When it comes to April’s featured coffee, our Organic Carolina Rain, I’m reminded of one of the universe’s most fundamental truths:
Sometimes two vastly different things come together in harmony to create a perfect combination. When done right, this produces amazing results.
Let’s take second to think about some of the most iconic food pairings.
Milk & Cookies, Peanut butter & Jelly, Coffee & Doughnuts are only a few examples of dynamic duos that reach culinary synergy.
Organic Carolina Rain from our Dilworth Coffee brand is another great example. It is a blend of beans grown only 300km (186 miles) from each other in two different countries: Guatemala and Mexico. Conventional wisdom may lead you to believe these neighboring beans are alike, but they each have very unique qualities that blend together to make one of our most popular USDA-organic certified coffee blends.
The first component of our Organic Carolina Rain are beans from the Chiapas region of Mexico. These beans, grown in one of the premier regions of the country, provide a smooth and balanced sweetness with subtle floral notes.
The second component of the blend is organic Huehuetenango from Guatemala. Farmed from the lower slopes of the Sierra de Los Cuchumantanes mountain range in the western part of the country, our organic Guatemala adds depth and character with lively flavors of citrus fruit.
When drinking Organic Carolina Rain, expect subtle sweet and floral notes complemented by flavors of citrus and caramelized sugar. While outstanding for drip coffee and especially single-cup pour over methods, Carolina Rain also makes a refreshingly light and tangy iced coffee.
Organic Carolina Rain is also uniquely adaptable. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold, making it a perfect coffee to enjoy from April showers through May flowers and beyond.
The growing demand for specialty coffee has made the food service industry fiercely competitive. As store owners, we often focus too much on consumer acquisition: that is, getting more people in the door. Although that’s undeniably important, customer loyalty has a substantial impact on profitability; that is, getting customers to come back.
Here at Stockton Graham, we understand the importance of customer loyalty. We recently asked Consumer Research firm Mintel to help us study what keeps customers coming back.
Their answer? Coffee drinkers are not only looking for a great tasting cup but the right atmosphere, service, and convenience. By focusing on these four key drivers of customer loyalty, you will be closer to creating a distinctive coffee experience that builds customer loyalty.
The most important aspect of any coffee shop is the coffee. Our Mintel study found forty-five percent (45%) of out-of-home coffee drinkers listed “taste” as the top reason they frequent their favorite coffee shop. With that in mind, it is very important to pick high-quality coffee beans.
Having properly trained staff is invaluable. After all, a cup of coffee is only as good as the barista making it. The Mintel study found that barista expertise can make or break a customer’s experience. Eighty-two percent (82%) of coffee drinkers surveyed said “artistry of coffee preparation” was an essential part of their coffee experience and a key driver of customer loyalty.
To help your baristas advance their coffee artistry, Stockton Graham’s specialty coffee brand Dilworth Coffee offers beginner and certified barista training as part of the Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Skills Program. This includes Barista Foundation, Brewing Foundation and Brewing Intermediate courses, all of which allow participants to earn credits toward an SCA Coffee Certificate.
Great service is hospitality that wows and delights customers. Team members are your brand ambassadors and can have a huge influence on whether or not customers return. Promoting a customer-centric culture will make your customers feel valued and appreciated, increasing the likelihood they come back.
In today’s always-on-the-go coffee-drinking culture, convenience is important. That means consumers will expect a great tasting cup of coffee wherever they buy it. Yet, even if your shop has the best coffee in town, consumers will go elsewhere if your baristas aren’t efficient in building drinks and moving customers from order to pick up quickly.
There are simple ways to streamline your staff’s workflow to help them work efficiently. And most often, this begins with the layout of your coffee bar and workspace. An effective coffee bar layout will group equipment, storage and cleaning tasks by drink type, which will eliminate unnecessary steps while preparing drinks and also make the workspace safer for everyone.
On the consumer side of the coffee bar, offering mobile payments and operating separate “express lanes” for simple coffee drinks during rush times will get customers in-and-out quicker. This not only creates a positive experience for your customers, but also allows your staff to increase productivity and improves the number of customers your staff can handle each day.
Floorplan and decor have a big impact on customer experience. Leaving clear paths to registers reduces clutter, making your shop appear airy or spacious. Lighting, color scheme, and even background music can be the difference between an environment that feels warm and relaxing or one that feels cold and sterile.
When considering your store’s atmosphere, it is essential to understand your target audience and store’s location. For example, if your store is located on a university campus, you’ll want to consider modern tech elements like touch screens and charging stations as part of your design. Whereas, if your store is located in a financial center, you’ll want to include communal tables for business meetings and televisions so your patrons can keep up with market news.
