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

Friday, 9 September 2016

Beverage customers redefine “healthy.”

A healthy drink, to consumers, is more than just caloric intake. It’s better-for-you ingredients that are increasing sales.

The term “healthy” is everywhere. We see it on packages in the grocery aisles and bottles in the refrigerators. It’s decorating our Facebook newsfeeds along with the latest trends in diet and exercise. It’s become synonymous with low fat in some circles, low sugar in others. But when it comes to selling beverages, what does “healthy” really mean to the consumer?

Customers themselves are redefining the term. They’re focusing less on nutrition labels and more on ingredients. They want drinks that are fresher and less processed. They’re ordering beverages that take effort to make—ones they can’t simply pull off the local grocery store’s shelf, uncap and drink. We’re talking mixers that are homemade or fresh-picked. They want locally-sourced herbs and handpicked fruit garnishes.

In addition to muddling your customer’s next beverage, you can also take a look at your menu. Even the way you describe a drink can begin an experience for the consumer long before the first sip. For a healthy drink, consumers are looking for premium cues. A descriptive word or two can make all the difference between ‘a lemonade and vodka’ and ‘a freshly-squeezed lemonade and vodka’ to your customers. Are you creating this experience in your business?

The good news is, implementing this style of beverage into your menu isn’t difficult, even if you also have consumers who prefer the classic definition of healthy. You can easily keep a drink under 150 calories with juices, nectar and lower proof alcohol. It’s the best of both worlds when it comes to the healthier, better-for-you beverage trending in the market. Just remember, never call a drink ‘skinny’ when you want to market it as healthy. Customers tend to think it means poor flavor and crazy amounts of artificial sweetener. You definitely don’t want to give the wrong impression.

Besides with fresh ingredients and a low calorie count, you don’t need the word ‘skinny’. You can keep your customers satisfied, your margins profitable, and your drinks flowing without it.

Tell us, what trends have you heard about in the market and want more information on?


Friday, 20 May 2016

Big Train to Attend Coffee Fest 2016 in Dallas

Coffee Fest Dallas 2016: Where passionate coffee and tea professionals will learn skills, receive education and experience new products, plus great networking!

The Big Train team is excited to participate once again in this leading tea and coffee trade show.

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.

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.

In 2013, we took home a best new product award, taking home third place in the New Product Showcase for our Fit Frappe Spiced Chai!

Coffee Fest chose to highlight our Fit Frappes, Blended Cremes, and Real Fruit Smoothies as “special [and] outstanding products” throughout the show.

In 2014, 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.

If it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, goes well with coffee or is coffee you will find it at Coffee Fest!

One of their primary features is the Drink Innovations Lab allows brands to showcase innovative new drinks.

In partnership with our sister brands DaVinci Gourmet and Oregon Chai, Big Train will be represented at the show.

Throughout the event, we’ll be making custom beverages showcasing featured recipes and products.

This year, Big Train will be highlighting three flavors of our blended ice coffees: Mocha, Vanilla Latte, and Cookies n Crème

Featured recipes made at this year’s show include:

Wild Berry Oat Smoothie

  • 8 oz Davinci Gourmet Very Berry Smoothie Mix
  • 2 oz steel cut oats, blended
  • 14 oz ice
  • Add all ingredients to a pitcher and blend until smooth

Salted Caramel Banana Smoothie

  • 2 scoops Big Train Vanilla Smoothie
  • 1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Hawaiian Salted Caramel
  • 1 frozen browned banana
  • Dusting of cinnamon
  • 12 oz ice
  • Add all ingredients to a pitcher and blend until smooth

Green Smoothie

  • 8 oz DaVinci Gourmet Gratifying Greens Smoothie Mix
  • ¼ avocado
  • 0.25 oz lemon juice or slice of lemon (no seeds)
  • 16 oz ice
  • Add all ingredients to a pitcher and blend until smooth

Twice Spiced Cider

  • 1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Chinese Five Spice
  • 7 oz apple juice
  • Optional: 1.5 oz clear tequila
  • Add ingredients in order, garnish with spices like ginger slices and lime wedges

Strawberry Basil Lassi

  • 1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Fruit Innovations Strawberry (infused with basil)
  • 5 oz milk
  • 10 oz greek yogurt
  • Lightly stir, garnish with 1-3 fresh basil leaves

Raspberry Fields Lemonade

  • 1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Pacific Northwest Raspberry
  • 3 oz lemon juiced
  • 4 oz water (also works with soda)
  • Ice
  • Add ingredients in order, garnish with a lemon wheel

Coconut Cold Brew Frappe

  • 2 scoops Big Train Vanilla Smoothie
  • 5 oz cold brew
  • 0.75 oz DaVinci Gourmet Natural Coconut
  • 12 oz ice
  • Blend

