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.
As we start a new year, we decided to feature one of our all-time favorite coffees, the amazing organic Ethiopia Limmu Natural. This certified organic, single farmer coffee is a limited edition, small batch that our roasters have masterfully perfected. This coffee is comforting and approachable, but it is simultaneously and undeniably unique.
A Bean Unlike Any Other
Brad Kirby, Director of Coffee, was very pleased to share the incredible flavors of this single origin coffee during a tasting at Stockton Graham & Co. “This one has a nice balance of acidity and body,” said Kirby. “It is kind of a departure for us because it is really expensive. We bought twice as much as we did last year because it is just so good.”
The first, most striking detail about this coffee is the aroma. Before the beans are even roasted, they have a powerful fragrance of sweet fruit with floral undertones. As Kirby started to brew the freshly ground coffee the room began to smell like a berry orchard, with balmy aromas of ripe strawberries and jam.
“Because this coffee is natural processed, it has a more substantial body and slightly lower acidity than washed coffees from the same region,” said Kirby. “What’s great about the Limmu Natural though, is that it still produces an exceptionally clean cup in which the berry notes carry through from start to finish.” Kirby continued to savor the coffee in his mouth. “This organic Ethiopia was processed perfectly. It has more body and fruitiness than a Yirgacheffe, with a satisfying tartness at the end.”
“I would recommend brewing this almost any way you like. Its best use is probably a single cup offering,” said Kirby. “That being said, this next-level coffee will be excellent no matter how you prepare it.”
A Bit About Coffee Processing
Coffee processing is a catch-all term that is used to describe the various different processes by which the fruit—the sweet, fleshier outer part of the coffee cherry that most coffee drinkers sadly never get to taste— is removed from the seed inside the fruit, which is shipped around the world and roasted. One such style of processing is called “natural processing”, in which a coffee cherry is passively dried to separate seed from the pulp. Over the years, this natural processing method, which has been used for thousands of years and has a spiritual home in Ethiopia, has been seen as a lesser method of coffee production to a roast-ready bean when compared to washed processes, a much more modern method of using water to “wash” the fruit off the seed. Washing, the thinking goes, yields a cleaner and more balanced cup, with fewer defects.
But there are distinct benefits and lots of exciting aspects to the natural drying process that make it interesting and desirable, as we experience with the Limmu Natural. The method is increasingly en vogue in coffee growing regions outside of Ethiopia, where progressive coffee producers are thinking outside of the box and, in some ways, getting back to a more ancient method of coffee processing. And they’ve been greatly encouraged in their efforts by various progressive green coffee buyers, including both importers and direct emissaries from your favorite coffee roaster.
Not only is Ethiopia the birthplace of Arabica coffee, but it is undoubtedly one of the most popular coffee origins in the world. Many of its regions are well known for their coveted varietals and sought-after flavor profiles. Its high altitudes, ideal climates, and diverse landscapes make it somewhat of a coffee growing paradise. In fact, there is so much possibility for different coffees that finding a unique, exceptional, and traceable coffee in Ethiopia can be a challenge. Luckily, many of the farmers throughout the country are actively building strong relationships with coffee buyers and continuing to improve their crops year after year.
Our Ethiopia Limmu Natural comes from one such farmer, Kossa Geshe, and his single farm plantation in the Limmu district, near the Kebena Forest about 30 miles north of the city Jimma. It is harvested between August and October at altitudes between 5900-7000 ft. The large Jimma region of Western Ethiopia is home to some of the most diverse varietals, cup profiles, and processing styles in the country. The organic Ethiopia Limmu Natural was a unanimously high scoring standout at the 2014/2015 Ethiopia Taste of Harvest competition, recognized by cuppers and judges alike.
Arabica coffee grows wild in many of Ethiopia’s lush mountain forests, and covers about 400,000 hectares (988,422 acres) of land throughout the country. It is Ethiopia’s most important export, directly affecting the lives of over 15 million people. Ethiopia produces roughly 220,462 tons of clean coffee each year, 98% of which is thanks to workers on small farms. Fortunately, more and more cooperatives and partnerships are forming that give these small scale farmers increased equity and access to services and compensation that they haven’t received in the past. At Stockton Graham & Co. our hats go off to these efforts that recognize value in every step of the process and continue to make amazing coffees like Limmu Natural Kossa Geshe possible.
