16 Years and Counting: The Origin of Graham’s Greatest Blend™

Graham’s Greatest Blend is a best seller that has been with us since our inception as a 700-square foot coffee shop.  It was created in the summer of 1994 as the house blend for our flagship location. Its development was driven to satisfy the requests of our initial coffee shop customers.

In doing our market research, we found our prospective customers wanted speedy coffee service before starting their morning commutes to school and work.  They wanted to have a variety of coffee to choose from, however, they also wanted to have an old reliable, consistent choice for the days they were too busy to sample.

Our customers also requested a darker roast,  full-bodied blend with a nice balanced acidity. From our perspective, we wanted the blend to be both exciting and nuanced, while at the same time familiar and comforting to the drinker.

We started with variations of Latin American origins from Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc.  These coffees and roast levels were most familiar to our test subjects (read: friends and family).  In 1994, these single-origins were much more widely available and easily sourced. We altered roast levels and experimented a great deal, but we felt the results lacked the nuance we were looking for.

We then tried combining Indonesian coffees with the Latins, which gave us some incredible chocolate notes and then adding an available East African varietal, which, at the time, was harder to reliably obtain.

Ultimately, we tried lots of combinations. Many of those combinations went on to become other staple blends that you might be familiar with (Andes, Espresso Milano, etc.).  We knew we stumbled onto something after we tried variations pairing Indonesians with East Africans.  The result became our official House Blend, and eventually, “Graham’s Greatest”. The blend proved to be versatile and popular during all day parts and also sold incredibly well as a retail coffee for customers to brew at home.

Our “House Blend” became the shop staple and, 16 years later, it has served as the “old reliable” for a great many cafes and coffeehouses throughout the United States.  One of our classic blends, it has stood the test of time.

Jeff Vojta
Stockton Graham & Co.