Fruit Loops Frappe

  • 2 scoops Big Train Vanilla Bean Blended Crème
  • 5 oz water
  • 2 oz fruit cereal of choice
  • 12 oz ice
  • Blend garnish with whipped cream and cereal

Cookies ‘N Cream

  • 2 scoops Big Train Cookies ‘N Cream
  • 5 oz water
  • 12 oz ice
  • Blend

Arnold Palmer Bubbler

  • 1 oz Oregon Chai Extra Spicy Super Concentrate
  • 1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Fruit Innovations Lemonade
  • 10 oz soda water
  • 12 oz ice
  • Add ingredients in order listed and garnish with a lemon wedge

Salted Caramel Matcha Chai

  • 5 oz Oregon Chai Salted Caramel
  • 5 oz half and half
  • 1 tbsp matcha
  • Blend
  • Pour into ice filled glass

Blended Spicy Cucumber Lemonade

  • 4 oz Big Train Lemon Cooler
  • 0.25 oz DaVinci Gourmet Habanero
  • 4 oz water
  • 1 thin slice of fresh cucumber
  • 16 oz ice
  • Blend drink, pour into cup, garnish with lemon wheel on rim

If you’ll be joining us in Dallas June 10-12, stop by and visit us in booths #500 and #502!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Vanilla Fit Frappe Cold Brew

Help guests power through their days in a healthy way with a cool, blended beverage boasting rich vanilla flavor and an extra boost of energy from cold brewed coffee.

Vanilla Fit Frappe Cold Brew
Serves: 1 16 oz Serving
  • 2 scoops (54g) Big Train Fit Frappé Vanilla
  • 3 oz Cold Brewed Coffee
  • 3 oz Water
  • 12 oz Ice
  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend together.
  2. Serve.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Fit Frappe Dirty Chai

Wake up and warm up customers with a unique, caffeinated drink featuring protein-packed, bold and spicy chai mixed with fresh-brewed coffee.

Fit Frappe Dirty Chai
Serves: 1 16 oz Serving
  • 2 scoops (54g) Big Train Fit Frappé Chai
  • 14 oz Hot Coffee
  1. Stir together powder and coffee.
  2. Serve.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Iced Jameson Matcha Chai

Iced Jameson Matcha Chai

Iced Jameson Matcha Chai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 Serving
  • 1.5 oz DaVinci Gourmet Hawaiian Salted Caramel
  • 2 oz Oregon Chai Extra Spicy Super Concentrate
  • 5 oz Half & Half
  • 2 oz Jameson Whiskey
  • 1 tbsp Matcha Powder
  1. Pulse-blend together, pour over ice.
  2. To make hot follow the same steps above, but without pouring over ice. Instead, go directly into heating the liquid.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Pre-Batching Drinks – Thirst Trends

Speeding up service times & Elevating drink consistency

Pre-batching coffee beverages

What stands out on the menu to you?

Let’s talk about dining out the offerings that grab your eye from a menu. Besides the specific dishes, personally, I’m attracted to words and phrases like: local, “house made,” and “house batched.” It just catches my eye, am I alone?
Obviously not everything can be made in house or local, because of sourcing, resources and costs. But I’ve noticed more businesses are batching ingredients on site. Of course places like bakeries already do this with their pastries, and the realization of the benefits are catching on within the beverage world as well.
When a business has a seasonal special promotion or LTO beverage it will hopefully sell a lot per day. Pre-batching this drink may have a lot of benefits, I’m not suggesting that all offerings should be pre-batched, but some of the big sellers can be, let’s look at why and how.

Benefits of batching drinks

Consistent flavor delivery, a huge benefit, in my opinion more important than service times. A big urn of the daily special can be pre-batched, taste-tested, then everyone knows for sure that it will delight customers.

Faster service times, when everything is prepared you can pull or pour the item quickly.

Less dishes to wash, may seem like a small benefit, but think how many times items like spoons or measuring pitchers need to get washed between drinks.

Batch during slower times, such as being part of the nightly closing routine, or slower afternoon.

Considerations of batching drinks

Need a big urn or pitcher, which could mean increased storage needs. Also its another item to buy, and if its not pretty to look at then where should it be stored?

Keeping it cool can be of concern, there are great machines that are designed to circulate and keep cool, or storing in a refrigerator works.

Guests may not feel its made special for them, its possible to lose that theatre of preparation in front of a guest.

Ingredients that don’t batch or hold wellBatching ingredients for beverage mixes

Carbonation doesn’t last forever. When I batch drinks, like mojitos, I will measure all ingredients besides the ice, soda water, and garnishes. There is still a huge time saving factor by having 4 of the 6 ingredients prepared for me, I just add the last details and pieces.

