Coffee isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are at a business meeting, do you have to swallow and drink it up? Or is there another alternative?

Follow from my last post on coffee meetings, I thought it’d be a good idea to explore some of the alternatives to drinking coffee. Personally, I don’t like coffee, not one bit! Some of you are probably thinking “how do you get through life?” But if you’ve ever met me, you’ll realise I don’t actually need it. In fact, it would probably be a very scary site if I ever did consume caffeine on this level. Some say it’d be like Hammy from Over the Hedge.

Hammy in Over the Hedge when he takes a sip of caffeine.
Hammy in Over the Hedge when he takes a sip of caffeine.

Yeah that’s right, I’d this crazy! Even just caffeine in general would probably make me nuts. Thus I neither drink Red Bull, black tea nor coke.

Anyways, the point of all this is that if you aren’t a coffee drinker (like me) you can still enjoy coffee dates. Here are some alternates so you can still have that deal-making meeting and enjoy your beverage at the same time (they are all round about the same price as a good coffee so you aren’t going to lose out on your dollars).

  • Chai Latte – these are rapidly becoming more popular. It’s one of my personal favourites. If made properly you receive an incredible mix of spices in a milky blend. Honey is often included to compliment the range of flavours. It’s hard to find a good chai latte and reviewing every café’s chai is similar to the way people scrutinise coffee, it’s a lot of fun. You can try it with a range of different milks. I prefer soy milk since the slightly ‘nutty’ flavour of soy complements the blend of spices. Chai is one of those things that has a whole range of varieties just like coffee. If you want to experiment, try having different blends – some chai adds in pumpkin, mango, vanilla or extra spices; others simply make the chai a certain way.

    Chai Latte (image thanks to gelare)
    Chai Latte (image thanks to gelare)
  • Hot Chocolate – although it might be seen as something a little childish, you definitely can’t go past this on a cold day. There are a tonne of different types from rich Italian hot chocolates to thick Spanish hot chocolates through to flavoured (peanut, mint, chilli, caramel, you name it probably exists) so you can always find something to suit you.

    Who doesn't love a yummy hot chocolate with marshmallows or a dollop of cream? (Image thanks to Bay Side Journal)
    Who doesn’t love a yummy hot chocolate with marshmallows or a dollop of cream? (Image thanks to Bay Side Journal)
  • Tea – hailing from the rich and powerful English aristocracy, tea is a much more refined way to enjoy a coffee date. With stores like T2 however, tea is becoming much more fun. Depending on your meeting, you might want to go for a dainty French Earl Grey, a funky Jade Mountain or a warm and cosy Apple Crumble (yes they are all T2 teas I just mentioned). Pick a tea for your mood, the time of day, the weather, the kind of meeting you are having and the statement you want to make. Ooooo and there is a thing now called tea latte; totally keen to try one of these.

    There are so many different types of teas and lots of them have a range of health benefits (image thanks to Healthista and Bigstock)
    There are so many different types of teas and lots of them have a range of health benefits (image thanks to Healthista and Bigstock)
  • Tea Latte – yes this is new and it’s a thing. Not many places do it but if you find one I encourage you to try it out. It’s just what the name implies, tea with frothed milk (genius!)

    Green Tea Latte (image thanks to Starbucks - yes, believe it or not, even Starbucks has these)
    Green Tea Latte (image thanks to Starbucks – yes, believe it or not, even Starbucks has these)
  • Iced brews – there are many different iced drinks from smoothies to iced teas, frappes and milkshakes. In Australia (and even in Melbourne during the middle of summer) it can become very hot. A coffee catch up might not be the ideal setting to have a meeting. No one will want to listen to anyone else is they are hot, sweaty, and boiling up from the inside. Saying that, not many people will go past a good iced coffee (or iced chocolate) on a hot day.
    Iced Coffee (image thanks to Torani) notice the ice cubes as opposed to the iced blend in the next pic
    Iced Vanilla, Iced Hazelnut and Iced Caramel Lattes (image thanks to Torani) notice the ice cubes as opposed to the iced blend in the next pic

    Iced Frappe (image thanks to Williams & Sonoma)
    Iced Chocolate Frappe (image thanks to Williams & Sonoma)
  • Mocha – okay, so you need caffeine to get you through the day, but you don’t like coffee (again, take me for example… I don’t even like the smell of coffee, let alone its taste). So what do you do? Mix it with chocolate of course. Chocolate makes everything better! Some people pile spoonfuls of sugar into their coffee to make it drinkable. Chocolate is a much better option. It’s cocoa flavour compliments the coffee, making a rich brew of creamy goodness (disclaimer – I am not speaking from experience here, only from what others’ say. One of my friends is a coffee conisewer so I trust his judgement. Combine that with both my brother and sister’s knowledge and expertise on the matter and I say it’s a pretty accurate assessment). Lots of people start by drinking coffee this way and slowly reduce the amount of chocolate. You can do this or you can simply order your mocha and join in the coffee conversations.

    You can put any type of chocolate in a mocha! (image thanks to Cook Diary)
    You can put any type of chocolate in a mocha! (image thanks to Cook Diary)

With the vast number of options available, don’t be afraid to order what you really want. Guaranteed not everyone in your party will be having the same thing. I’ve heard every kind of drink order imaginable, from a Piccolo to a small-skinny-flat-white-double-shot-espresso-no-sugar, a dirty-chai (coffee and chai together), a Magic (what even?), and a take-away-short-black (“grrr the bane of any coffee maker’s existence” in the words of my sister).

One thing I will caution against is trying new drinks at a business meeting. If you are the kind of person who likes to test everything no matter who is around then go for it. If you’re a little fussy then maybe experiment with a friend before taking it to the business realm. You don’t want to be left with a half hour meeting and a drink you can’t down because it’s not nice.

I hope you’ve found this somewhat useful and opened up your mind to the many varieties of “socially acceptable” drinks. But hey, if all this fails, there is always the business-meeting-over-a-beer option; I’ve done this a few times, just make sure no one drinks too much!

 

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