Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Go skinny: Create options that encourage wellness

Everyone has a favorite beverage. Maybe it’s a mocha coconut iced coffee. A frothy gourmet cocoa. Or an unstoppable chai chiller. As a business owner, you want to ensure you create menu options that satisfy every customer. What do you do then with 2017’s Taste Trends pushing toward wellness? Do you throw out the old menu and opt for health-conscious options instead?

Of course not. Even the most fitness-minded person wants a little break from water and kale. Instead of throwing out the old menu, create a wellness-oriented limited time offer (LTO).

Make it petite

Champion the 8 oz. cup. A petite drink allows customers to order something a little decadent without feeling like they’re sacrificing their entire diet.

Make it light

Give your customers the option of a different blend. For example, if a mix calls for half-and-half, offer 2% milk instead. If it can be made with skim milk, consider water.

You can also let customers leave off the whipped cream and sprinkles. While they look lovely atop the drink, they can amount to empty calories the customer doesn’t need to feel satisfied.

Make it personal

Offer a perk bar. Give customers access to the syrups and sauces they might love to add to their coffees. It adds a level of customization they love while allowing them to make the drink they crave. It’s the best of both worlds.

Make it an LTO

Going the extra mile for wellness-conscious customers won’t mean a hill of (coffee) beans if they don’t know it exists. Make sure your customers see what they can get when they order their drink on the skinny by adding a section to your menu, or drive up the hype by creating a Skinny LTO. It educates them about your offerings and gets them excited about sticking to their resolutions.

Have tips to help other beverage spots go “skinny”? Share with us in the comments!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Blended Orange Peppermint Mocha Frappe

Recipe: Blended Orange Peppermint Mocha Frappe

This drink can be made with either Big Train Peppermint Mocha, or Big Train Chocolate Mint. Use the Chocolate Mint if you want to have a stronger lingering mint flavor and less coffee taste.

 

Ingredients:

5oz Orange juice

2 scoops Big Train Peppermint Mocha

12oz ice

 

Directions:

Blend till smooth.

 

16 oz drink

Peppermint drinks are extremely popular in the winter time. This fun twist is perfect for a place like southern California that is still warm and beautiful during the winter months, when customers want something winter-like but also want a frappe. Pair with most foods, but it is filling on its own.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

New year, new resolution: start reducing food waste

New year, new resolution: start reducing food waste.

Getting ahead of trends can be tricky, especially considering the demands on you as a foodservice operator. 2017 is going to be a big year in the beverage industry. Customers are expecting more than ever from their favorite spots. To make it easy on you and your in-demand schedule, we’re breaking down one trend we’re sure we can help you with.

Waste not, want not.

Millennials, especially, want to know that their favorite beverage bars are concerned about the environment. They want food and drinks that aren’t contributing to the growing landfills around the country. The best part of this, though, is eliminating waste is also great for your bottom line. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Manage food rotation.

Make sure you or your manager understand how to preserve freshness and prevent waste.

Step 2: Review recipes.

Ensure your whole team knows how to make a recipe without overpouring.

Step 3: Create inventory consistency.

Have the same person manage inventory to keep from overordering.

Just these three steps we’ve outlined could help to increase your food cost savings by 2 to 3 percent and ensure customers know you’ve got the environment top of mind when you’re making their favorite mixes.

Success is in the mix.

What if you don’t have a lot of space, many items in your inventory, or a lot of wiggle room in your budget for extras that would add up to food being wasted? That’s where we come in. Big Train prides itself on having a small footprint in your pantry or on your shelves, a smaller footprint on your wallet and an even smaller footprint on the environment. Our mixes are fast, easy to use and offer all the instructions you need to make the perfect beverage every time.

Certainly, you can always add a garnish. We recommend a slice of fruit for something sweet, or a drizzle of sauce. But the best part of our mixes? Just a bit of water (hot or cold), a blender, or ice is all it takes to ensure you don’t have to have a huge operation to keep your customers coming back for more. Plus, we have all the flavors you and yours love now and will love in 2017.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Sip on this: Hot drinks make everything better. (Science says so!)

 

There’s a lot resting on the shoulders of a hot drink. We use them to feel better, to warm us, to cool us, to create intimacy between us and someone we care about. We use them to fill us up when we’re hungry and to slow us down when we need a break from life. So is there anything to it? The answer is yes—and there have been quite a few studies to prove it.

Let’s start with what hot drinks do for us, and then we’ll get into how hot drinks can even change the perception others have of you. (Seriously.) When’s the last time you had a cold? Did you put a kettle on to treat yourself to a hot cup of something? Or did you opt for the faster, decidedly less picturesque shove-it-in-the-microwave solution to heat up a beverage? Well according to a study in 2008 at Cardiff University, hot drinks absolutely do have a placebo effect. Participants in the study reported “immediate and sustained” relief from coughing, runny nose, sneezing and more—even though there was no scientific evidence any of those things had improved. Then, there are the physiological effects of a hot drink.

Science behind hot drinksSweet flavors stimulate receptors in our mouths. It’s a lot of nerves-to-brain stem science that amounts to the fact that sweet flavors release a morphine-like compound in the brain that makes us feel good. And these reactions are enhanced by heat. So what’s this mean for you? A sweet, hot drink could make you feel just a pinch better when it comes to your next cold.

Even if you’re not sick, though, a hot drink can make you feel better. It can warm you when you’ve been sitting at a desk for too long, or cool you off when you just can’t get cold. Yep, you read that right. It can cool you off. Here’s some more science for you, straight from the University of Ottawa’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory. When hot liquid hits the thermosensors in your throat and stomach, the body turns up your sweating. If you’re wearing clothes that allow your sweat to evaporate, you’ll end up cooler than when you started sipping.

