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Beverage Styling 101

In collaboration with Community Coffee, I was invited to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show to demonstrate easy ideas for beverage styling that creative crave-able drinks for their coffee, espresso and iced tea selection of products. Check out my 3 easy tips that you can incorporate into your styling!

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This post is sponsored by Community Coffee. As always, all opinions are my own 🙂

National Restaurant Association Show

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show in Chicago, Illinois in collaboration with Community Coffee. The NRA Show is the largest food service trade association in the world! I was super excited to not only be attending, but also be part of an exhibit!


My role at the Community Coffee booth was to host “How To” sessions on Beverage Styling. The goal was to demonstrate valuable tips to restaurant owners and chefs for using coffee, espresso and iced tea in new and unique recipes.  It’s all about showcasing those recipe in a way that makes them craveable!

Beverage Styling Tips 

What is beverage styling? It’s basically the elements of preparing your beverage so that it looks unique, delicious and relatable to your brand image. We want to bring out or enhance the features and taste of a recipe. Ready to learn? Let’s roll.

Feelgoodfoodie preparing mocktails and presenting on beverage styling at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Show.

There are so many great tips when it comes to beverage styling. I concentrated on three tips for the show. I created three recipes that showcase those tips and bring it to real life. Then I created those three recipes three times each over the course of three days. I’m making mocktails in my sleep now…haha!

Two tall glasses of Raspberry Iced Tea Smoothies prepared y Feelgoodfoodie during presenting on beverage styling at the 2018 National Restaurant Association Show.

1. Highlight Freshness

When it comes to creating drinks, the best way to highlight the freshness is to use lots of garnish. When you use optimally colored ingredients and produce at their peak for prime ripeness, you can send signals of freshness.

Ingredients ready for the Raspberry Iced Tea Smoothie - Pitcher of raspberry iced tea with ice cubes, glass of orange juice, bowl of lime juice, fresh raspberries, slices of oranges and slices of lime

To demonstrate this at the show, I made my Raspberry Iced Tea Smoothie. I used fresh raspberries, orange slices, lime slices and mint leaves to highlight the freshness of the beverage. I think the frozen glasses really helped too to deliver the message of freshness.

Two empty cold tall frosted glass on marble counter with orange slices and lime slices around

The final product highlights freshness with the ice cubes, the fresh fruit and all the garnish used.

Two tall glasses of Raspberry Iced Tea Smoothie with orange slices, lime slices, fresh raspberries and mint leaves garnished in the drink. Pitcher or raspberry iced tea in the background

2. Elaborate Size

When it comes to creative beverages we crave, there’s a lot to be said about size. With food styling, you can achieve this by piling food to give it height. With beverage styling, it’s the same concept with overfilling containers, and filling beverages to capacity to create extra eye appeal. It’s all about creating a scene of over indulgence. One way I love doing that with beverages is to use tall glasses or wide mugs.

I demonstrated this beverage styling tip by making my Coconut Oil Coffee with the larger than life mug (which I actually painted myself at a pottery class…fun side note!)

Up close shot of the blended coconut oil coffee, showing a frothy creamy cup with a light blue napkin underneath

You can just picture yourself sipping on the wide mug and enjoying a cozy afternoon.

Up close shot of the blended coconut oil coffee, showing a frothy creamy cup with a light blue napkin underneath. There is also star anise and whole cloves used as garnish, as well as coconut cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon.

3. Emphasize Temperature

The third beverage styling technique that I demonstrated at the show is to emphasize temperature. The goal is to create a mood around your drink. Obviously when it comes to cold beverages it’s easy to do that with tons of ice cubes or using a cold/frosted glass.

For warm drinks, it may be harder to signal this, but you can achieve this style by showing frothy milk or steaming coffee that signals warmth. I also like to use herbs and spices to cue signals. Think of the connotation of fresh mint or rosemary sticks in a drink compared to star anise or cinnamon sticks in another drink. They each signal something different about the beverage.

4 small dip plates with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne in each one

I demonstrated this beverage styling technique by making my Gold Milk Turmeric Latte. Without doing anything else to style the drink aside from frothing the almond milk with the turmeric, I achieved a strong signal of the warmth of the beverage.

Large mug of foamy golden milk turmeric latte on a wooden coaster

Adding ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks to the final presentation highlights that warm temperature and sets the mood for a cozy afternoon drinking a latte.

Two mugs of golden milk turmeric latte with sprinkling of cinnamon and hemp seeds on top along with a bunch of cinnamon sticks in the background

Beverage styling can be so powerful in now only making your drinks look yummy but also telling a story to resonate with your brand!I hope you’ve enjoyed these beverage styling tips. I’m not an expert and it’s a continuous learning trade, but understanding simple techniques can truly help elevate your messaging and create craveability.

This post was written by me through an activation with Community Coffee. Although I received compensation for participating in the campaign, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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