Blending Basics - Pro Tips From Smartfruit, Urnex & Cappuccine

Friday September 22, 2017 // By Dana Schlingman

Amidst the hubbub of new product launches and our busy summer season, it’s taken me a little longer than expected to synthesize all of the great information disseminated during our vendor training seminars these last few months. Though we are transitioning out of warm weather menus, these Blending Basics distilled from our time with Urnex, Cappuccine and Smartfruit remain relevant in any season. It’s always a good idea to #KeepItClean, use the right equipment and choose the best product.

First Things First, Consider Your Ice

Learning about all things Urnex during a vendor presentationSince ice makes up a majority of any blended beverage, ice matters. Even the best products can’t make up for poor ice quality.

The Ideal Type of Ice:
• Harder, Solid/Transparent Ice - It won’t melt as much during processing.
• ½ Inch Cubes - If the cubes are too small, they will melt quickly and if they are too large they will require more time and energy to blend.
• Made With Purified Water - Unfiltered water could contain chemical additives or minerals that would affect the final flavor of a beverage.

The Dirty Truth About Bagged Ice & Ice Machines:
Bagged Ice is not recommended because:
   1. The water quality is inconsistent - Depending on where the ice has been purchased it may or may not be filtered.
   2. There is no guarantee that the ice is sanitary. Often the bags are punctured or not completely sealed.
   3. There is no way to ensure that the machine producing the ice has been properly cleaned.
Clean an Ice Machine? Why, yes! Our Urnex representative reminded us that it is very important to clean ice machines and freezers because there are types of mold and bacteria (like Listeria) that can survive below freezing. Ice machines and freezers are not inherently sanitary. (Check out Freez, an Urnex product designed specifically for cleaning ice machines.)

The Best Tool For The Job

A Cappuccine blending workshop with David and some of our local customersMuch to our Cappuccine Representative, David McNeil’s surprise, all of the shops he visited here in Colorado were not using food service grade blenders. As a frequent CoffeeFest blending presenter, David was quick to explain the disparity and to emphasize the importance of professional grade equipment.

Disadvantages of Blenders Designed For Home Use:
Four-Prong Blade spirals contents during blending sometimes allowing ice chucks to gather producing a slushy consistency (that often contains large ice chips).
Often Requires Over Blending: In order to eliminate all of the chips, users tend to blend contents too long melting ice and emulsifying premium ingredients (like the real toffee pieces in Cappuccine’s Extreme Toffee Coffee).

Cappuccine - Premium ingredients, premium tasteBenefits of Food Service Grade Blenders:
Two-Prong “Propeller-like” Blade lifts and folds contents during blending to ensure an even creamy consistency
• Sound Enclosure:
   1. Prevents the pitcher from jostling (protecting internal parts)
   2. Keeps staff safe - making it impossible for hands or instruments to be near moving blades
   3. Minimizes noise and the disruption of a shop’s atmosphere

Adding Everything to The Pitcher

The Right Order:
As with cooking or baking, the sequence matters when blending.
First liquids, second powders, third ice
• Adding ice without liquid causes the blade to dull more quickly and creates more friction in the pitcher using more energy.
 • Adding powder before liquid, results in pockets of undissolved product that partially disintegrate or emulsify during blending.

Smartfruit blending demonstration - first liquids, second powders, third ice The Right Ingredients:
With the industry trending toward organic, clean label and ethical sourcing, our Smartfruit representative stressed the importance of high quality ingredients. More and more consumers are willing to pay extra for higher value.

However when it comes to convenience, consistency and accessibility it can be tricky for cafes to support menu items that require whole ingredients prepared from scratch. Specifically In Relation To Smoothies:
• Whole fruit availability changes seasonally (sometimes weekly - one bunch of bananas might not be as flavorful as the next), making it difficult to provide a consistent beverage.
• Storing whole ingredients requires a lot of space (a valuable commodity in most shops).
• Because fresh produce has a shorter shelf-life, stocking whole ingredients can be expensive and time consuming (lots of trips to the store).
• Preparing whole ingredients (washing, peeling and chopping) is labor intensive and costly in terms of efficiency.

Smartfruit's creamy (dairy free) smoothie consistency - WHAT?!The Smart Solution:
The clever folks from Smartfruit have bottled up all of nature’s goodness: vitamins, fiber and superfoods from whole fruit and put it in an easy pour over format. Click here to learn more about this seriously brilliant line of smoothies (accompanied by a natural, pumpable peanut butter).

Whew, see I wasn’t lying, so much great information - and that’s just the abridged version!

If you have questions about blending, cleaning or the products that we offer, please feel free to peruse our Training Materials, refer to these resources: The Beauty of UrnexCappuccine Frappe Mix, Urnex Basics Video, Smartfruit: So Easy To Love Video or reach out to our helpful Customer Service Baristas.

We’d love to "talk coffee" with you!

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