Thursday, 26 January 2017

Island Oasis brings the Fuel to your favorite Big Train beverage.

There’s nothing we love more than collaborating with our partners. Usually that means you, our favorite beverage slingers and at-home baristas. This time, we’re collaborating with one of our favorite brands, Island Oasis, to bring you new ideas on how to wow your customers in the new year.

We’ve got beverages you can blend up in a minute, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made even better. Customers are looking to add wellness to their food and beverage goals for 2017, so how do you satisfy that need without sacrificing their favorite beverages? Easy: Island Oasis Fuel.

Fuel is a line of supplements created by Island Oasis to be added to or taken with a favorite beverage. It’s designed by pharmaceutical experts with quality in mind, which means it gives you and your customers the kick your drink needs without a chalky aftertaste. It can be added to a favorite smoothie mix, taken with a much-loved specialty coffee, or blended on its own. In fact, some protein flavors even come in a creamy chocolate.

The best part of Fuel by Island Oasis? We make it easy to not only get more information about each of our supplements, but to add them to the menu. Build a wellness-oriented lineup with marketing support from Island Oasis’s sales representatives. They’ll help you create menu and additive boards, order the Fuel nutrients you want to serve, and get you merchandising materials. It’s free of charge and then you can showcase your Fuel selection—including banners, smoothie club cards and nutritional information signs.

We have a few mixes we love to blend with Fuel by Island Oasis, including our Blended Iced Crème Frappé Dragonfly Coconut and our Carb Conscious Vanilla Latte Mix. Both are great ways to get started. No matter your favorite, Fuel goes flawlessly with Big Train flavors to ensure you and yours can still enjoy your regular drink and work on wellness goals.

What favorite Big Train beverage would you add a little Fuel to? Tell us in the comments!

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!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

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


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!


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.