Simple, real ingredients and flavor craftsmanship are Torani traditions, and their newest beverage innovation highlights both with a taste that’s simply amazing. Torani Chai Concentrate is perfectly balanced for a smoother, richer and tastier chai experience.
To help you explore this chai alternative, Torani and Stockton Graham & Co. are offering complimentary one-week chai tastings at your business. We will provide a case of Torani Chai Concentrate, Torani sample cups, recipes and point-of-sale for your store. If you pick up products locally, you can also ask your Customer Care Associate to sample the chai at our facilities.
In the language of Hindi, chai is a word that simply means “tea.” (So when you put chai on your menu, there’s no need to follow the word Chai with the word Tea.) Today, however, chai has come to represent what traditional Indian cultures would call Chai Masala: a milky sweet, rich tea that is infused with seven aromatic spices. These spices are cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and black pepper.
As more chains are putting chai on their menus and retail shelf offerings keep expanding, chai flavors have become more abundant. You’ll see everything from vanilla and caramel chai to all types of spicy chai. Most spicy chai teas, for instance, also include cayenne or small amounts of Tezpur chili pepper from India, which has been recognized as the hottest pepper in the world—even hotter than Mexico’s Red Savina Habanero.
Torani Chai Concentrate: A perfectly balanced chai
Before launching its new Torani Chai Concentrate, Torani did extensive research into the flavor preferences of Americans. Their goal was to create a perfectly balanced chai where milk, spice, sweetness and tea each complemented each other and no component outweigh the other.
Torani Chai Concentrate is available in two flavors:
Traditional: A mellow, well-rounded blend of ground spices paired with honey, cane sugar and organic black tea.
Spicy: A lively chai with a bit more kick that highlights the ginger and cinnamon components of the seven traditional chai spices.
Whether traditional or spicy, Torani Chai Concentrate is a well-rounded and balanced combination that exudes spice notes that creates a bold experience without overpowering the rich flavor of the tea. The tea is kept fresh in a shelf-stable 32oz Tetra-Pak® and shipped six packs per carton.
What’s more, Torani Chai Concentrate is made with only simple, real ingredients like organic black tea, traditional ground spices, wildflower honey and a touch of pure cane sugar. The ingredient deck is clean and emphases the tea, which is important to consumers who follow health and wellness trends.
There are three ways to serve Torani Chai Concentrate:
Hot: Mix equal parts chai concentrate with any kind of milk. Heat using a steam wand.
Iced: Mix equal parts chai with any kind of milk. Pour over iced.
Blended: Combine 6oz chai concentrate with 14oz ice and 2oz of any kind of milk. Blend until smooth.
Whatever way you chose to serve it, millennials and boomers alike will welcome the addition of chai to your menu.
For more information on Torani Chai Concentrate, please call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.
Stockton Graham & Co. launched nitro cold brew coffee in Raleigh on May 22 to rave reviews during the four-day local celebration of good taste called The Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. On June 10, we will launch our nitro solution nationally at Coffee Fest Dallas. Drop by Coffee Fest booth #917 to speak to our coffee experts and sample the brew.
At the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival, customers lined up three-deep to taste our refreshing, sweet brew, which was featured in partnership with Café Helios. For the un-initiated, nitro coffee is cold brewed coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas. The gas transforms the cold coffee into a creamy, fizzy non-alcoholic beer-esque drink that can be enjoyed anytime of the day or night.
The Business Case for Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Offering nitro coffee is a slam dunk for an independent coffee shop, restaurant or bar, according to Thom Swain, Director of Southeast Sales for Stockton Graham & Co. Both the Specialty Coffee Association of America expo in April and the National Restaurant Association show in May featured nitro coffee prominently and booths offering nitro coffee were packed.
