I use Jet dairy base and use my toddy and flavorings. The dry powders taste like powder they just dont mix right in my opinion.
I have tried all 3 you mentioned and definitely prefer the Big Train. I kept it simple by using their Mocha base for the chocolate-type drinks and the "coffee free" Vanilla Bean base for all else. You can add sauces/syrups to either of those 2 bases and come up pretty much with any flavor profile needed. Excellent taste, smooth texture and not too costly.
I prefer powder over liquid bases as I use espresso in all blended drinks unless ordered otherwise. The combination of 3/4-1 scoop of base, any sauces or syrups ordered, espresso, ice and a touch of milk gives a perfect texture that ends up being like a milkshake.
Thanks for your reply Shadow:)
We used to use the Torani White Chocolate sauce as our multi-purpose base. It contains a couple of emulsifiers which helped the texture, as well as sugar and vanilla for a sweet base flavor. We'd combine it with fresh espresso, milk, and ice for a straight "espresso frappe". Add a couple of pumps of vanilla syrup for vanilla, add a couple of scoops of our cocoa base for a mocha frappe, etc.
We used the Ghiradelli Caramel sauce as the base for our caramel frappe. Sauce, fresh espresso, milk, and ice for a really tasty caramel frappe. Not as many emulsifiers in this sauce though, so it would separate a little more quickly.
I always thought these were the best-tasting frappes around, and we sold quite a few. Plus this approach uses ingredients that can be used in hot drinks.
I've never cared for the powder bases.
Hope that helps.
Thanks for your reply, Brady:)
I have tried all of those but have used Cappuccine for the past 8 years! It is so good! My only advice is to decide which one and stick with it, as I have tried switching and my customers were very unhappy with all other brands.
Thanks for you Reply Laura:)
I'm a fan of the Pacific Foods blended bases since they aren't powdered based, they're organic, and there's a non-dairy base for lactose intolerant customers. It's less sweet than the Jet Dairy Base mentioned above, which is a big plus for me since I like more coffee taste and less sweetness in the blended drinks I consume.
For dry mixes, I'd say Mocafe or Dr. Smoothie's 'Cafe Essentials' line. Both brands yield creamy drinks that taste delicious, but the Essentials line is a bit pricey. I like Jet's smoothie mixes, and Monin just released a new line of smoothie bases that you might want to check out.
I'd say try as many samples as possible, and then stick to the one that matches your taste profile and wallet size. Let us know what you think!
[EDIT] D'oh! I forgot all about Frozen Xplosion. It's a nifty neutral base that's pretty cost-effective and extremely versatile. I didn't love or hate it, but I didn't get to play with it *too* much. The end.
We like the Ghiradelli mixes..we use alot of them with our homemade smoothie bases. If you mix it right it isn't powdery. We have made up some pretty creative frappe & smoothies & our customers love them. They are some of our best selling drinks, especially to the school kids across the street. We have people that come in for them everyday.