Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Coffee Trade Shows: Big Train Visits St. Louis for Coffee Fest

We were excited to be a part of Coffee Fest, one of the leading tea and coffee trade shows, earlier this month in St. Louis. Coffee Fest has been serving the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992 and is viewed by most as the best trade show in America and around the world specifically for those involved with retailing coffee, tea and related products.

If it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, goes well with coffee or is coffee you will find it at Coffee Fest! Everything under the sun that is found in an upscale coffee shop on either side of the counter, including the counter was on the exhibition floor. The best coffee retail education, training and workshops were present to network and learn from each other.


Coffee Fest started out as true celebration of coffee with a consumer coffee show hosted in Seattle in 1992. What began with 65 exhibitors and more than 2,500 attendees sharing coffee with the general public has blossomed into shows that sport more than 300 booths with close to 10,000 attendees serving the coffee trades. The “little coffee show that could” boasts a track record of 16 years and more than 50 shows of consistently and confidently pushing specialty coffee retailers to be the best.

Several members of the Big Train team were on-hand and also participated in the America’s Best Coffeehouse (ABC) Competition. The ABC competition is basically what you’ve seen from town papers like “the best cafe in town.” But, Coffee Fest took this to a national stage and coast to coast. In addition to the completed application, each participating coffee brand must also submit either a three minute video highlighting the coffeehouse, the team members, and the attributes that they believe make them the best coffeehouse in North America, or a picture of the coffeehouse and team members.


Ray Rule, Levi Andersen, Andy Solheim, Katie Fordonski participate in the America’s Best Coffee House Competition.

The exact recipes used included:

Maple Bacon Whiskey Shake
4 oz Jet Blended Beverage Base
12 oz ice
0.75 oz DaVinci Gourmet Maple
1 oz Jim Beam bourbon
1 strip bacon

Strawberry Bomb Smoothie
2 oz Jet Strawberry Bomb
3 oz Jet Margarita
1.5 oz tequila
0.75 oz Triple Sec
16 oz ice

Boozed Banana Freeze
1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Chocolate
0.75 oz DaVinci Gourmet Banana
4 oz Jet Blended Beverage Base
1.5 oz vodka
16 oz ice

It was great being submerged with fellow industry experts and enthusiasts to be apart of this event!

For more information about Big Train, visit BigTrain.com. For more information about Coffee Fest go to CoffeeFest.com.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Coffee Podcast for Baristas: Audio Cafe

Coffee Podcast for Baristas

Coffee Podcast for Baristas: Check out Audio Cafe, a weekly coffee show crafted for those passionate about specialty coffee. Podcast episodes includes, tips, tricks, and interviews of influential folks in the coffee business.

Looking for a Coffee Podcast for baristas or coffeehouse operators? If you love coffee and enjoy listening to podcasts, you definitely want to check out the Audio Cafe podcast!

Hosted by Levi Andersen, aka @boyrista on twitter, this weekly coffee podcast is crafted for people working or in love with specialty coffee. Levi is the Beverage Product Specialist for Kerry (DaVinci Gourmet, Big Train, Oregon Chai, Jet & Caffe D’Amore brands). He is basically our lead barista – he takes all of the existing products and flavorings and creates on-trend recipes for Big Train products and other Kerry foodservice brands on My Drink Works.

He gets to fly to events to speak in addition to hosting customers (like chief executive of some of the largest coffeehouses in the world) who visit our corporate office. Levi also trains sales teams on how to use the products and often joins meetings they have with visitors from large coffee/fast-food/chain/restaurant chains. and make them amazing drinks. He also gets to help develop new products.

Its fun, fast, and challenging, and I love it,  says Levi. Working in the Specialty Coffee industry in general is awesome. There are so many great people who share their knowledge openly because they genuinely love what they do and want to make a lasting difference. Speaking at Coffee Fest trade shows has been a personal highlight.

Levi’s podcast features interviews about brew methods, customer service, staffing, tips and tricks like opening a coffee shop, tea 101, and discovering the best cafes around.

It’s designed to pair with your americano or cappuccino as you learn from the top leaders in the coffee industry. The voices of those who participate include cafe owners, coffee growers, roasters, baristas, managers and chefs sharing real stories and advice.

