop?!Lively Libations: Malorie’s “Turkish Delight”

While working on our Lively Libations drink recipes, we picked up a few tricks to really give our drinks polish and pizzazz. Plus we also have a few reliable techniques to help you get that glamorous beverage shot for your feed. Here’s what we recommend:

Beverage Preparation: Before you can dazzle with an elegant or elaborate presentation, it’s important to prepare the beverage properly and to select the vessel to serve it in with intentionality in order to communicate the right message about your shop and brand.

Never Underestimate the Basics: The ingredients and their preparation form the foundation of every beautiful beverage. In terms of espresso-based beverages, expertly pulled shots and beautiful microfoam are the proverbial blank canvas for latte art, etching and gourmet garnishes. Similarly, the type of ice used in a smoothie can drastically affect the final texture of the beverage (we suggest 1 inch solid cubes made with purified water). Lively Libations: Danielle’s “Mountain Cider Mule”Before you begin assembling your beverages and dressing them with garnishes, we recommend a little research. Be sure to follow the best practices specified for your equipment and use your products as recommended by their manufacturers. For demonstrations and step-by-step beverage preparation instruction, check out our tutorial videos and training materials.

Also if you need a little recipe inspiration, see this Barista Magazine article about recipe creation:
The Five Things You Need to Craft a Perfect Signature Drink

Consider the Vessel: Though we all know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, we definitely do assess consumables by appearance and presentation. While customers aren’t necessarily buying the latte for the mug or the cup that it comes in, that vessel can drastically affect a consumer’s perception and experience of a beverage. Because the sense of taste is closely tied to other senses, a covered container that seals in thick foam, whipped cream or aroma inadvertently affects the mouthfeel and flavor of a beverage. (For a to-go lid that addresses this issue, check out FoamAroma.) Furthermore, certain vessels allow for unique presentation options that alter taste and experience. For example, a stein can be chilled to keep a root beer float extra cold, a wide-mouthed cocktail glass can be rimmed with a variety of ingredients to offset the beverage’s flavor or the inside walls of a clear cold cup can be drizzled with sauce to add decorative sweetness. So how should you go about picking out the right vessel? Base the decision on both the type of drink it will hold and the message that you want to convey about your business and brand. 

Here are a few questions to consider: Branded mugs (left to right) from Allegro Coffee, Brandywine Coffee Roasters, Revolution Roasters & Barista Pro Shop

Beverage Presentation:
Once you decide what to make and what to serve it in, it’s time to consider how to best present it!

In the meantime, while you hone your pouring skills, here are a few other less technically difficult presentation ideas: 

Getting The Perfect Shot:
Now that you have expertly prepared and beautifully presented your specialty beverage, it’s time to pull out the camera and capture the perfect shot. In this visually driven culture, high-quality images are needed to motivate engagement on digital platforms. So, make sure your pictures put your best foot forward on your website, social media accounts or Google My Business listing. (To learn more about how to leverage this free Google tool, see BPS Director of Marketing, Matthew Moseley’s training presentation.) You don’t need special equipment or a studio to capture great photographs. (See what we mean in this sneak peek behind the scenes of our Lively Libations recipe blog photo shoot.) With the right approach, it’s possible to capture professional images with minimal expense.

Behind the scenes of our April Lively Libations photo shoot (Dana shooting Lucia’s layered chia pudding) Lively Libations: Lucia’s Layer Chia Pudding

And there you have it–our top tips and techniques! Now that you have the means to craft and capture beautiful signature beverages, I can’t wait to see them on your social channels (please do connect with us @baristaproshop). Whether you or, better yet, your fans share images of your drinks, the exposure gained is sure to increase brand recognition and reach. Innovative, beautiful or fabulously unexpected content only adds value to your work.

BPS Article on Barista Magazine Online


Looking for a few more resoucres?
Check out our Lively Libations Recipe Archive and read more about drink preparation: The Five Things You Need to Craft a Perfect Signature Drink