It’s no wonder. There hasn’t been a alcohol-free beverage option in recent history that hit the sweet spot in terms of demand, profitability and ease of implementation. Here’s a break down of the business case for nitro cold brew coffee:
Profits: Roughly $1 in costs, which include coffee and nitrogen gas, can create a 12oz beverage that can sell at $4-$5. That’s a 400% profit.
Implementation: Simple nitro systems are readily available at craft beer supply and home brew supply stores. A basic system will cost roughly $1000, and will break even at 250 servings. Many independent shops are reporting sales of 5-10 gallons (or 50-100 servings) of nitro a day.
Differentiation: Nitro is a product that is becoming known to more customers but that is still generally difficult to find. “Shops that develop a nitro program now will be ahead of the curve, positioning yourselves as a destination for nitro even before the product becomes more available,” said Thom Swain.
Demand: Nitro appeals specifically to millennials, who according to a 2016 survey by TD Ameritrade, spend more money on out-of-house coffee than any other demographic. “Offering nitro will shore up this demographic and have this coveted demographic in your store morning, noon and night,” Thom said.
Our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Recommendation
Through our research we have found that consumers in the 18-35 age group grew up on soda and have an affinity for the sharp, fruity flavor of phosphoric acid that gives soda its “pop.”
With that in mind, we recommend using East African coffees tapped with beer gas. This summer, we are recommending our Tanzania Peaberry that features juicy citrus and berry flavors. The nitrogen brings out a cane sugar sweetness that’s reminiscent of good southern-style sweet tea.
For a crisper and more fruity brew, you might try our Ethiopia Limmu. This limited-edition, natural-process, single-origin coffee provides a clean, sweet mouth feel and pops with the flavors of strawberry, raspberry and rose hips.
Both Tanzania Peaberry and Ethiopia Limmu are roasted to order at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facilities.
When it comes to preparing and serving nitro cold brew coffee, a variety of systems are available. You may opt for a custom-made jockey boxes like the one we prepared for Café Helios at the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. There are also relatively inexpensive countertop coolers and more elaborate full kegerator beer tap systems. Either of these options are available at places like Home Depot, home brew stores and restaurant supply stores. The team at Stockton Graham & Co. can discuss options based on your business concept and traffic and provide step-by-step guidance on brewing, gassing and serving nitro coffee.
If you are in Dallas for Coffee Fest, stop by our booth #917 to meet the team to sample our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee or call us at 800 835 5943.
Colombia, the second largest producer of coffee in the world, is perhaps the best recognized source of specialty coffee. The town of Pitalito, which lies in the Valley of Laboyos in the Huila region, produces superior graded Supremo. The Colombia Supremo Pitalito shows off one of Colombia’s richest coffee micro-regions—its perfect blend of weather, altitude and soil producing some of the best coffee in the country.
Our new single-origin Colombia Supremo Pitalito is a blend of beans from several farms, each averaging about 6 hectares and 5,000 trees per hectares. Because the farms are so small, the coffee is blended together at the source and exported as one type. The quality control at source is outstanding. These smallholder farms are known for their commitment and dedication to the craft of growing great coffee. Beans are hand-picked at the peak of ripeness, wet processed using traditional fermentation and sun-dried on patios.
Roastmaster Brandon Riggs and Head Roaster Brad Kirby cupped six Colombian offerings this season before choosing the Pitalito Colombia Supremo. “They were all very good Colombians,” Brad Kirby said. “But the Pitalito shined through more. The entire roasting team decided pretty quickly that this would be our new single-origin Colombian.”
The Colombia Supremo Pitalito had both the flavor and the balance that the roasting team was seeking. “Of all the Colombians we cupped this season, this one was a bit more balanced,” Brandon Riggs said. “I like the fruitiness, sweetness. It is a good, solid Colombian that could stand on its own as a single origin or could work well as a blend with other varietals.”
The flavor is complex, Brandon noted. “It has a sweet, caramel flavor upfront and a dry, malty spiciness on the back end.”
The aftertaste is long and lingering, Brandon added. “The aftertaste is similar to an East African in that it stays with you. That’s a good sign of a well-processed Latin America coffee.”