Levi details what the coffee house podcast is about and why he started it

While working in many different aspects of coffee I kept seeing that people want to connect. There are many great resources our there like magazines (Barista, Roast, Fresh Cup, etc.) websites (Barista, Roast, Sprudge, Barista Exchange, etc) and even now a TV show, Dangerous Grounds. But at the time, there were no active podcasts about coffee. Personally I’ve listened to 1056 hours of podcasts just on my iPhone in 2 years. That’s 44 days of podcasts. And I’m not alone, a lot of people are doing this.

So, I knew there was a need for a coffee podcast, the only question was how should it relate to coffee exactly? Looking at what was out there already was helpful because I didn’t want to do what they were already doing. And I wanted to do something that was an extension of myself and my experiences.

A part of me wanted to talk about what they were covering like café styles, the history of espresso, and black coffee vs having cream, but I needed to make it my own and unique. So I decided to target the people who really need the most help: baristas, coffeehouse owners and managers. And I will speak to them from my own experiences of owning my coffee stand.

If your hands touch coffee, then your ears deserve to listen to this podcast. Many big issues are covered, like water quality’s effect espresso and what that means for the ‘average joe’ and the Single Origin connoisseur. These lessons are worth their own weight in Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Panama Esmerelda Especial Mario Carnaval green beans.

The podcast has also been transitioning to Google Hangouts as well. These Hangouts are recorded and streamed live. There is also a chat room for attendees to ask questions. After the events, the recorded videos are searchable on YouTube.

Levi plans to host two hangouts per month, with the next one scheduled for April 21st. The last hangout had 8 people, which adds a layer of exclusivity and intimacy. During the last Hangout, the group talked about latte art in cafes along with dos and don’t, why at all, what it means to be a customer, etc.

Some hangouts are geared to consumers while others are geared toward baristas. The last barista podcast was aimed at people who make coffee for customers. The groups shared tips, tricks, and concerns. In the future, Levi plans to type an outline and vision in advance to display the reasons an average coffee drinker may want to attend and watch.

For more information about Levi’s coffee podcast go here: Audio Cafe . For more information about Kerry’s foodservice beverage brands go MyDrinkWorks.com.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Coffee Fest Chicago 2013 | Big Train Wins Best New Product Award

Coffee Fest Chicago 2013 was a blast! Two weeks ago from June 8-10, baristas, roasters, business owners, and coffee lovers alike flocked to Navy Pier to learn about the newest, up-and-coming trends in the specialty coffee industry at Coffee Fest Chicago.  Coffee Fest has served the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992 by joining relevant educational programs with an informative trade show floor.  Through the years, Coffee Fest has created a successful show that now sports over 300 booths—and this year Big Train was one of them!  We had the chance to see a lot of new products, coffee and tea-making techniques, and meet many wonderful, coffee-loving people!

Coffee Fest Trade Show

Coffee Fest Trade Show

Big Train is happy to now be a party of the Kerry family and was thrilled to be a part of their booth at this year’s Coffee Fest. Kerry was the very first booth as customers entered the trade show, so we got a bunch of traffic!  Big Train was a big hit at the Kerry booth; people had the chance to take home samples of the Blended Iced Coffee and Blended Iced Crème products.  People visited our booth multiple times in order to get as many samples as possible!  We blended up free samples of our Blended Ice Coffee Kona Mocha and Blended Ice Crème Caramel during set up and registration which brought a lot of attention to the booth both before and during the show. We also said hello to several of our current customers and welcomed new ones.

Big Train at Coffee Fest Chicago 2013

Big Train as part of the Kerry booth at Coffee Fest Chicago

Throughout the show, Big Train appeared as an industry leader in a lot of ways! One of our in-house baristas held a Blending Seminar where she taught people how to properly use Big Train products in the best, most efficient way possible.  This seminar definitely made us look like a frontrunner in the industry and we had people come up to the booth afterwards and tell us how helpful it was.

We also featured many of our products at our booth, including the new Caramel Blended Iced Frappe Crème mix as well as the new Kona Mocha Blended Iced Coffee mix.  Coffee Fest even chose to highlight Big Train’s Fit Frappes, Blended Cremes, and Real Fruit Smoothies as “special [and] outstanding products” throughout the show.  Big Train ALSO won third place in the New Product Showcase for our Fit Frappe Spiced Chai!

We noticed many new and interesting trends while visiting other booths at the show.  Many booths were advertising “organic” and “indulgent” oatmeal as a snack or meal to go along with coffee and tea.  Oatmeal has low levels of fat and calories and high levels of protein and fiber, so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular! Though it was a bit unique to see oatmeal at a coffee trade show, the delicious, good-for-you breakfast food is becoming a staple in many coffee shops.

