This summer's top flavour for a refreshing drink may be… cucumber.
In the summer these flavoured syrups come in useful for the preparation of chilled café drinks and the newest idea has come from Monin syrups of France, distributed in the UK by Bennett Opie of Sittingbourne.
"Your coffee sales go down in summer, so what do you do?" says William Opie of Monin.
The answer, he says, is in a drink devised by their barista trainer Alex Lapierre, and the clue is to go to JD Wetherspoon and see their big pitchers of Pimm's and lemonade. Alex's very quick-to-make version features Monin's new cucumber syrup, diluted and chilled, with a garnish.
"This is made with Monin lemon tea concentrate, and cucumber flavoured syrup, although you can do very much the same with peach tea and green apple syrup. You have to be a little careful in your preparation, because Monin tea is highly concentrated - you must get the dilution right, because the sweetness could kill it.
"And is it going to be profitable? Oh gosh, yes!"
The Bennett Opie profit calculation is this: the syrup content is probably 80p, the cucumber garnish is perhaps 20p and the mint perhaps 5p. Served in a pitcher for two or four, the sell-out cost is, says the company, almost arbitrary.
For the other varieties, Bennett Opie suggests that the lemon version has its own garnish, which will work with mango as well. The raspberry has summer fruits in it, the peach should be garnished with Granny Smith apple, and the lemon garnished with more lemon.
Elsewhere in the café sector, the cucumber also appears from the 'quintessentially English' Belvoir brand of pressés range. Summer Cooler, described as the perfect refreshment for a balmy summer day, is a light and refreshing blend of cucumber and mint with a hint of geranium blossom extract.
By Ian Boughton