The Fine Art of Texturizing Milk

Cappuccino Latte ArtSteamed milk enhances the sensory experience of espresso. A layer of rich, creamy milk is pleasing to the palette and allows a barista to demonstrate an elevated level of espresso sophistication. Milk texture is so important to the specialty coffee business that a micro-industry has evolved around the idea of latte art, where baristas compete nationally and internationally for the title of World Latte Art Champion. Even if a world latte art title is not your goal, mastering the art of texturizing milk can be a major differentiator for your store.

San Domingo Fair Trade Latte Art

San Domingo Fair Trade Coffee Latte Art

Our customer San Domingo Fair Trade Coffee, a full-service coffee café in St. Michaels, MD, is a great case in point. The baristas at this enchanting restaurant and coffee shop have spent extensive time perfecting the fine art of texturizing milk, which they regularly feature as latte art on their Facebook page; As result, the shop has built up a robust following.

Mastering milk texturizing not only brings in more customers, it results in a higher average ticket. In July, The Journal of Sensory Studies published a study showing that customers happily pay more — at least 11%-13% more — for a beautifully texturized latte.

Nick Brown, editor of Roast Magazine’s Daily Coffee News, hypothesized that customers place a higher value on their coffee experience if a barista knows how to texturize milk properly.

“It shows an area of skill from the barista, and I think it demonstrates that the barista cares about what they’re giving you,” editor Nick Brown said.  “Buying a really good latte at an upscale shop and enjoying it there is kind of a luxury.”

Developing Your Shop’s Latte Chops
To help all our retailers develop these in-demand skills, Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College 101 dedicates an entire afternoon to practicing the fine art of steaming milk. Taught by our Specialty Coffee Association of America-certified lead barista, Alex Jeans, participants get one-on-one time with the steam wands on our in-house Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric 3 Group Espresso Machine.

Micah and Elizabeth Behan, owners and operators of First District Coffee Co. of Fairview, TN recently enjoyed the Coffee College experience in our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting headquarters. Here’s just a bit of what they learn:

The texturing process is created when pressur­ized air is introduced to cold milk and breaks the hydrogen bonds between proteins. With these bonds broken, the natural sugar found in the milk is easier to taste, making the milk taste sweeter. This sweet taste combined with a creamy texture will help you prepare beauti­ful, delicious, sophisticated drinks that will set your shop apart from the competition.

Stockton Graham & Co. Latte EspressoThe Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA) teaches that there is only one way to texturize milk with one result: A microfoam with the texture, consistency and sheen of wet paint. The difference between a latte and a cappuccino, then, is the depth of the microfoam on top of the cup of brewed espresso.

In this case, the difference between types of espresso drinks—a cappuccino and a café au lait, for instance—is the proportion of milk foam and steamed milk to espresso. But there is no difference between the way milk is ultimately prepared.

A second approach to texturizing can be considered by shop operators. The idea that there are two types of texturized milk has been made popular by large chain coffee shops: One for latte drinks and one for cappuccino drinks.

Those who ascribe to this approach explain the difference this way:

“The distinction is that in cappuccino, the milk is “frothed… into a “microfoam” that is about twice the volume of the original milk. In latte, the milk is merely “steamed.” For latte, the goal is not to create that much foam, so any type of milk works.” The Coffee Brewers, Danbury, CT

The different “techniques” create markedly different textures. The consistency of latte style milk is creamier and cappuccino style milk is foamier. Some, but not all, of these operators also adjust the proportion of milk foam and steamed milk.

Although Stockton Graham & Co. complies with the SCAA approach to texturizing, we share the second approach with our customers so operators can decide what’s best for their store.

Creating milk with different textures requires submerging the steam wand below the surface of the milk at different times in the texturizing process. The differences are discussed below.

  • Latte Style Milk

The latte style of milk steaming is used when the texture of the drink to be created is more creamy than foamy.  When a drink that has been prepared with latte style textured milk settles, there should be a layer of foam on top that is usually less than an inch.

To create latte style milk, submerge the steam wand completely below the surface of the milk no more than 5 seconds after steaming begins. Completely remove the wand when the milk reaches 140-150F. This should take about 20 seconds.

The latte style of steaming can be used when preparing latte, mocha, café au lait, hot cocoa, or flavored milk drinks, or any drink that has a texture that is more creamy than foamy. It usually does not produce a dollop of aerated foam on the top of the drink; so it is possible that the steamed milk and coffee mix quickly and evenly, resulting in a smooth, creamy beverage.

  • Cappuccino Style Milk

The cappuccino style of milk steaming is used when the texture of the drink to be created is more foamy than creamy, or has equal parts steamed milk and foam.

To achieve more foam, introduce more air to the milk at the beginning of the texturizing process by allowing some of the holes in the tip of the steam wand to be exposed above the surface of the milk.  Leave the holes exposed for a full 10-15 seconds before submerging the tip of the wand completely.