Overall, Big Train had a very productive and positive experience at Coffee Fest! We gained many new customers and continued to make Big Train a leading brand in the coffee industry! Special thanks to Brittany Crouch, Theresa Pope, Jennifer William, Lani Peterson, Paul Bulthuis, Andy Solheim, Louise Kruse, and Wyatt Edenfield for making this all possible.

For more information about Coffee Fest, go to www.coffeefest.com

For more information about Big Train, visit our website at www.bigtrain.com or call 800-BIG TRAIN (244-8724)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Maddie James Seaside Learning Center Grand Opening


On Saturday, May 18, 2013 hundreds of participants in the A Mile for Maddie walk were present for the grand opening of the Seaside Learning Center located in Dana Point, California, just a few miles south of Big Train’s headquarters. The Center is built along the Dana Point waterfront, and boasts exciting new facilities that will introduce oceanography, environmental science and maritime history to locals and visitors alike, but especially K-12 students in honor of the beautiful Maddie James.

Thousands of walkers have participated in A Mile for Maddie over the past two years, raising a total of $160,000. This money has gone a long way towards helping The Maddie James Foundation to achieve its initial goal of raising $1 million, in order to secure the naming rights to the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center (at the Ocean Institute).

Big Train was honored to be a part of the grand opening of this amazing endeavor. We were onsite, serving up samples of our Fit Frappe™ protein drinks to the hundreds of participants. Our healthy and delicious beverage was a natural fit for the crowd in attendance, as it offers a low-calorie and high-protein drink that’s perfect before or after the 1.2-mile walk.

Check out the slideshow below for some images of our booth, the crowd as well as the children of one of our very own, meeting marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland. We’ve added in some videos of A Mile for Maddie and also the grand opening.


Grand Opening of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center
Serving Up Some Fit Frappe™
Serving Up Some Fit Frappe™

Offering some healthy and refreshing Fit Frappe beverages, with the help of our young assistant.

Crowd Gathers to Show Support
Crowd Gathers to Show Support

A large group of people came to show their support for Maddie and the Learning Center whose completion was due to The Maddie James Foundation.

Meeting the Artist, Wyland
Meeting the Artist, Wyland

A group of excited children met marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland.

Maddie James Seaside Learning Center 2013 Grand Opening

Maddie James Seaside Learning Center Grand Opening 2013….The dream becomes reality.
Be sure to come and visit the new center on the dock the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, Ca.

Play Video
Click To Play
Maddie James Foundation, A Mile for Maddie 2012

A Mile for Maddie 2012 Event Highlights with The Ocean Institute of Dana Point as host.
A very special heartfelt “Thank You” to all of our valued sponsors,contributors and volunteers. Video credits: Reflections Video Productions

Play Video
Click To Play


For more information about Maddie James Foundation go to http://maddiejamesfoundation.org/

For more information about Big Train go to BigTrain.com or call 800 BIG TRAIN (244-8724).


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Define The New You in 2013

How will You Define the New You in the New Year? Tell us your 2013 Health & Fitness Goals and Win.

In order to help our customers keep their healthy New Year’s resolutions and reach their fitness goals, we are promoting Fit Frappé as a healthy way to stay on track in 2013. We are encouraging consumers to “Define the New You in 2013” by going to our landing page and telling us how they plan to achieve their goals in the new year.

As part of this promotion Big Train is holding a contest for consumers. Go to BigTrain.com/DefineTheNewYou to view the video (or see the YouTube video below) then head over to the Define the New You Contest page and enter to win! Consumers can fill out their name, email and phone number to be entered into a drawing to win one of over 200 prizes:

  • 100 Fit Frappe Tumblers
  • 100 Fit Frappe protein drink shakers
  • Grand Prize: 10 Asics Fitness Packages

Promotion begins January 7th and ends January 31, 2013. Winners will be selected at random and will be notified after the promotional period ends. For giveaway details and terms and conditions go here.

About this Project.

