While raspberry iced tea may have seemed exotic a decade ago, now you’re likely to find such iced tea spiked with everything from almond to blood orange. Signature iced coffee drinks with flavored syrups and even gelato mixed in are enticing customers to chill out and head the café on hot summer days.

Looking to make your beverage offerings even cooler? A good place to begin is with the bases of a black tea, a green tea and a fruity herbal tea. Add just three more mix-ins, like fresh raspberries, mixed berries and mango, and you have a lot of possibilities. In fact, this is the blueprint for iced tea at Jazzman’s, says Scott Barrineau, senior brand mananger, Sodexo, who oversees the coffee and tea brand at over 200 accounts across the segments.

Early this summer, blackberry sage tea will be added, and later in the summer, watermelon mint tea will make a splash.

“The barista is really the new bartender,” Barrineau says, referring to the skill set needed: from mixing delicious drinks to recommending a great new minty mocha green tea chai to customers who wouldn’t normally go beyond a sweet tea.

Here are some of his tips for getting some great customer service brewing:

Good ‘Mixologist’ Work Practices

With all the customization, multi-tasking and quick thinking involved in the new world of iced coffees and teas, it makes one wonder: Is the barista the new bartender?

“When hiring, we look for someone with bartending experience or at least a bartender personality,” Barrineau says. “Baristas, when serving herbal teas and fruit juices, are the bartenders of health.”

Barrineau says the most important thing for a successful customizable iced coffee and tea program is fresh product. The next most important thing is customer service. Here are some things that a good staff member should do to sell iced tea and coffee:

-     Be knowledgeable about the product. Employees should all sample everything and know what’s in it and how it tastes.

-      Let customers know about health benefits of the products. Jazzman’s new iced teas, Blackberry Sage and Watermelon Mint teas are both made with caffeine-free herbal tea. If you have super-fruits, antioxidants or green tea, make sure that’s being communicated.

-     Sell the flavors. Try this line: “Would you like an iced coffee? Vanilla is my favorite.” Barrineau says this highly personal method is a great way to highlight the flavors you are offering and can help you upsell a customizable experience.