mobile espresso and smoothies

Jumpin Java Bean

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May 27, 2005
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Darn, just can't seem to find any smoothie forums, and they certainly wouldn't be as good as this one is anyway. I note that most mobile operations combine espressos and smoothies, either the commercial custom builts, and the more homemade types. I appreciated the thread comparing cold blended coffee mixes, and wonder if I could start one up about this apparently popular menu item.

A mobile operation that can't prep onsite would need to use frozen packets. You could prepare them yourself if you had a inspectable kitchen space to support the truck operation. I won't, and have been searching for packet providers. Or maybe I am limiting my concept too much, and there is a way to throw it all in a blender on the spot. One bottom line consideration is storage space: when I go off to do a festival, I want a lot of room for coffee and milk.

Can anyone with experience provide a few tips? Thanks in advance.
 
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Jumpin Java Bean

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opinions on Big Train?

Sigh. Guess I'll bump my own topic. Since the first post I have gotten pretty interested in the Big Train line because they provide both smoothie concentrates and bases for blended coffee drinks. I don't need as varied a menu as a shop, since (hopefully) I will usually be the only espresso at an event. In particular, I'm looking at their cremes for blended drinks, because they are coffee-free, and I can use my usual beans to frap with.

Does anyone have experience with their smoothie line? Or any general experience with the company?
 

celement

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Apr 17, 2005
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Modesto, CA
While I think the big train brand is fine I've opted for Jet Tea on the fruit smoothies and both mocafe and cappucine on the espresso based smoothies (mocha, latte, and caramel).

These would not require pre prep for a mobile unit - just refrigeration on the Jet Tea's is all. Ice, milk and cold epsresso shots are all I need for the others which I shoot from my machine first thing each morning and then refrigerate to use on the espresso drinks.

My problem with Jet Tea, Cappucine, Mocafe, and Big Train is their expense...you really have to get your price up there to be at an effective cost of product ratio. And in my market I'd be over priced.

Like you I'd love more discussion on this - particularly on the fruit smoothies and how the yogurt places and Jamba come into play?

What does Jamba use?
 

Espresso911

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May 30, 2005
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SF Bay Area/East Bay
Hey guys,
I love the mobile espresso fourms. I run a mobile espresso truck in the bay area and use the following on my rig.

Jet Tea smoothie mix, Wild Berry,Mango,Strawberry are the flavors that seem to be in the most demand. To stretch the mix a bit I put either 16 or 20oz of ice in the blender along with a banana.. Then cover half the ice with smoothie mix and the other half with juice. Either Mango, Strawberry or Berry. Kerns makes a good juice and can be found on sale most of the time. Top with whip cream, non dairy from smart and final and you've got a great smoothie with a higher profit margin.

Let me know what your up too.
 

Espresso911

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Big Train is toooo expensive

I like Big Train but it's waaaay too expensive. I make my Ice Blended Mochas from scratch and chat up the customer about what a better product I'm serving them. Ice, Chilled Espresso, a couple pumps of choclate and Milk. If you like them really smooth, then a little base cream from one of the big companies.

Costs way less than Big Train and most of my customers appreciate the lack of additives and preservatives etc.

good luck
 
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Jumpin Java Bean

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911, thanks for making a pit stop.

Since starting this thread a while back, I also decided on Jet Tea. Stretching it with a banana and juice is a great idea.

I'm not on the road yet, expect to be by December. 911, how do you handle blender cleaning/rotation? A basic food handling rule is to clean and sanitize when changing foods in a prep area or container, or if you keep making the same food, you have to clean and sanitize after four hours. In this case, changing from one smoothie recipe to another is basically changing foods, depending on your Health Department. Shops can throw a blender vessel right into the sink, but on a truck our sink tanks can only run so long and then they are empty.

One thing I can imagine is to carry 3 blender vessels for three different flavors, keeping them in the fridge between orders. But that's precious space too, with milk and Jet tea cartons already taking up room. And where do you put the freakin bananas?? :lol:
 

Espresso911

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I have a sink with both hot and cold water. Also I have a "Sanitizing Wand" like you would have on your kitchen sink. I just Spray it off after each use. I currently have two blender vessels with one base. Blendtech's Smoother is the best! If you want to get crazy, you spray a bit of bleach-water solution from a hairspray bottle each time. But It really doesn't matter much. The product only stays in the vessel for a miniute or so then is rinsed out. I even passed the City of Berkeleys Health Department inspection.

Bruces Trucks from Seattle Coffe Trucks are the best. With 16 gallons of water for the Espresso Machine and Wand. Another 22 Gallons for the sink annnnd a huge grey water tank. It's pretty easy. I'm actually thinking of moving on to frozen fruit smoothies using Ice, Frozen Fruit, Banana and Apple Juice. Buddy of mine in So-Cal makes a killing this way.

Good Luck JJB
 

beefybean

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Sep 20, 2005
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Austin, TX therabouts
All of the smoothie lines will send you samples. Ask, ask, ask.

Did not like the train. I am looking for something that does not use corn sugar and the Train had the ticket. However, all I could taste was sweet.

Oddly enough, The jet uses corn sweetener but tasted better.

Dr. Smoothie (hate the name) offers an all fruit line, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, only juice sweeteners. Taste great and fruity.

Island Oasis also offers natural stuff, plus a machine (it's big, so may not work in a mobile unit). IO comes frozen.