Cappuccino style is used by commercial shops when preparing a traditional macchiato, American-style cappuccino, traditional cappuccino, or for any customer who prefers extra foam on top of their beverage. Often customers who request a “dry cappuccino” are looking for a beverage topped only with the most aerated foam, which is lifted out of the steam pitcher with a spoon. This way, there is actually less milk added to the  beverage, resulting in a less diluted espresso element.

Top six espresso drinksTo download our frame-ready Top 6 Handmade Espresso Drinks poster, click here.

If you’re interested in learning more about our Coffee College offerings, click here or dial 800 835 5943 and talk to one of our Customer Care Associates.




Show Your Customers Some Love this Valentine’s Day!

Valentines day-imageThis year Valentine’s Day falls on Saturday, February 14, so your shop should have V-Day themed events and specials all week! Show your customers how much you care by giving them “Valentines”. Keep a few Valentines (aka coupons for discounted drinks) by the register to give out to regular and loyal customers all week.

Be sure to promote your Valentine’s day specials on your Social Media accounts, website and newsletters. You should also have posters, flyers, table toppers and chalk boards promoting any specials in your store. Make sure, as with any special event, your store is decorated to subtly remind your customers of the holiday and the specials they could take advantage of.

On Valentine’s Day, share the love by offering a special discounted  beverage all day! Or, have a small “treat” ready to show your appreciation like a small chocolate for each customer or a free flavor shot! You might also encourage those who have significant others to make visiting your shop part of their date night by offering a buy-one-get-one deal on drinks later in the evening!

Here are a few love-inspired drinks to try on this special holiday:

White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha

  • 1 Pump white chocolate sauce
  • 2 Pumps raspberry syrup
  • 2 shots espresso
  • Steamed milk

Pull the shots directly into a cup containing the sauce and syrup, stir gently and add the steamed milk!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie
  • 5 oz. water
  • 3 oz. Dr. Smoothie Strawberry Concentrate
  • 3/4 (70cc) scoop of Chocolate frappe or iced hot chocolate mix
  • 16 oz. cup of ice
Add the ingredients in the order listed above and blend. Optional: Top with whipped cream, shaved chocolate pieces and a small strawberry.
Hot Cinnamon Twist White Mocha
  • 3/4 oz. Monin Spicy Red Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1 oz.  White Chocolate Sauce
  • 2 shots of Espresso
  • 8 oz. milk
Tips: Garnish with a cinnamon stick and whipped cream.

Contact our Customer Care Department by calling 800.835.5943 for access to samples, POS Materials and more fun ideas.

See Past Valentine’s Day Blogs:
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…
Valentine’s Day / Mardi Gras Coffee Drink Recipes!
Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras Promotions for your Coffee Shop!

Add Spice To The Season With Oregon Chai Spicy!

Oregon Chai logo  Guy  (2)Chai is a unique drink; Black Tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, and other spices are blended together to create a unique taste unlike anything else. This versatile beverage can be prepared in a variety of different ways to bring out the different flavor profiles chai enthusiasts have come to love. Most coffee shops nowadays make chai lattes using a concentrate or powder.

Using liquid Chai concentrate is simple in your shop. With a 1:1 ratio of milk (or milk substitute) and liquid chai, you just steam and go. Or you can pour over ice and shake if you want an iced Chai. You can take it up a few notches to really make your chai stand out with the recipes included below. Most of these recipes can altered for hot, iced, or frozen.

If you want a balanced drink of spices and honey with a full body, Oregon Chai Spicy is the chai for you. This chai won’t be overwhelming for new tea latte drinkers, but will still be enjoyable for die-hard fans. Chai is a great option to warm up the colder winter months and is a popular specialty drink that is easy to make and enjoy.

Call us at Stockton Graham & Co. at 800 835 5943 to place your order today!

Chocolate Chaichocolate_chai
1 oz of Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce
7 oz of Liquid Chai
8 oz of Steamed Milk
Stir together and add whip cream and chocolate drizzle and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bombay Foglondon_fog
Taking the basic idea of a London Fog and adding Chai to it.
1 Black Tea Bag
5 oz of hot Water
8 oz of Liquid Chai
3 oz of steamed milk
Steep your tea bag for 3 minutes. Add the chai and steamed milk. I like to get a bit of foam on the top. Perfect for grey days full of reading your favorite book.

Chai Not to Smilechai_
2 oz. Torani Honey Vanilla
7 oz of Liquid Chai
7 oz of Steamed Milk

Mix together and top with whip cream, and honey drizzle.

Fall Pumpkin Drink Recipes!

Pumpkin lattes, chais and frappés make saying goodbye to summer just a little sweeter. The unique flavor of pumpkin mixed with subtle spices creates the perfect pairing for cooler weather, leaves changing color and all of the things autumn brings.

The fall season traditionally kicks off the busiest time of the year for coffee shops and with the help of the pumpkin craze we have seen over the last couple of years, you can kick up your ticket sales by bringing in some pumpkin items. Stockton Graham & Co. offers a variety of pumpkin options that are sure to satisfy your customers including pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkin pie chai, and pumpkin syrups and sauces.

