Jake Mai of Stitch Coffee on which MONIN syrups can elevate a café menu


Jake Mai of Stitch Coffee explains which MONIN syrups can help take a café menu from good to great.

Jake Mai of Stitch Coffee says it’s time for Australian and New Zealand cafés to experiment with citrus flavours that offer a refreshing, palate cleansing variety to their menus.

“At Stitch, we’re currently using MONIN’s yuzu purée and watermelon syrup in our signature drinks. We combine our nitro cold brew, acid solution and MONIN’s product then shake well and served with dried garnish,” says Jake.

“Our Yuzu cold brew and Watermelon cold brew have been shaken nonstop at our bar ever since. They are absolute bangers.”

Jake says MONIN’s range of syrups and purees allow cafés to venture outside of the usual flavours offered on café menus, such as caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut syrups.

“MONIN’s wide range of products can contribute to flavourful, fresh and lively cold drinks. It either turns the casual cold brew into a more interesting beverage or creates an alternative drink for customers who don’t want to consume caffeine but still want to enjoy the café vibe,” he says.

Jake advises that if a café treats MONIN’s products as a sweet component, it can replace sugar syrup in many cocktails like daiquiris or margaritas to create a twist on the classic cocktail or be an alternative to flavoured liqueur.

“There’s no limit to your imagination as long as you can nail the balancing. For non-alcoholic beverages, MONIN’s syrup can work well in most drinks like cold brew coffee, tea or a fizzy drink like a virgin mojito,” says Jake.

When Jake creates new beverage ideas, he usually breaks it down into the taste components of sweet, acidic, bitter and salty, picking one or two as the main flavours to work around.

“These main components can be a coffee we want to showcase, or it can be a specific flavour, as MONIN has us covered with many options. Then it’s just about balancing the drink and deciding how I want it to be served, such as fizzy or shaken with a foam layer, like an espresso martini,” he says.

Jake had this mindset when he competed in the Australian MONIN Coffee Creativity Cup, which took place at Slayer Espresso in Port Melbourne during the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from 17 to 19 August.

Each entrant had to submit a unique espresso-based recipe, incorporating at least 10 millilitres of any MONIN product.

Titled Jungle Bird, Jake’s creation combined MONIN watermelon syrup, MONIN grapefruit syrup, a medium roasted washed Colombian coffee served as a double espresso, and carbonated cold brewed floral tea with herbal notes of peppercorn husk, rose petal, and salted coconut foam.

“It was such a fun experience for me. I got the chance to try eight to 10 different flavours before deciding on a combination of MONIN’s watermelon and pink grapefruit syrup. The watermelon syrup brings out a deep sweetness while the pink grapefruit has a bright acidity. I chose a clean, washed coffee as the base, added a bit of saline solution and simply let the syrup shine for itself,” Jake says.

John Davidson, Head of Advocacy and Innovation at Stuart Alexander, an exclusive distributor of MONIN in Australia, says MONIN has a huge range of citrus, sugar cane syrups, such as pineapple, lemon tea, blood orange, passion fruit, kiwi, and mango – big, bright flavours that offer different levels of sweetness and acidity, and just scream “summer”.

“It’s easy to think of [MONIN products] as just sugar syrups and adding sugar to serves. But the more blood orange you add to a cold brew, for example, is not going to make the drink sweeter. It’s just going to taste more like blood orange. If you’ve got a single origin that tastes more like those warm citruses, then a touch of that blood orange might stand out on a menu. If I read ‘orange sanguine cold brew” on a chalkboard, I would be tempted,” John says.

MONIN’s range of syrups are flash- pasteurised, and contain no GMOs, gluten, dairy, fat, proteins, or cholesterol. They are also halal and kosher-certified, and vegan and gluten free.

“Most important, is that the coffee remains the hero of the beverage – small dashes of MONIN citrus or other botanicals are all it takes to make a difference,” John says.

For more information, visit www.stuartalexander.com.au/brands/monin

This article appears in the December 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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