Thursday, 29 December 2011

Decaf vs Caffeine Free – What is the difference?

Caffeine is a favorite ingredient in many different beverages from around the world. It gives people a mental boost. This has been true for literally thousands of years. The first note of a caffeinated beverage is Chinese brewing tea. Legend holds that a particular Chinese emperor began the practice around 3000 BCE. Coffee was already established when the first mention of it was made in a Persian medical text in the 9th century. The kola nut, another source of caffeine, was in common use in Africa hundreds of years ago. Cocoa beans, the source of chocolate, is found as early as the 6th century BC in Middle America.

Caffeine Free Vanilla Fit FrappeUnfortunately, caffeine is not something that everyone can take all the time or even ever. Caffeine has a stimulant effect on many people. That means it revs up the metabolism and creates an alertness not there before. That has an upside. However, it can also have a downside. It can keep people awake. For those trying to get around the caffeine, there are a couple of options: decaffeinated or caffeine free.

What is the difference between decaffeinated or caffeine free? Decaffeinated items are those from which the natural caffeine has been removed. Caffeine free items are those that have no caffeine to begin with. For example, decaffeinated black tea has a regular caffeinated tea base that goes through a process to remove the caffeine. On the other hand, herbal teas are naturally caffeine free. Many like the taste of the original caffeinated item but want the decaf version to avoid the caffeine. However, decaffeinated items still usually retain one to two percent of the original caffeine content. That can easily add up over the course of a typical day.

How do you regulate your caffeine intake? Pay attention to the caffeine content of any decaf or regular beverage you drink. For example, brewed decaf coffee can contain 0.7 mgs of caffeine for every ounce, or 5.6 mgs in an 8 ounce serving. A major coffee company’s decaf product we found has 13 mgs in a 16 ounce serving. A Big Train Decaf Mocha contains considerably less. So decaf products may are not necessarily caffeine free and may vary significantly.

If you are looking for decaf and/or caffeine free gourmet beverage products check out Big Train. You can also find plenty of items in our selection without any caffeine at all. Our Lemonade gives you a refreshing boost. Our Big Train Naturals offer real fruit smoothies without any caffeine. Fit Frappe Vanilla protein drink mix has all the energy and vitamins with no caffeine, for example. Of course many of our most popular products do have caffeine. For greater service to our foodservice professionals and home baristas everywhere, we aim to provide a great selection to meet varied nutritional requirements.

For more information regarding Big Train gourmet beverage mix products, call 800 BIG TRAIN (244-8724) or go to or follow Big Train on Facebook or twitter. Look for our Big Train videos on YouTube. Cheers!

Friday, 9 December 2011

What is a Chai Tea Latte?

What is a Chai Tea Latte?

A chai tea latte starts with the chai. Chai is a term that means something a bit different when you look from its place of origin versus the Western world. Chai is a term used to refer to black tea throughout South Asia. In India, the word chai tends to mean a black tea blended with a mixture of warm spices like cardamom and cinnamon. In the Western world, chai has come to mean a beverage spiced with the warm spices found in the Indian version of the tea. Chai spice blends go well with many flavors. Lattes are a great way to serve these flavors. Latte traditionally blends hot milk and coffee. Tea lattes substitute tea for the coffee.

Chai Tea Latte

Big Train Sereno Organic Chai Tea Latte

Chai tea lattes offer you the taste of chai and the benefits of tea drinking. Many people prefer the taste of tea to coffee. Moreover, adding chai spices makes the tea even tastier. The chai blend usually has a milk base that helps make the blend smooth and a bit creamy. You can find chai added to other flavors that the Western palate flavors like chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla. The combinations are very flavorful and growing in popularity with people of all ages. If you want to make chai tea the old fashioned way, it will take experience and knowledge of how to blend the spices and tea properly to get the bright blend of flavors. Or add water to Big Train’s acclaimed chai mixes. For instructions on making homemade chai from scratch ask our twitter friend, aspiring chef, foodtrucker, & elite Yelper Sukhraj (aka “Suki”, @eatsukieat on twitter). She can give you some great tips or check out her awesome video The Best Masala Chai Tea.

If you run a café, coffee house, food truck, restaurant, or other foodservice operation, you might be wondering how you can bring chai latte beverages to your establishment. Big Train offers 15 varieties of gourmet chai blends that make delicious chai lattes, including a dairy free option so that you can use your own alternative milk or dairy product in your Chai Tea Latte recipe. And because Big Train chai mixes are powder based, they have excellent shelf life and are very versatile. Just add water for an instant amazing chai latte. In addition, Big Train carries liquid chai concentrates you can use as a base for your lattes. Big Train chais can be served hot, over ice or blended as a frappe. Big Train’s twitter page is loaded with comments with customers from around the world that love Big Train products. Like this one from @missmarisol:

“I love, love, love, love @BigTrain spiced chai. Love!”

We love what we do and we love our customers too.

Big Train’s unique blend of spices has earned recognition by taste professionals the world over. Its blend of honey, vanilla, black tea and other great flavors make a great addition to any coffee house menu. You can come up with your own combination using Big Train chai mix as a base. It is a great way to make a spectacular change to your menu.

Chai tea lattes are simple to make, but offer spectacular flavor. Big Train takes a lot of the work out of making the perfect chai tea latte with these mixes, so do it yourself. All you need to do is heat up the water and blend the tea latte. Your customers will think you spent hours in the back blending the tea and getting it just right. The fact is you have a cost effective and a fast option to provide a new menu item for your customers that will have them begging for more.