So we know what to drink when we’re sick, cold or hot, but what about drinking something to make people like us? Hot drinks are your answer. They make us seem friendlier. It’s true. The University of Colorado-Boulder published a study in the journal Science that found when holding a hot drink (as opposed to iced), we are viewed as more welcoming by others. Planning to meet someone for a drink? Maybe a hot beverage is your answer.

We like to think of all of this as hot drink magic, but it certainly is interesting to see the science behind it—even if some of it is a placebo effect. If it works that’s all that matters, so head on over to our store and pick up your favorite mixes for the colder months of the year.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Wake up and smell the coffee. Because science says so.

Coffee

Whether you’re crushing cups before a big college exam or just trying to get through the day at work, coffee has long been our best friend in its many forms. Specialty or hot and black, we reach for coffee more than any other drink out there. The smell alone can invigorate us before we have our first sip. So what’s that all about? Well, here’s some smell science for you.

Coffee is made up of many different molecules. Depending on what’s done to the bean during roasting, they can all add up to work magic on the olfactory bulb. That’s a fancy way of saying a part of your brain that recognizes odors as being good or bad. You see, all those molecules released into the air by coffee travel through your nose to register as floral or earthy, as bitter or smooth. Caffeine, for instance, smells bitter, and that scent can instantly trigger your brain to make you feel more awake and alert.

 

Here’s a few others:

Furfurylthiol: A fancy name for a molecule that is believed to be the source of that coffee smell we know and love.

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF): Offers a caramel-like sweet smell that makes people want to sip (us included).

Acetaldehyde: A flavoring additive that creates buttery notes.

Trigonelline: A cousin to caffeine, it breaks down during roasting to give coffee that roasted aroma.

Citric acid: It works with phenols to cause the bitterness of coffee as well as the dark coloration.

 

So what does it mean for us as coffee lovers? There’s an entire science wrapped up in that little bean. From the moment it’s harvested, it’s packed with the things it needs to smell (and taste!) amazing when it’s finished being roasted. Roasting coffee is an art form unto itself that enhances certain molecules and compounds to create the beloved undertones you love so much, not just in the aroma of your coffee but in the flavors, too.

Next time you brew your favorite cup, you’ll know why it smells so amazing.

Ready to really dive in and understand the chemistry of coffee? Head on over here, but be assured, coffee doesn’t have to be complicated. Just enjoy it.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Summer, fall, winter or spring: go cocoa!

Cocoa

Hot chocolate often evokes images of cold winter nights, snuggled up by the fire with a mug in hand. It’s the go-to beverage for kids fresh in from making snowmen and adults who want to add a little splash of brandy while baking holiday cookies. Well, we’ve got news. Cocoa is no longer a drink to be confined to the colder seasons. You can enjoy it any time of year, hot, cold, frozen, or over ice.

In fact, cafes and coffee houses are capitalizing on this decadent beverage–serving cocoa with swirls of whipped cream on it around the world. Where once they were seen as luxury beverages, they’re now seen as that quick, liquid fix for something sweet with just enough caffeine from the cocoa bean to keep you going.

Cocoa’s popularity has grown so large that across the Atlantic, it has surpassed both tea and coffee as the number one hot drink in England. Is it going that way in the U.S.? Trend reports are showing a slower increase here, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be on your menu. Customers look to cocoa the same way they do coffee and tea. That is, it’s a beverage meant to be indulged in daily, hot or cold. Plus with new flavors being offered every month, customers remain curious enough to keep exploring the trend.

In fact, varieties running from white chocolate to low carb cocoa are staples to have on any good cocoa menu. Plus, if you’re in a Millennial-saturated market, you might want to consider the Vivaz Mexican Spiced Cocoa, which gives every sip a lively kick that keeps a drink interesting. Committing to cocoa as a coffee house is more than just adding the traditional hot cup to your beverage selections, it’s making sure you can prepare a drink no matter what season we’re in.

We’re excited about this. Why? Because who doesn’t love chocolate? With a solid variety, customers can find new favorite flavors to order on the go. Plus, while it’s another item on the menu, gourmet cocoa doesn’t take up much space on the shelf. It’s easy to make, easy to indulge in, and even easier to bring in a profit with.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Customers are caramel crazy. (And why you should be too!)

In 2012, we had our eye on caramel. It trended high and grew right into the #2 selling flavor behind mocha. Fast forward to now? It hasn’t slowed. It’s still one of the top flavors to have on your menu—along with chocolate and vanilla—and the best part is that it can be served a variety of ways.
Because of its versatility and years-long chart-topping status, we’re upgrading caramel from trend to staple.  Demand for the gooey, warm sweetness of caramel makes it a flavor that’s going to stay. It’s something to always have on the shelf no matter what customer demographic you serve. So if you don’t have it on your menu, it’s certainly time to add it. And if you do? Consider this contender for your shelf space, too: our  Caramel Crème Blended Crème mix.

It combines the flavors customers love with the versatility of caramel—it can be served blended, iced, or hot. This makes it a perfect permanent menu item that pleases the taste buds from January to December. So where   do you start? Our caramel base can be used to create a latte or frappe, and if you want the kick of coffee, you can simply add espresso to it.

Here’s a couple recipes to get started. They’re easy to make with a base that doesn’t take up much space, and the best part? They’re even easier to drink.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A great recipe for a crowd: Java Chip

Easy to make, easy to sip.

Big Train® Cookies ‘N Cream

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Give the people what they want: Cookies ‘N Cream

It’s like heaven in a glass. Who says you can’t have dessert first?

Big Train Cookies ‘N Cream

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Where childhood and adulthood meet: Fruit Loops Frappé

This drink is made for the kid in all of us. Turn on the cartoons and travel back in time.

Big Train Fruit Loops Frappe