Loved the Capuccine. Still working through it.

Problem with all of the samples is getting through all of it.

I may go towards making my own mocha drinks due to cost. For smoothies, IQF takes up too much space and then you become a smoothie bar, not a coffee house offering smoothies.

For taste I am currenlty stuck on JetTea and Dr. Smoothie. Waiting on Island Oasis samples. For contents, it's the Dr. versus the palm tree.

BT has blender programs, great service and promo materials, but the cost is high and I am just not satisfied with the flavor. On asking around about this the answer I got is that they got their first and are the big incumbent. Change for them is more terrifying and higher risk. Many of these guys offer blender programs (buy a blender and get a few cases of product) as do distributors. But you can't beat the free one from IO. You may have seen it in a local bar or coffee house, the large black device with an icebin on top (it auto dispenses - way cool). Add mix, push button, voila.
 

Espresso911

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May 30, 2005
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SF Bay Area/East Bay
Welcome to the thread La Crema, I use the Jet Tea with a Banana. Works well but I'm thinking of going to a frozen fruit, banana and apple juice fruit smoothie. It may be a bit cheaper and it will satisfy the health food nazi's here in northern california. The first question I always get on my Espresso Truck is "Whats in the Smoothie"? When I answer Fruit Puree', all I get is a blank look. (such is the state of public education)

Sooooo where are you out of?
 
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Jumpin Java Bean

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How do you package/prep/buy the frozen fruit? I've considered using my commissary to chop and freeze some fruit in smoothie sized portions, but I don't really want to add more work to my non-truck time. A bag of loose strawberries, shake a few out? Only problem there is no freezer on the truck, refrigeration only.
 

Espresso911

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Hey Jumpin Java,
I'm still using Jet Tea but am considering the switch. A friend of mine in So-Cal is using frozen fruit, banana, ice, and apple juice. He kicks butt with this set up. I'll give him a quick plug here.

Espresso A Go-Go out of Paso Robles, Ca.

Anyway I observed his set up and he uses the IQF Fruit, in this case.. Mango, Strawberry and Peach. Just keep it in the freezer until you need it. Then place it in some plastic containers and place in the fridge. It will last a few days this way. Rotate your product correctly and you should'nt have too much waste. The Apple juice is only a buck on sale so not really a problem.

Good Luck!
 
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Jumpin Java Bean

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I think it's important to have a fruit based, non dairy smoothie for some of the customers, but I'm wondering if we could kick around the frappes and blended coffees a little, which lend themselves to a coffee or non-coffee, dairy rich "smoothie" or creme, or shake, or whatever.

In other words, these are products I'm already carrying, without the logistics of bananas, frozen fruit and juices. I should mention I'm planning to park at 2 or 3 day music festivals as much as I can, more than doing daily routes where I can easily restock in the evening. (Truckin' and Campin'! Tunes! Woo Hoo!!)

On various forums, you can read folks swearing by the straight recipes, (Ghirardelli, etc) as well as concocting their own, including the use of soft-serve ingredients.

Any thoughts on this?
 

Espresso911

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Plenty of thoughts Jumpin Java. I make all my Fraps and such from scratch. Except for the Chai Tea, then I use Big Train Vanilla. It's just soooo much cheaper and here in a VERY health concsious Northern California it helps when I can explain what I put into the blender. Since just about EVERYONE asks... "Whats in the smoothie?"

I'll share one of the recipies for my hmmm... Orange Explosion.

Ice, Banana, 1 scoop Ghiradelie White Choclate(powdered) and Orange Juice.
Blend away and you have a yummy smoothie from scratch.

If you go online and do a google search for "smoothie recipies" you'll find hundreds of recipes.

Bananas are easy. Just get a case of them for the big events and stuff them anywhere they will fit. I do big events as well. Although I've got a Seattle Coffee Truck. Lots of room.

OK, one more..... Banana Chocolate Crash!'
Ice, Banana, 1 scoop White Chocolate, cover ice with milk and blend. Swirl a bit of Dark Chocolate(Hersheys) around the sides of the cup for astetics. Then pour into the cup. Top with Whip Cream. #1 Seller! I sell my smoothies in the 16 and 20 ounce sizes for 4.00 and 4.50.

I use that White Chocolate in allot of recipies because it really brings out the flavors.

Ok Jumping Java I gotta go make a living. Good Luck and let me know what your up to and where your doing it
 
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Jumpin Java Bean

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I'm in the Philadelphia area (northwest suburbs) and I've got a 2006 Seattle Truck in the shop right now. I'll be flying out to get it and drive it back in about a month.

There is a big music festival tradition around here, weekend events and week long events. Add the antique shows, dog shows, horse shows, etc. I plan to specialize in parking at events, though I am in a (formerly rural) county where development is out of control, so there are a lot of construction sites for condos and townhouses where dozens of construction workers are at each location, so I plan to go for the weekday coffee break scene too.

I'm planning to pull a pop-up camper during the festival season, and will not be adverse to going most anywhere, as long as gas and permits don't make it too marginal.

I've been working on my website, basically a graphics-heavy "flyer" to entice bookings in promotional/catering venues. I'd be grateful for a comment from anyone viewing this thread, re: legibility, resolution, enhancements, content, anything. Thanks in advance

http://www.hoboespresso.com
 

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