Promote Seasonal Bulk & Retail Coffees Through A Pre-Holiday Open House

With this year’s holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you plan to make the busiest time of the year a success. Studies show that 40% of sales during the six weeks prior to Christmas are a result of retail purchases: this is not something you want miss out on. Though retail sales are at their highs during the last few weeks of the year, they don’t generate themselves. Promoting bulk coffee and retail coffee sales is key during this time of the year. One great way to do this is by hosting a pre-holiday open house to showcase upcoming seasonal features to your customers.

Begin promoting your pre-holiday open house in October, with a plan to hold the event in early November. This gives your customers time to become aware of the event. A few weeks prior to the event, have employees remind customers of the time and date as they come in each day. Also, advertise your event details with signage near the entrance so everyone sees it as they come and go. Lastly, be sure to post it on your shop’s website, social media page and online community calendars. Today, social media is the easiest way to reach out to your whole customer base, so it is critical to have all details and updates posted on Facebook and/or Twitter. While promoting, consider mentioning free samples and giveaways and/or raffles which will take place at the event to help encourage your customers to attend.

So, what do pre-holiday open houses usually consist of? As mentioned before, this is a great time to emphasize your bulk bean program. Let guests know that a retail bag makes a perfect stocking-stuffer or a gift basket item. Also, this time of the year people tend to do a lot of entertaining, whether it is hosting holiday parties or hosting relatives. A fresh roasted retail bag of coffee or two would certainly be a great accessory to have! An open house is also a great time to introduce your upcoming seasonal features to customers. If you plan to bring in seasonal coffees, arrange for samples to be available at this time, and brew a few pots so your customers can taste test what you plan to bring in. This allows you to receive feedback, as well as collect preorders for customers who don’t want to miss out on your limited time offer. If you’re a bakery, consider having apple pie or other baked goods available so customers can sample and preorder their baked goods to pick up the week of Thanksgiving! The main objective of any pre-holiday open house is to get your customers excited about the upcoming holiday features you will be offering, while also convincing them to come to your store, as opposed to competitors, during the season.

This is also a fantastic way to show your appreciation for your regular customers. Business aside, an open house get-together is a perfect opportunity to have fun in a laid back environment and to say “thank you” to the people who generate a large portion of your sales. Let them know that this is not something that is designed to pressure them in to buying more, but a time to relax while enjoying a friendly, entertaining atmosphere with you, the shop owner. Nothing grows business better than strengthening relationships with customers.

Stockton Graham & Co.’s founder and former owner of multiple retail coffee shops, Jeff Vojta, said he would always hold a pre-holiday open house during this time of the year. “There is no better way to make your customers aware of what seasonal products you will be offering, and promote your retail program while it’s at it’s highest potential”, said Vojta. The fourth quarter is the most critical quarter of the year for all coffee shop owners, so make sure you are doing what it takes so help your 2013 go out with a bang! Happy Holidays!

For more information or other seasonal tips, call your Stockton Graham & Co. customer care associate at 1800.835.5943 today!

Improve Consistency and Proficiency with Coffee College Courses from Stockton Graham & Co.

Attending Coffee College at Stockton Graham & Co. can carry more benefits than just increasing your knowledge of coffee preparation.  Having your staff successfully complete the education program offered through several key courses can in turn lead to more consistent and higher quality drinks, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction and returning patrons.  Our coffee professionals can assist you and your staff in sparking a newfound passion for coffee that you can take into your shop and continue honing your skills of creating fantastic beverages.  One of the main concerns in cafes is having each barista perform and create menu items consistently and proficiently. We here at Stockton Graham & Co. offer courses that can help shop owners be relieved of these worries, and reap the benefits of pleased customers that undoubtedly be coming back!

Coffee College courses include: Coffee & Espresso Basics, Brewing Fundamentals, Cupping for Coffee Shop Owners, Cafe Equipment Cleaning & Maintenance and Exploring Blends. These courses cover key areas of your coffee & specialty beverage program. Our staff of coffee industry professionals designed each course to present their collective experience in comprehensive, hands-on lessons. Coffee College will help you support your great drinks with the know-how to set you apart from your competition!

Click here to view our calendar of events.
For more information on Coffee College and other certification classes, click here or call 1-800-835-5943 today to register!

The Basics of Evaluating Coffee

Evaluating the different components of coffee can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It can help you discover a preferred single origin, understand what you like and don’t like in terms of a coffee’s profile, and it can strengthen your palate. Evaluating coffee is done through a process of adding hot water into a cup or a glass of freshly ground coffee, known as a coffee cupping. In a traditional cupping, you will compare and contrast the qualities of different coffees from different countries or even different regions of the world. While cupping coffee, there are five key elements to consider in every brew, which affect the character of each specific coffee.

