Juice + Espresso
Our exploration of mixing juice and espresso
How we added juice + espresso to our menu:
In March of 2022, I read online about a recipe for orange juice and espresso mixed together. I couldn't fathom mixing the two. I have memories of breakfast where I would have a cup of coffee and a glass of OJ sitting there. If I drank one after the other, it was not pleasant. Why would mixing them together be any better?
As we have learned throughout our 10+ years in specialty coffee, one should never consider "standards" of coffee making and drink combinations set in stone. Curiosity and openness to ideas helps push the world of coffee to new levels. So, I had to try it for myself.
My first try was surprisingly good. I simply mixed a random orange juice (from ALDI, I think) with a double shot of espresso in a 16oz glass I had at home. I added iced and took a sip. Immediately, I shared with our Vintage Paris team my experience. I sent the team a picture of my glass of OJ with espresso unmixed at the top. All I said was, "Spro-J" (translates to Espresso + OJ haha).
I immediately got some critiques on the name but many were willing to give it a try. Within 5 hours, one of our team members replied to the chat, "Ok, Matt is right. It's delicious". In the coming days, many of our team gave it a try on their own and enjoyed it. From there, we started experimenting with other juices to see what combinations we could make. We tried pineapple, cranberry, apple, lemonade, limeade, and mango.
Pineapple caused the espresso flavor to be lost. Apple just tasted like sweet cold brew, all the apple flavor was gone. Limeade was unbalanced. Mango had a good body but the mango flavor was lost in espresso as well. In the end, Cranberry, lemonade, and orange juice came out as winners.
After we landed on the three juices, we then experimented with accent flavors to bring the combinations to the next level. We have a large selection of syrups, sauces, spices, and salt at Vintage Paris so this process was fun. Let me tell you, strawberry syrup and lemonade sound like a great combo but after adding espresso it is terrible. Keep that in mind if exploring on your own. In the end, vanilla made the OJ perfect, chocolate softened the bitterness of cranberry, and the addition of salt and smoke to the lemonade elevated the flavors. Little by little some of our more reluctant staff have become "converted" after trying the finished recipes.
Starting on May 24th, 2022 we are serving these finalized juice drinks to the public. We hope it is a hit and other will "convert" as well.
1. Stay curious. Even when past experience clouds our mind, we should attempt to remain open to new ideas. This spirit of curiosity led to the addition of three new drinks to our menu that were unplanned and unexpected.
2. Failure is a mentor, not an enemy. We made many bad tasting juice drinks in our process to find the right recipes. Rather than becoming discouraged, we pressed on to pursue excellence in our product. It was worth the wait and the failures.