Atmosphere is one of the few elements of a great coffee experience that can, and should, change over time. Always keep an eye on consumer trends. Visit competitor shops, and regularly talk to your customers about ways to improve their environmental experience.
At Stockton Graham & Co., we blend the art and business of coffee. We are committed to empowering all of our partners to maximize their customer loyalty. For more information about our Batch 0995 coffee or the Specialty Coffee Association Coffee Skills Program, email us or call us at 800 835 5943
We are pleased to announce a very limited rare harvest of Honduran coffee from the famous Finca Cual Bicicleta, which will be sold under our Dilworth Coffee brand. Founded by Oscar Omar Alonzo, Finca Cual Bicicleta produces some of the most sought-after coffee in the region, if not the world.
Oscar Omar Alonzo is a celebrated coffee farmer known for his passionate approach to producing high-quality, sustainable organic coffee. While many neighboring farms have experienced reduced production due to coffee rust, Finca Cual Bicicleta, which means “which bicycle” keeps pedaling to successful harvests.
Oscar Omar Alonzo follows a holistic approach to farming that has produced some of the best tasting coffee in the world. As part of his farm’s sustainability efforts, he utilizes old coconut husk from nearby lakes and buries them next to his coffee plants. The coconut husks soak up water and provide much-needed moisture and nutrients to the growing coffee trees.
Honduras is a leader in Central American coffee production. Known for its wide variety of flavor profiles, coffee from Honduras is usually very balanced with sweet and mild tasting notes. Although much of the Finca Caul Bicicleta coffee is either full natural or wash processed, Dilworth Coffee’s Finca Cual Bicicleta beans are honey processed.
Honey processing is a drying method that’s gaining popularity in the coffee world. Using this method, farmers remove the skin of the coffee cherry and various amounts of fruit pulp before drying. This allows extra fruitiness and sweetness to transfer to the beans as they dry.
As a result, our Finca Cual Bicicleta features sweet notes of honey, florals, and lemon-raspberry.
Arabica vs Robusta? Specialty coffee has become a leader in category growth and profits for food service providers. In the last year, major players have spent millions to upgrade their coffee quality and marketing campaigns.
As consumer palates have become more discerning, coffee quality has come under the microscope. Coffee blends with lower-quality Robusta coffee just aren’t cutting it anymore. Coffee-forward operators are upping their game to blends with 100% Arabica coffee. Here is an overview of what customers are looking for in food service coffee.
When it comes to coffee, the nose knows. When consumers enter your store, they expect the same aromatic qualities they’d enjoy when entering a craft coffee shop.
Arabica beans contain almost 60% more lipids and almost twice the concentration of sugars than Robusta beans. These play an important role during the roasting process, helping several key aromatic compounds.
So while Arabica coffee often smells sweet and fragrant after roasting, Robusta coffee tends to smell more like raw peanuts.
Although the taste of coffee can vary widely due to the skill level of the roaster, Arabica coffees usually have the advantage.
Arabica coffee retains more flavor and sweetness after roasting than Robusta. An Arabica taste profiles are complex and distinctive, often Including tones of fruits, florals chocolate and nuts with a delightful balance between natural sweet and tangy flavors.
Even high-quality Robusta can’t match Arabica’s flavor profile. The best Robusta beans have very neutral flavors, almost “oatmeal-like” flavors with notes of earthier chocolate.
When brewed, a Robusta bean will produce more crema, which is the light, airy cream on top of a brewed espresso. For this reason, traditional Italian espresso blends historically contained Robusta beans.
Most roasters now understand that they can produce excellent crema using high-quality Arabica coffee. The result is a beverage that has all the visual appeal of a traditional Italian espresso with more of the balanced, sweet and pleasant taste notes desired by today’s specialty coffee drinker. When evaluating Arabic vs Robusta, there’s no more important factor in consumers minds than visual attributes.
With a higher emphasis on health, today’s coffee drinkers are increasingly concerned about caffeine. One reason that the taste of Robusta coffee is not as desirable as the taste of Arabica coffee is that Robusta has almost double the amount of caffeine. This may sound like a positive thing to those trying to jump-start their day or fuel up for their workout routine, but caffeine carries a bitter taste which becomes unpleasant at higher levels
At Stockton Graham & Co., we are focused on quality coffee. That’s why all coffees in our Batch 0995 food service line are made from sweet, fragrant, and delicious 100% Arabica coffees. Learn more about arabica vs robusta or Batch 0995, call us at 800 835 5943 for more information.