Learn more about cupping protocols from the Specialty Coffee Association of America here.
Investigating New Latin America Coffees
Our new Colombia Supremo Pitalito was selected after an extensive process our roasting team is undergoing to investigate new Central and South American coffee crops from Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Stockton Graham & Co. tries to purchase coffee with the harvest cycles so that it is as fresh as possible.
But, of course, as coffee is an agricultural product, its quality and availability changes from season to season. “That’s one of the things I personally love about coffee,” said Brandon Riggs. “It’s agricultural so it is constantly changing. So we never know exactly what’s next.”
To help ensure the coffee we purchase for our customers is of the highest quality, the Stockton Graham & Co. roasting team undergoes extensive cuppings of each crop before we commit to bringing it in. “A good coffee roaster is never done researching, adjusting and refining the coffee,” Brad Kirby said. “We use regular cupping as a tool to assess the quality of the coffee, and refine the roast levels, to ensure that the roasting process is bringing out the very best that a coffee can be.”
The roasting process happens in our Raleigh, NC coffee facility where we craft roast coffee for our own Stockton Graham Coffees brand, as well as for Dilworth Coffee and for hundreds of private label customers around the nation.
For more information on our Colombia Supremo Pitalito or to order samples, please call our customer care team at 800 835 5943.
By popular demand, Stockton Graham & Co. is introducing our new Signature Iced Coffee a bit earlier this year.
This season’s Signature Iced Coffee is a result of all the tremendously enthusiastic feedback we received from last year’s Iced Coffee Blend. Customers loved the vibrant freshness of that blend and requested a coffee that would work well brewed over ice either as a commercial drip or Chemex format. So our coffee roasters and baristas got to work early.
The roasting and barista teams sampled several different single origin and blends in March; they tried different roast levels and various brew methods from toddy to drip. Based on feedback from the internal team and select customers, this year’s Signature Iced Coffee was born.
“This is a very refreshing and sweet iced coffee,” said Roastmaster Brandon Riggs, who oversees our Raleigh coffee roasting facilities. “When you serve this coffee on ice, the berry notes are a little more juicy, and you can really taste the sweetness.”
It’s no wonder. Brandon created an iced coffee that offers a Jasmine floral aroma, juicy berry flavor and a fresh, bright aftertaste that you’ll find in only the finest peaberries from the Rift Valley region of Tanzania.
“The acidity is nice and bright,” explains Alex Jeans, our lead barista. “It has a very pleasant after taste that’s light and delicate. It’s a perfect coffee on ice for a hot day.”
Iced Coffee vs. Cold Blend
You’d be hard pressed to read a copy of Coffee Talk or BusinessWeek for that matter without stumbling across an article on cold brew coffee. And other publications like The Specialty Coffee Chronicle, Beverage Industry, Restaurant Business and FoodService Director feature articles on iced coffee. So, understandably, there may be a bit of confusion in the cold coffee arena.
There are basically two ways to brew coffee that’s put over ice:
Cold brew is a toddy where coffee grounds steep for 12+ hours to create a coffee concentrate. After a time, the grounds are filtered out of the liquid. That concentrate is served with equal parts water, milk and often Nitrogen, which creates a beer-like drink called nitro coffee.
Iced coffee is created by passing hot water over a filter of ground coffee — mostly in a commercial drip machine or in a Chemex — and the hot coffee drips over cubes of ice. When brewed coffee is cooled quickly like this, flavor and acidity is locked in. This undiluted coffee is served over ice.
An emerging iced coffee brew method is called Hot Bloom Cold Brew. In this method, coffee grounds that have been placed in a large glass or plastic jug are “bloomed” with a small amount of boiling water for about 60 seconds. Ice water is then added to the vessel. The mix is swirled and placed in a refrigerator for 12-15 hours to steep. The grounds are filtered out before serving.
Although our Signature Iced Coffee will work fine using either method, it does well with the Hot Bloom Cold Brew method and virtually sings when brewed over ice in a Chemex or commercial drip brewer. Click here to view our Iced Coffee Brewing Guide.
