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July 17, 2019

Big time sensuality. How to activate all the senses in your café

One of the things I love most about my job is getting out on the street and visiting cafes.
Walking into 15 or so cafes a day for a week gives you a really great snapshot of the industry. You also get to compare and evaluate many cafes, and occasionally you come across truly outstanding offerings.

This happened to me last week as I was visiting cafes in Bondi. I was there exactly one year ago introducing our Golden Turmeric Elixir to cafes by walking in and offering to make a Golden Latte. One of the many cafes that bought in was The Nine (theninesydney.com.au) At 163 Glenayr Ave Bondi.
I returned to their cafe incognito to see how they were going with the product. I ordered 2 Turmeric Lattes and sat down.

As I sat, I noticed that they had glass vases on every table.
The glass was slumped over a wooden trunk when hot making each one unique, and all the vases held three white carnation blossoms floating in water. Each table held two glasses and a decanter of water. I immediately felt at home and cared for.
It was a nice touch.
The whole cafe was clean, light and airy, relatively small with perhaps 8 tables and a bench along one side.

The clientele was as you might expect for Bondi, stylish, casually elegant and enjoying their late breakfast. For examples of their food visit their Instagram page www.instagram.com/theninesydney/

It is an interesting blend of Mediterranian style, mostly organic ingredients, and deliciously presented.

Then came my Golden Latte. I was totally enraptured. It was served on a breadboard, with a spoon, in a fired raw clay cup with a white glazed rim that drizzled down the side in a few places. The clay felt rough and hand made to touch, and this perfectly suited the drink and its ingredients. Of course I am no stranger to the brilliant yellow of the Turmeric Latte, but they had done more. They topped the drink with some cinnamon sugar and dried rose petals and the effect was multi sensory. As I spooned the first taste into my mouth there was the crunch of sugar, the fragrance of cinnamon and rose, the colour of the drink and the taste of turmeric, ginger, pepper, cinnamon and vanilla in creamy hot milk. All this paired with the earthy texture of the cup in my hand.

It made me think how consciously that Abhi and the team had designed this experience to combine with their fit out and decoration. It all added up to an intoxication experience.
Experts say that to make an impression or create a lasting memory it is important to engage as many senses as possible. This place made an impression, and you can too!
It does take effort, but it can be done.

The Cups.
The Nines chose hand crafted clay cups made by Liquorice Moon www.liquoricemoonstudios.com
And there are quite a few others doing similar styles Carys Martin Ceramics www.carysmartinceramics.com
What characterises these cups is the fired earth quality of the exterior, paired with the glazed lip and insides, so your hands feel the rough fired clay and your lips touch the smooth well formed lip. It really is a kiss!
I notice that both these suppliers make a range of reusable cups with lids that may be interesting alternatives to the popular mainstream keep style cups, that could give a point of difference to your café retail offering.

The Drink.
Well of course I am going to say that the Alchemy Golden Latte makes the best example of a sensual drink, with the combination of colour, fragrance and taste, as well as ease of use and functional benefit with its high curcumin levels, but any hot drink can have its sensuality enhanced. Chai is often topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, but it can also have cracked black pepper or chilli flakes, hot chocolates can have cacao nibs, micro flowers, whole star anise and coffee needs its rosettas, tulips or swans.
What ever drink you are considering, it is important to think, how can I engage more senses to enhance the whole without distracting form the core?

The People.
There is little sense in doing all of this without engaging the greatest sense. Humanity and heart to heart connection. On my visit to The Nines, I was served by Lady (yes that is her real name), who made me feel welcome, as she did to all the customers she served during my visit. She spoke with pride about the cafe and how she loved making these drinks and then once I blew my cover and told her we made the Turmeric Elixir, she enthused even more, asking about other things we do at Alchemy. I look forward to my next visit there to see what they do with our Chai Elixir and Energy Chai.
Abhi. the owner has done something special here. He has created a very human space that welcomes and enchants customers. He has engaged all the senses and in doing so has made a profitable business that is surely set to grow and one that I for one look forward to returning to.

Anyone interested to discuss more about what Alchemy is doing here in Australia or internationally, please feel free to get in touch with me directly at Alchemy Cordial Company
e. Michael@alchemycordial.com.au





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