Pay attention to expiration dates. Remember that the beverage you scale up will expire when the first ingredient goes bad. Batching is great for daily operations, the idea is to batch enough for one day only.
Garnishes always enhance a beverage, but you can’t batch orange slices and expect them to come out when needed. Batch all your liquids and place the finishing touches as you normally would.


Ice presents some interesting factors. If making a cocktail ice serves as a chiller and as a diluting agent. Ask yourself if the drink needs a little water in the recipe to replicate ice melt.

Other things to think about

I made a punch that needed a little water in it to replicate ice melt. I batched it up perfectly, then to keep it cold I had put the empty urn into a freezer the night before, and separately froze five pint glasses with the punch in it. Day of the event I filled the ice cold urn with punch, then added the pint-cubes, which kept it chilled and also melted without diluting further.

What about hot beverages you ask? If the hot drink has texture, like a latte, it will not work the same in a vacuum system like an airpot or pump pot. Heated spinners are an option. Sometimes just preparing a batch, having it chilled, then heating on demand is still a big time saver. The longest I’ve let a hot pre-batched drink with dairy sit out for sampling was four hours, I don’t know at what point the milk spoils, so I was tasting hourly, then decided to dump it all and start a fresh batch.

Using a granita machine or bubbler is really like making a big batch of beverages. But I wanted to warn you about too much agitation in a machine. I have heard of someone batching a high fat drink into a machine that turned the whole drink into butter. Wouldn’t that be a surprise?


Pre-batching drinks has saved me lots of time, it is very efficient to use when setting up and preparing for a party, event, or just a popular drink that is made frequently. I wish you the best, and as always if you have questions, please email me directly,

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Blended Green Goblin Recipe


Blended Green Goblin (14)

Blended Green Goblin Recipe


  • DaVinci Gourmet Green Apple Fruit Smoothie Mix – JT02649
  • Big Train Kidz Kreamz Orange Creme frappe mix – BT.200800
  • 12 fl oz Ice
  • 5 fl oz Water (for Big Train mixing instructions only)

Mixing Instructions:

  • Fill a 8 fl oz cup of ice and pour DaVinci Gourmet  Green Apple Smoothie Mix over ice to the top.  Pour into a blender pitcher (per packaging instructions) and blend until smooth.
  • Pour 5 fl oz of chilled water in separate blender pitcher.  Add 2 scoops of Kidz Kreamz Orange Creme powdered frappe mix product.  Finally, add 12 oz cup of ice into blender and blend until smooth.
  • Layer the serving cup starting with the Orange Creme and then transitioning to the Green Apple.  Continue doing this until filled to the top.
    • Note: notice that pouring height and speed will affect how far down the colors blend versus sitting on top of each other.

Blended Green Goblin (11)

The combination of apple and orange are wonderful, are there other combinations that you have tried? Combining a blended lemonade and berry flavor are an absolute delight as well.

For more information on Big Train Products go here: or call us at 800 BIG TRAIN (800) 244-8724. For more information on DaVinciGourmet products go here:

Friday, 27 February 2015

Morning OJ Peach Smoothie Recipe

Try this OJ Peach smoothie recipe. Something fun, smooth and familiar for your morning. More than just a beverage, a delicious start for a warmer day and a compliment to your breakfast. You know, its also a great little snack as well. The DaVinci Gourmet Invigorator base has green coffee extract in it so you get a small boost of caffeine from it. So enjoy your morning, its going to be a good day.

026 Morning OJ Peach Smoothie Recipe

Morning OJ Peach Smoothie

Makes 16 fl oz beverage

Blend together till smooth, pour and enjoy.

Upgrade option: garnish with a slice of fresh peach or orange

So smooth and fruity we couldn’t snap a picture before it was half gone. Did you try it? Did you make any recipe changes?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cookie Covered Matcha Tea Recipe

Taking a very familiar dessert flavor and combining it with a less common flavor of Matcha. This is a fun twist for a whole new blended beverage experience.

Talking to Levi Andersen, the Beverage Product Specialist for Kerry (DaVinci Gourmet, Big Train, Oregon Chai brands), had this to say about the genesis of the beverage recipe:

“Lately I’ve been playing around with matcha tea, its a whole new ingredient to me. As I was playing with matcha I found that the deep and more bitter flavors of matcha go very well with sweeter beverages such as this Cookies n Creme base. Together they create a balance.”

025 Cookie Covered Matcha Tea Recipe

Cookie Covered Matcha Tea

2 scoops (8 tbsp) Big Train Cookies ‘N Crème

1 tbsp matcha green tea

5 oz milk

12 oz ice



You can top it with crushed up cookies. Notice these cookies were smashed together with the creme filling still inside. Doing it this way helps the chunks to remain rather larger and clump together. If you don’t like the way that looks then remove the filling before crushing the cookies. You may even want to use crushed cookies (without the filling) and add in white sugar to achieve a great black and white balance.