Find your new favorite pumpkin recipes below:


DaVinci Butter Rum Pumpkin Pie Latte168_Recipe

3/4 oz DaVinci Gourmet Pumpkin Pie Classic Syrup
1/4 oz DaVinci Gourmet Butter Rum Classic Syrup
1 shot espresso
Steamed milk

Combine ingredients in a 12 oz cup. Mix well.

Torani Pumpkin Pie Mocha
2 oz. Torani Dark Chocolate SaucPumpkin_lattee
1/2 oz. Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup
8 oz. Milk
2 oz. Espresso

Pour ingredients into glass, add ice and stir! Top with whipped cream if desired.

MONIN Iced Pumpkin White Mocha6401012_Monin_0810_2_1
1/2 oz. Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1/2 oz. White Chocolate Sauce
2 shot(s) espresso
5 oz. half & half

Combine ingredients into serving glass. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon if desired.

Big Train Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Frappé

6 fl oz water or milkpumpkin-spice-cheesecake-frappe-recipe
2 scoops Big Train Pumpkin Pie Chai Tea Latte
1.5 cups ice

Add water or milk to blender. Add Big Train Pumpkin Pie Chai Tea Latte Mix. Add ice. Blend until smooth.

Call your customer care associate today at 800 835 5943 to make sure you are prepared for pumpkin season. 

Cafe Essentials Hot Beverages Offer Through 2/28/14

Cafe-Essentials-CTC-Poster-6x8From Dr. Smoothie, Café Essentials hot beverages are balanced and authentic, and they provide an intensely satisfying taste experience. The luxurious flavor and richness provided by origin specific ingredients will delight your customers and bring them back again and again.

Stockton Graham & Co. and Dr. Smoothie are so certain that Café Essentials will delight your customers with its authentic flavors, we are offering a no risk trial period and buy back guarantee. During the first 30 days after your purchase if you are not satisfied with its taste and performance, you can request a product credit.
Expires February 28, 2014

Call 800.835.5943 to place your order and SAVE today!

Cafe-Essentials-GSC-Poster-6x8Users of the most common hot beverage powder mixes on the market often describe a “sugar first” flavor profile or have to use extra amounts of powder to obtain the actual flavor they are seeking, such as chocolate, spice or tea. Café Essentials products are artisan crafted to taste more true to their flavor origins while providing the operator a greater yield per case and lower cup cost. Café Essentials have less fillers, less sugar and more real ingredients for a more healthy hot drink direction.

Café Essentials are made with NO artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or hydrogenated oils. Hot water is all that is needed to make these delicious beverages with strong, authentic taste profiles. Your guests can enjoy a hot drink with less fat and sugar, as well as gluten free ingredients while you enjoy lower costs per drink sold.

Café Essentials has a variety or promotional materials available to help make these great tasting drinks sell themselves.

Click here to view more information and great recipes for using Cafe Essentials products!

To help increase your business by offering Café Essentials to your customers, call 800.835.5943 today for a sample kit and other Stockton Graham & Co. limited time promotions.

Stockton Graham & Co. Now Offering Mocafe and Cappuccine!

Stockton Graham & Co. is proud to announce the addition of two new leading brands of specialty beverage products, Mocafe and Cappucine! Customers have been inquiring about these lines for some time, so we decided to bring them in. As they are extremely popular for their blended iced drinks, we are excited that they will be available for your customers’ summer enjoyment and help further build your business’ success! We are offering a new product promotion of $5 off a case of all Mocafe or Cappuccine! Expires June 30th 2013

2012--Mocafe-web-LogoA number of products from the Mocafe line are now available, including Original Mocafe Mocha, Caffe Latte, Tahitian Vanilla Latte and Wild Tribe Moka frappe powders. We will also have Precious Divinity Chai, Matcha Green Tea, Mexican Spiced Cocoa and Vanilla Smoothie mixes. Mocafe has been offering high quality specialty beverage products since 1996, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this line to our customers.

logoWe have the entire extensive line of Cappuccine frappe flavors, too! These 27 flavors provide a wide assortment of choices for our customer’s needs, including: Lactose free, no hydrogenated oils, Kosher and Halal approved. Cinnamon Bun and Red Velvet are two flavors Cappuccine offers that can help make your cafe unique. Winning numerous specialty beverage awards since 1994, Cappuccine has solidified itself as a top contender in the blended iced coffee world. We are excited to have more options for our customers to choose from with this delicious brand.

POS for these brands and samples are also available from Stockton Graham & Co.. Remember that samples are free, so if you would like to try one of these new products, just ask your Customer Care Associate to include it in your next order! Mocafe is also offering blender specials through Stockton Graham & Co. Purchase a Vitamix or Blendtec blender from us and you will receive, 3 cases of Mocafe Product! Cappuccine has a direct purchase program that you can learn more about here.

Upon tasting in house, both brands were well received with the Stockton Graham & Co. staff. These new brands will help your shop create signature blended drinks that will have customers returning for more! If you are looking to serve delicious, creamy, blended iced coffee beverages, call your Stockton Graham & Co. sales associate to discuss updating your specialty beverage program! Call 800.835.5943 today to get pricing and learn more about these great new product lines!