Aroma: The mouthwatering scent of brewed coffee. Aroma is an integral part of the coffee experience and is especially apparent when the coffee is first ground, and it sets the stage for the coffee’s flavor. Examples of aromas expressed by coffee include flowers, citrus fruits, caramel, fresh bread, and more. The scent of coffee before brewing is also called its fragrance.

Acidity: The perceived “brightness” of the coffee when tasted. Acidity usually determines the coffee’s overall character: lively, subdued, flat, round, sharp, tart, dry, crisp, and so on. Note that this “acidity” is a quality of the sensory experience—it’s felt on the tongue, not in the stomach.

Body: The weight of the coffee in the mouth, also called mouthfeel. It’s the tactile sensation of fats, oils, and sediment from the coffee suspended in the brewed solution. Coffees may feel heavy, light, buttery, thick, syrupy, watery, winy, and more.

Flavor: Perhaps the most important part of the coffee-tasting experience. Coffee’s flavor is determined by the beans’ organic makeup, nutrients supplied to the beans by the cherries, the caramelization of sugars during roasting, roast levels and more. Specialty coffee has an incredible range of flavors such as; berries, fruits, flowers, chocolate, spices, etc.

Aftertaste: The taste sensation that lingers on the tongue after drinking the coffee, also known as the finish. Coffees with a heavy body tend to have a more pronounced aftertaste. Aftertaste is often described in general terms, like spicy, smoky, woody and so on.

Cupping is something that requires practice, and with time your palate will strengthen. It is a great way to explore what specifically makes coffees unique from others while truly understanding what characteristics in coffee you are especially fond of. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we hold a cupping each month in our Coffee College, where students will cup with our roastmaster, and will learn how to develop strong palate for hundreds of profiles that coffee can offer. For more information on coffee cupping, give us a call at 800.835.5943.

To see detailed descriptions of our coffees, take a look at the flavor profile panel on our  coffee description page.


Latte Art Throwdown @ Electric Beanz in Raleigh on Nov. 11th

Electric Beanz Coffee Bar in Raleigh, NC has announced they are hosting their second Latte Art Throwdown, a competition for local coffee shop employees. The Throwdown will be held Thurs., November 11th at 7:30 pm and is open to the public.

The event allows area café professionals to compete head-to-head to see who can create the best latte art. The patterns, typically intricate hearts and flower-like swirls called rosettas, are then judged and the winners are awarded prizes.

The competition fee is $5.00 and registration begins at 6:30 pm the day of the event. Recreational latte artists and experts are encouraged to sign-up.

Hope to see you there!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.


Blending Bigger Profit$ with Barista Fria Aug. 5th, 12th & 19th

Frozen beverages equal profits. Come see how to capitalize on this hot new trend.

You and your team are cordially invited to a FREE demonstration of a new product line we are offering for the specialty market from the creators of Island Oasis’ – Barista Fria.

Just in time for back to school, Barista Fria offers the benefits of adding or enhancing shelf-stable frozen drinks to your menu with the newest program to hit the specialty market, including state of the art ice shaving and blending options with no capital investment. This event will give you general product information, equipment and recipe demonstrations, product questions and answers and tips and tricks on how to maximize Barista Fria’s profit potential.

As a special incentive for attending the event, anybody that signs up for the program at the event will receive a discount of 5 – 10 % off initial order (depending on the program option you choose) and free cleaner.

We are excited to introduce this product and want you to be included in our roll out. The event will take place at Stockton Graham & Co.’s headquarters at 4320 Delta Lake Drive, Suite 199 in Raleigh. We are initially offering the following sessions:

· Thursday, August 5, 3 – 5 PM
· Thursday, August 12, 3 – 5 PM
· Thursday, August 19, 3 – 5 PM

Space is limited, and reservations are required. Click HERE to reserve your space.

If you cannot attend any of these events, please call 800-835-5943 to arrange an alternate time.

10 Year Anniversary Celebration at Casanova’s Coffees & Fudge

SGC Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer Brandon Riggs will be at Casanova’s Coffees & Fudge in Lewisville, NC this Saturday from 10:00 am – noon to help celebrate their 10 year anniversary!

Brandon will be speaking about his recent trips to both Guatemala and Ethiopia and presenting the photos from his travels. Additionally, he’ll be helping to create a custom Anniversary Blend with their customers to commemorate the special occasion.

For more information, please check out the ‘Events’ section of our Facebook page.

Congratulations on 10 incredible years, Casanova’s! All of us here wish you continued success!

Ribbon Cutting at Southern Roast Coffee

Congrats to Southern Roast in Holly Springs, NC for a great grand opening on Tuesday, February 23rd! Continued success!

Jeff and Patrick from SGC dropped by and were able to take a few pictures.

Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce Ambassador addressing the crowd

Owners Esteban and October, along with Mayor Dick Sears (left), cuts the ribbon

...and it's cut!