The idea behind the “Define the New You in 2013” video was to showcase friends, customers and some of southern California’s brightest in the social media and health/fitness communities, asking them how they will be reaching their goals in 2013. In total, there were about 30 participants and their responses primarily focused on health/fitness and life improvement. The photo shoot itself was a blast, taking place near the train station in San Juan Capistrano, with a fantastic brunch at nearby restaurant, Sarducci’s.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Big Train Stops at Compete 4 Causes (C4C) 5K with #WLSFA

Recently Big Train discovered Compete 4 Causes, a non profit organization dedicated to raising support and public awareness for charitable causes while promoting Fitness & Wellness. Since Launching Fit Frappé (outrageously delicious café style protein drink mixes) in the health and fitness industry, the Bariatric community has really embraced this protein drink mix line. Sandi Henderson from Banded Living was kind enough to invite Big Train to support the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America (WLFSA) booth at the event. It was great to meet WLSFA YouTube sensation Wendy Campbell aka Banded Wendy. Antonia Namnath, CEO and Founder of WLSFA was there too!

C4C WLSFA Banded Wendt Sandi Henderson

Banded Wendy, Jim from Big Train 'n Sandi Henderson

It was a gorgeous southern California day, perfect for a run. Fun fact: Banded Wendy runs to techno music. The event was held on the Cal State Northridge University campus. There were no earthquakes! (Knocking on wood.)  Big Train handed out samples of our Fit Frappé line to race participants. The response was very enthusiastic.

We met some great people including the lovely Lea Crosetti, Founder of BariAthletes.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Coffeehouse Hillbilly Beans in Olympia Washington Wins Coffee Fest Blender Prize Package from Big Train

In September Big Train attended Coffee Fest Seattle, where we held a contest to give  away a blender prize package. Anyone who signed up for our OnTrack™ Rewards program during the show had a chance to win a Vitamix Drink Machine Advanced blender, two pitchers and 3 free cases of product mixes. When the dust settled, the winner was a coffee shop called Hillbilly Beans, located near Olympia, WA. The owners were kind of enough to contribute to a little FAQ, so without further ado we present to you…

Hillbilly Beans In Olympia, Washington

Coffeehouse Hillbilly Beans Olympia Washington

Where are you located?

We are located in Littlerock, Washington which is between Olympia and Grand-mound at the foothills of Capitol Forest.

What types of drinks do you offer?

We offer iced, blended, and hot coffee drinks, teas, smoothies and protein shakes.

Are you known for any type of particular drink?

All of our drinks have funny “hillbilly” names. A white chocolate mocha is called a Ma’s Favorite, a mocha is called a Moonshine, Blended coffees are called Mashed, whipped cream is considered opossum pie topping and so on. Skunks seem to be one of our most popular drink; it is white chocolate and chocolate combined. Some customers enjoy a little raspberry flavor with the chocolate and white chocolate, which is called Road Kill.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

4 Ways to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Guest Blogger: MaryAnne Wendt

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. (BreastCancer.org)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Take care of yourself every year and get a mammogram!

4 Things you can do to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

1-Think Pink – Wear pink all month long!

2- Get a mammogram – Now is the perfect time to get a mammogram. That way you can’t forget to get one every year. You’ll be reminded every October that it’s time to take care of yourself.

3- Donate – There are several organizations out there that raise funds for breast cancer research. HerHighway proudly supports 10 groups, including Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Society and Avon. Click here and pick your favorite charity! Your donation is greatly appreciated.

4- Spread the word! Share as much information as you can with your family and friends. Make sure every woman you know is taking care of herself, too.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Irvine Coffeehouse Paradise Perks Hosts Luau Fruit Smoothie Tasting Tweet-up

When Big Train recently launched all new blender-ready pour over real fruit smoothie mixes, we wanted to share our latest line of drink mix products with some local consumers. We reached out to Marcie Taylor aka @suburbanmama on twitter, a social media strategist based in Irvine. Marcie connected us with Beth, the owner at Irvine Coffeehouse Paradise Perks. What a great idea!

Irvine Coffeehouse Paradise Perks

Jim from Big Train & Beth at Paradise Perks

After meeting Beth at Paradise Perks in Irvine, we were excited to learn they had been serving Big Train products for years including Big Train Spiced Chai and Dragonly frappes, an Asian themed line of ice blended creme mixes like Taro, Green Tea, Thai tea etc. Paradise Perks was the perfect venue to showcase new real fruit smoothie mixes. And so we set our Luau plans in motion.

Real Fruit Smoothie Tasting Tweet Up

Beth promoted the event, had her staff dress in Hawaiian attire and offered up a great menu:

  • coconut shrimp
  • wings of fire
  • bacon wrapped pineapple
  • fruit platter
Hold your Luau at Paradise Perks

Have your next Luau at Paradise Perks

Local ten year old blogger @TinyTechie offered to provide her interpretation of tropical desserts: Pineapple Beach Cupcakes.