For more information regarding Big Train gourmet beverage mix products like Chai lattes, call 800 BIG TRAIN (244-8724) or go to or follow Big Train on Facebook or twitter. Look for our DIY chai tea latte recipes and instructional videos look for us on YouTube. Cheers!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

What is Eggnog?

EggNog Drink Mix by Big TrainWhat is Eggnog?

What is eggnog? That is a question that many ask when it comes around to the Christmas holidays. Eggnog is a tradition that came over to the United States and Canada from England during the 17th and 18th centuries. Due to slight differences in available ingredients as well as changing tastes, the eggnog of today is a bit different from the original English version.

Traditionally eggnog consisted of a mixture of raw eggs, sugar, milk, and spices like nutmeg. In some cases, cream was added for a thicker drink. Another ingredient commonly added to most eggnog recipes is some form of alcohol. Originally, in England, the eggnog was mixed with brandy or Sherry in order to make an eggnog that would not spoil easily. However, when this drink crossed over to North America, the availability of brandy and Sherry made the drink expensive. Substituting Rum became popular before the American Revolution. After the American Revolution, whiskey and bourbon became the liquors of choice for eggnog. Companies like Big Train make eggnog mixes to create a stand alone beverage or as a base for other holiday drink recipes. Whiskey or rum not included.

Here are some interesting facts about eggnog:

  • In North America, eggnog is connected with holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Finding eggnog other times of the year can be very difficult.
  • Today’s eggnog often contains gelatin as a thicker. Traditionally, the thickener of choice was cream.
  • The first mention of eggnog in North America was by Captain John Smith stating that eggnog was a beverage served at Jamestown in 1607.
  • The origins of the word eggnog are somewhat cloudy. Some think it is derived from Old English for eggs served in a small wooden mug.
  • While eggnog is mainly a North American drink today, there are versions found around the world. Iceland has a traditional non-alcoholic dessert that resembles eggnog. The Germans have a version that uses beer instead of hard liquor. Novemberfest?
  • Eggnog has a close tie for toasting one’s health during the holiday season. That derives from a 16th century custom.
  • Other names for eggnog include egg flip, posset, syllabub, coquito (Puerto Rico), biersuppe (Germany), rompope (Mexico) and biblia con pisco (Peru).
  • The first instance of the word eggnog appeared around 1775 according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Common spelling also include Egg Nog.

Around the holiday season, many people look forward to the flavors of eggnog. You can get that traditional flavor with Big Train Eggnog Blended Crème (great as is or with espresso) as a new seasonal gourmet drink mix. For more information on Big Train seasonal gourmet drink mixes go to or call us at 800 BIG TRAIN (244-8724). Happy holidays! What’s your favorite holiday drink?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Casein Protein – What is it? Learn the Skinny:

What is casein protein?

Casein is a type of protein mainly found in mammalian milk. It makes up over 80% of the proteins found in bovine milk and up to 65% of the protein in human breast milk. Casein is useful for many things including making cheese and in protein supplements. It is very popular with bodybuilders who want to maintain an anabolic state for longer periods.

Casein vs. Whey

How is casein protein different from whey? Casein and whey are both byproducts of milk production. The differences come in how the body processes these proteins. Casein is a slow acting protein. When the milk settles into your stomach, it becomes a solid. The body then feeds off that block of protein for hours afterwards. Whey, on the other hand, is a fast acting protein. The body can take this protein in quickly and convert it into energy. Casein is good for overall protein buildup while whey is great for immediate protein needs.

Casein Absorption Rate

What is the absorption rate for casein protein? The easiest way to measure the absorption rate is to look at when the amino acids in the blood stream tend to peak after consuming casein protein vs. whey. Blood amino acids spike 300 minutes after consumption of casein protein. With whey, that spike happens in less than 90 minutes. That is over 300% difference in time.

Casein Tastes Better

What is the flavor profile of casein protein? Casein protein offers a low flavor profile. That means it does not have a strong flavor that will overwhelm the other flavors that you might want to combine with it.

Casein Protein Sources

Where can you get casein protein? Casein protein is available in cheese products as well as in protein substitute products or supplements. Here at Big Train, we are harnessing the power of casein protein with our line of Fit Frappé™ Protein Drinks. These drinks offer over 20 grams of protein in a single serving. In fact the top ingredient is Calcium Caseinate which provides the casein protein. You get three amazingly delicious coffee flavors: Vanilla Latte, Espresso, Mocha, and two non-coffee flavors, Chocolate, or Vanilla which are great on their own or they can be used as bases for your own personal delightful protein creations.

These drinks will give you that shot of protein you want for long lasting protein power. Moreover, you can do it without high counts in calories, fat, or sugars. Too good to be true? Check out the testimonials here. The slow acting protein will give you that boost you want over the entire day. You also get a shot of caffeine to get you going. If you want a low calorie, high protein drink option, with no aftertaste, then you need to look at Big Train’s Fit Frappe line for your next high protein high energy drink.

For more information regarding Big Train’s Fit Frappé™ gourmet protein drink mixes, checkout, or call 800 BIG TRAIN (244-8724) or go to or follow Big Train on Facebook or twitter. Cheers!