Our Brazil Cerrado Natural is imported from one of the most delicate regions of Brazil, the Cerrados. The Cerrado accounts for over twenty percent of the country and is home to some of the moister savanna wetlands of the world. Tropical climates of the Cerrado region enables it to produce a pleasurably balanced coffee.
Coffee is Brazil’s largest export, accounting for around one-third of the world’s coffee production. Quality Brazilian coffees often have a balanced flavor profile with a smooth, subtle level of sweetness. For that reason, high-quality Brazilian beans are preferred for specialty espresso blends because they stabilize the flavor acting as a delicious backdrop for beans from other regions.
We selected this coffee bean because it is a “full natural” or dried-in-the-fruit coffee. Brazilin farmers process the coffee similar to drying grapes into raisins. The best quality coffee fruit is selected and allowed to bask in sunlight until the cherry turns from red to deep brown. This meticulous drying process grants the bean more sweetness. As a result, the Brazil Cerrado Natural produces a light, silky cup with a sweetness balanced by its delicate notes of berries.
Our Uganda Bulaago coffee comes from a small village in the Buzabiti District, part of the larger Bugisu region of Uganda. Despite being one of the smaller countries in Africa, Uganda ranks second in the continent’s coffee production as well as seventh in the world.
Unfortunately, getting this fine coffee to consumers and maintaining consistent growing standard has long been difficult. That is changing, however, thanks to companies like Crop to Cup Importers.
To get our Uganda Bulaago coffee to market, Crop to Cup works with the 140-member BuCoFa farmer group, which is home to the Bulaago Coffee Project. This is an important collaborative project that helps farmers in Bulaago receive pre-crop financing, higher compensation, and additional training in exchange for taking the extra steps to produce high-scoring, specialty-grade coffee.
Crop to Cup Coffee Importers was founded to assist farmers through collaborations like the Uganda Bulaago Coffee Project. Together, they work to ensure fair compensation as well as production of better crops. This, in turn leads to better lives for the country’s numerous small-lot farmers, as well as great coffee.
On our end, Dilworth Coffee works with Crop to Cup to bring delicious Uganda Bulaago to this side of the Atlantic and share it with customers.
When you drink our Uganda Bulaago coffee, you can expect a terrific cup.
Coffees from Sumatra, the western-most island in Indonesia have long been popular for their distinctive flavors. When new crops reach market, we try numerous samples to make sure we discover the very best of what the island has to offer. For 2018, we are offering Sumatra Karo Highlands, Organic Sumatra Mandheling as well as a Sumatra Decaf.
The western-most island in Indonesia, Sumatra grows coffees at altitudes of over 1000 meters on its northern end. At the green bean stage, the coffee has a distinctive bluish color which is attributed to lack of iron in the soil. Their taste can often be considered smooth, with a sweet body that is balanced and intense. Depending on the region, or blend of regions, the flavors of the land and processing can also be very pronounced. Part of this is due to the unique wet hulling technique (called giling basah) used during processing. Another factor in the diverse and intriguing nature of Sumatra coffee is the large number of small producers; even today close to 92% of production is in the hands of small farmers or cooperatives. In 2016, Indonesia ranked fourth in the world with an estimated export total of 400,000 tons of coffee. Less than 14% of that is Arabica from Sumatra, which makes it a very desirable and often hard-to-find coffee.
A Bit of Coffee History
It wasn’t until the late 17th century that the coffee plant appeared in Indonesia. The Dutch East India Company, seeking to break a monopoly on the coffee trade held at that time by Arab merchants, first brought coffee plants to the islands in a search for suitable habitats for commercial crops. The Dutch Colonial Government, which ruled much of the region, began to experiment with plantings and some of the plants took hold. In 1711, the first green coffee exports were sent home to Europe. Successes came rapidly and within ten years, exports of coffee had risen to 60 tons per year. Indonesia became the largest producer of coffee after Ethiopia and Arabia and trade in the commodity there was controlled by the Dutch East India Company until the 1790s.
By the mid 1870’s, large coffee plantations had been created around the Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. As the demand for coffee grew, roads and railroads were created to transport the coffee beans from rural mountainous growing areas to ports for export. During World War Two, however, the growth of Sumatra coffee came to a standstill as many coffee plantations were abandoned. Even after Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, the coffee industry languished as farmers focused on crops such as rubber and palm oil. Slowly, beginning in the 1960s, investment in the country’s infrastructure and technological advances have helped the Sumatran coffee industry grow.
Tasting Notes for our Sumatra Coffees
AROMA: Mild Earth, Dark Chocolate
BODY: Creamy, Full-Bodied
FLAVOR: Caramel, Semi-sweet Chocolate
ACIDITY: Very Low
AFTERTASTE: Lingering, Slightly Spicy