Coconut Beach Cupcakes

Coconut Beach Cupcakes

@tinytechie cupcakes


@kimikor and @maryannewendt

@kimikor and @maryannewendt


@hoda007 sporting an orange lei

Lady Lux Swimwear
also from Irvine offered special discounts for attendees.
Lady Lux Swimwear


Big Train brought a Vitamix Quiet One Blender, new Real Fruit Smoothie pour-over-ice smoothie mixes, a treasure box full of Big Train drink mix samples, and a huge box of leis.
While Hawaiian music played, our Luau guests enjoyed great food, samples all the new Real Fruit Smoothie Mixes(Strawberry, Mango, Superfruit, Strawberry Banana, Peach and Wildberry). Beth and her staff were very accommodating and were great to work with.

Paradise Perks Staff

Paradise Perks Staff is great!

OC Foodie Mavens

Foodie Mavens Suki and @MadHungryWoman

Luau Tweet Up

Christiny rockin' the blender

Sampling Smoothies

@TheBigDebowski & friends

Suki Angie Weeks Kathy Klingaman Cheryl Hawley

Suki, Angie Weeks, Kathy Klingaman, Cheryl Hawley

The event was a success! Many thanks to Marcie Taylor, Beth from Paradise Perks, Lady Lux Swimwear, @TinyTechie for the amazing cupcakes, and of course our friends and guests. Special thanks to Jenn and Christiny from Big Train’s marketing team that worked tirelessly to make it all happen.



Monday, 2 July 2012

HSN Big Train Frozen Frappe Drink Mixes on Home Shopping Network!

HSN Frappe drink mixes! For the first time ever, Big Train products were made available via national television on the Home Shopping Network on Monday, July 2nd.

It all started when HSN came looking for some delicious drink mixes to sell as part of HSN’s 35th Anniversary celebration. What better way to celebrate than to offer up amazing coffeehouse style drinks that can be enjoyed at home, right? Mixing up several Big Train frappe mix flavors on live television created a lot of excitement here at Big Train’s headquarters in Lake Forest California. We could practically taste the drinks from here.

Big Train Frappe Blended Drink Mixes on HSN













A lot of preparation and planning went into getting ready for the HSN airing. After presenting a variety of options, and lots of taste testing, and tremendous effort behind the scenes to prepare for the live show, Big Train and HSN worked together to offer 8 Big Train yummy drink flavors in two exclusive fun packages:

The first package they presented was the “Fun Flavors” Pack. Each pack contains:

HSN Fun Frappe Flavors

Fun Flavors Pack


  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Bubble Gum
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Strawberry Banana
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Orange Creme
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Cotton Candy


The second package they decided to offer was the “Sophisticated Flavors” pack which includes:

Sophisticated Frappe flavors on HSN

Sophisticated Flavors Pack

  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Cookies n’ Creme
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Southern Velvet
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – Root Beer Float
  • 11.3 oz. Frozen Frappe Drink Mix – New York Cheesecake


Keri Maletto HSN Host for BigTrainBig Train and HSN selected Keri Maletto to be the lead on-air host. In addition to her experience as a fun and vivacious host for the Home Shopping Network, Keri has appeared in feature films like Dolphin Tale and television shows like Burn Notice and The Glades. Keri did a fantastic job presenting HSN’s exclusive Big Train drink mix products on HSN highlighting Big Train’s value to consumers that are looking for great tasting cafe style products that are easy to make. She even suggested some great ideas like adding strawberry liqueur to flavors like our New York Cheesecake frappe mix to create a yummy Strawberry Cheesecake Frappe cocktail for example. She also mixed up Cookies ‘n Cream, Bubble Gum and Orange Crème blended ice drink flavors. Great job Keri!


HSN created a Big Train brand page on their website where these exclusive products are available for sale in case you missed the program today. Hurry though, there is a limited supply and these products will likely sell out soon.

Did you miss the live show? No worries the show will run again at around 12:00 noon and again at 5:45 pm EDT.To view HSN’s Program Guide go here. Watch HSN live on your computer by clicking here:

For more information on these exclusive HSN Drink Products go here. For more information about Big Train go to Big Train.com.

HSN Big Train Beverage Mixes