“That’s because the coffee’s delicate flavors are enhanced when brewed over ice,” Alex explains. “Brewing over ice will retain the coffee’s inherent brightness, so you really experience the fresh acidity of this coffee. As a contrast, the toddy method is designed to take some of the acidity out of the coffee, resulting in a much different tasting experience.”
To sample Stockton Graham & Co.’s Signature Iced Coffee, contact a Customer Care Associate at email@example.com or 800 835 5943.
When you step off the bus onto the Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee estate, you’ve reached an amazing place.
Lush rainforest landscapes are vibrant with mums, gladioli, lilies, baby breath, daisies and roses. Cows, goats, turkey, quail and chicken roam through grassy pastures. These are the creatures that Selva Negra’s 300+ year-round workers tend, cultivating them for meat, milk, cream and eggs for the estate’s restaurant and in the workers’ kitchens. Farm-generated methane and hydro-electric power from ponds fuel lights, stoves and classrooms.
“Our goal is to be self-sufficient in everything,” Eddy Kühl, who owns and oversees the estate along with his wife Mausi, told me. “We produce green coffee for export, roasted coffee, milk, cheese, hams, vegetables, poultry and eggs. We produce methane gas for cooking and have solar heaters. Our bottleneck was the expensive, national energy power, but recently we finished building our own hydroelectric power turbine, and we are looking forward to a wind-powered energy system.”
A leader in sustainable farming since 1975, the Selva Negra Estate is recognized for producing exceptional Rainforest Alliance coffee and for its work to spread sustainable farming practices around the world through its not-for-profit Selva Negra Community Foundation. The foundation, headed by Mausi Kühl, has been working with farmers in Nicaragua to reclaim land laid to waste by toxic pesticides, deforestation and unsustainable farming practices. To date, the Selva Negra Community Foundation has made a significant impact by providing free education, resources and on-site training. Visit selvanegracommunity.org to learn more.
Stockton Graham & Co. began working with the Selva Negra community several years ago. In 2013, our roasting team spent some time on the estate, where they explored organic farming, the estate’s milling process and the vast social, medical, educational, professional and cultural services Selva Negra provides estate workers and their families. During that visit, we provided estate management with insight on the US coffee market and consumer preferences, as well as donated computers, school books and more.
As we set our sights on Earth Day 2016, which is on Friday April 22, we’re appreciating truly sustainable coffees like our Nicaragua Selva Negra. “This is truly the most sustainable coffee farm I have ever visited,” said Brandon Riggs, roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffee. “The Kühl’s commitment to the land, their coffee, and their people is inspiring and serves as an excellent example of what coffee culture can be – both at origin and for the end consumer.”
Truly sustainable coffee
It is grown using time-tested pesticide-free native Nicaraguan growing methods and boasts a Rainforest Alliance certification. Because the coffee is shade grown in the Matagalpa highlands, it is also bird friendly although it does not carry the official certification. However, it has been recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association for its sustainability practices, has received a Q Auction rating and the Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality Award.
Stockton Graham & Co. directly imports the coffee through Atlanta-based JavaVino. This small, independent business is run by Eddy and Mausi’s daughter, Heddy, her husband Steve and two sons. As the name suggests, JavaVino specializes in coffee and wine; but it also runs a café that serves breakfast, sandwiches and desserts, as well as event space for meetings, weddings and parties.
The care that everyone puts into growing, processing and importing Nicaragua Selva Negra Estate Coffee shines in the taste. Right from the start, brewed coffee emits the mouth-watering aroma of honey and caramel. Drinking the coffee is just as pleasurable. The cup’s creamy body is the perfect foundation for its milk chocolate flavors. As the coffee cools in the cup, you’ll begin to taste the depth of flavors from toasted caramel to sweet berry undertones.
This fine example of Nicaraguan coffee is also featured in our Grounds for Health Blend, which raises money for vital healthcare for women who work on coffee farms in Nicaragua, Peru and Ethiopia. Created in partnership with Grounds For Health, money raised from sale of the blend will provide cervical cancer screening and treatment to 15,000 women worldwide.