Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Horchata (Mexican Rice Drink)

Horchata (or 'agua de horchata') is a traditional Mexican drink made from rice, sweetened, and typically flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. Classically it is made by soaking rice in water overnight and then straining the liquid several times through cheesecloth. Some of the starch thickens the product and some of the flour remains undissolved, giving the product a rather unique and pleasant texture. The drink is usually very sweet and served cold, and you have to shake it or mix it before serving. Some families add milk or sweetened condensed milk to make the drink whiter and creamier. Over the years we have had many enquiries for a horchata drink, but the fact that there are semi-suspended rice particulates and the pH is well above 4.0 makes for stability issues.

Back in '06 we had an inspiration to stabilize the product by making a pasteurized concentrate at 68 Brix, which makes it microbiologically stable due to limiting the water activity, and which is thick enough to keep the solids in suspension. This material will dilute 1+4.7 (ie. 4.7 parts of water plus 1 part of the base) to make single strength horchata at 15.0 Brix. The product is also quite acceptable diluted as a 1+5 to 14.7 Brix. That's still a very sweet product!

We are fortunate in having some unique equipment in our plant which is able to process this product despite the viscosity, and to maintain the delicate rice background flavor and light color. The concentrate can be stored and shipped refrigerated, and is sufficiently pourable to be pumped and handled in standard beverage plant operations. Since the finished product would be low in acidity with a pH over 4.2, product sold at single strength would obviously need to be handled as for a dairy product or else packaged aseptically. However the concentrate may also be useful in some distribution systems, for canned, bag-in-box and food service applications.

The standard product is flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, which is traditional, but there is obviously no problem in taking out these flavors and adding alternatives if you would like a range of flavors. You could, for example, make chocolate, various fruit flavors etc., all of which we could either add in the base or which you could add yourself.

If you'd like some more information or a sample of the horchata base, please don't hesitate to ask.

Passionfruit Crisis (Again!)

I notice that we seem to have one of these crises on passionfruit every three years, in which suddenly the concentrate is in very short supply and the price rockets up and anybody who has some to sell sets out to make a killing. It's very frustrating for many beverage companies, as passionfruit is perhaps the most persistent flavor of all the common fruit juices, and it is often a very necessary and distinctive part of a drink flavor's profile.

GLCC Co. is rather proud of our genuinely true-to-name passionfruit flavor: Nat. Flavor (Passionfruit Type) 10929.17. The product is designed specifically to work in juice systems, and has the same power, bite and persistence as the original. In fact this flavor is a lot more effective even than passionfruit distillates and extracts, since these products are typically top-notes that smell wonderful but are very weak and ineffective in juice systems.

If you adjust for acidity and color you may find this flavor extremely useful to make a dramatic reduction in your need for passionfruit solids.

Alternatively if you'd rather purchase a blend as a direct and simple replacement for passionfruit concentrate, we also offer Passionfruit WONF 50929.18, which is a frozen, 50 Brix, 1:1 replacement, which reconstitutes to 100% juice with added flavors. This product is Kosher (National Kashruth, NK)and available in virtually unlimited quantities year round on relatively short notice.

We'd be happy to send you samples and pricing for either the flavor or the 100% Juice WONF blend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Whey Flavor Blocker

I'd like to say that we carefully studied all the available research on perception of flavor, and taste-bud perceptors and physiological responses and carefully designed a flavor molecule to achieve a specific result - but actually we discovered a flavor combination that will block the unpleasant whey flavor completely by accident. We're certainly not losing sleep over this unscientific approach...

Whey - or usually whey protein isolate - is the usual choice to boost protein in acidic drinks because the isolectric point is lower than pH 4.0, meaning that it will stay in solution instead of precipitating out, as casein proteins will. However even though whey is usually described as having a very mild flavor in a neutral solution, it develops a very peculiar and very persistent off note in high acid drinks that is extremely difficult to overcome, regardless of how much flavor you pour in.

We are very pleased to be able to offer both a natural and an artificial flavor that will block this off-flavor at quite low usage levels, enabling you to add a very wide range of other signature flavors at more reasonable use levels.

If you'd like to try them out, please request either Artificial Neutralizing Flavor 30955.72 or Natural Neutralizing Flavor 10955.72. Use level for both is around 0.02%. The Natural Flavor is not inexpensive - but fortunately the use level is very low, so it should be reasonably cost effective in actual use. Oh! and BTW, we'd be very happy to offer you some flavors to go with the whey blocker too...