Teaching Coffee Technicians to be Expert Brewers

Brady Butler at Coffee Technicians GuildOn July 20-22, the Coffee Technicians Guild Summit, an event dedicated to educating coffee technicians from around the world, was held in Greensboro, NC. One of the instructors at this important coffee industry gathering was our very own Brady Butler.

Brady, field liaison for Stockton Graham/Dilworth Coffee is a passionate member of the coffee community. He has helped plan and run coffee events for the local barista community and served as a former Chapter Representative for the Barista Guild Association (BGA). He enjoys teaching others about coffee and earned his Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Lead Instructor Certificate in 2011, followed by his Golden Cup Technician Certificate in 2012. Brady began volunteering as a Lead Instructor at SCAA Expo in 2013. As past Chair of the SCA’s “Brew Crew,” he has played a key role in developing the new SCA Professional Brewing curriculum.

At the CTG Summit, Brady taught the course entitled Brewing: Foundation Level, which was designed to introduce the novice to the core skills and equipment required to produce outstanding brewed coffee.

“After a year’s worth of hard work and multiple trips across the Atlantic, the global SCA Brew Crew was finally ready to present our new and improved Brewing Foundation course” says Brady. “We combined the best elements of the SCAA’s Brewing and Extraction Principles class and the SCAE’s Brewing Foundation course, and created some great new elements as well. This is an excellent starting point for understanding the brewing process, and the first step towards the Brewing Professional Certificate. Since so much of our work was done here in North Carolina, I’m thrilled that this first offering of the class was in Greensboro.”

“We had 50 people from all over the country and even a couple from Europe,” continued Brady. “There were a lot of great events, a mix of fun and educational, including team challenges. My favorite had teams race to see who could fix an intentionally-broken espresso machine the quickest.”

“Since our audience was mostly equipment techs, we did a deeper dive into equipment-related aspects of brewing. These folks already know how to fix brewing equipment. We wanted to help them go beyond that to understand how to make coffee that tastes great. That’s the most important thing.”

The Coffee Technicians Guild (CTG) is an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) dedicated to supporting the coffee industry through the development of professional technicians. The CTG was created to build a community of technicians who can provide mutual support and knowledge, as well as provide opportunities to develop skills and learn best practices. In order to bring together the coffee industry’s most knowledgeable and inspiring professional technicians, the Guild strives to offer events year-round. For more information, please visit: https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/.

For more information about coffee or how to brew it properly, please call 800 835 5943 or email customerservice@stocktongraham.com

The Organic Coffee of Chiapas, Mexico

Coffee from Chiapas, MexicoThough coffee from locales such as Colombia and Sumatra may be a little more well-known, Mexican coffees from Chiapas should certainly be regarded as some of the best in the world.

A country famous for its cuisine and sunny beaches, Mexico is also famous around the world for producing delicious specialty coffee. The country is the world’s ninth largest producer of coffee and most of that coffee is grown in Chiapas, the southernmost state.

In Chiapas, an area geographically isolated from much of Mexico until the 19th century, mountain ranges rise to elevations of up to 2000 meters and run parallel to the Pacific Ocean. The highest peak in the region and the second highest in Central America, Tacaná Volcano, rises to 4800 meters (15,700 feet) above sea level. With rich volcanic soils and ideal climate, the area is perfect for growing coffee.

Our Batch 0995 certified organic coffee from the Chiapas region originates from the Finca El Chorro. This farm, founded in the 1930s, is located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. It is only a few miles from the Guatemala border and around 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Since 1980, coffee production at El Chorro has been organic and the farm’s coffee has been certified Shade Grown since 2002. In 2004, the output was certified as Bird Friendly Coffee by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, due to the presence of more than one hundred bird varieties on the farm. (Hint: these are great selling points!)

CUPPING NOTES

AROMA: Nutmeg, Orange Blossom
BODY: Light, Juicy
FLAVOR: Black Tea, Fruity
ACIDITY: Balanced, Citric
AFTERTASTE: Clean, Refreshing

In the surrounding areas of Chiapas, coffee was first planted as a serious crop in the late 1800s, much of it by German farmers. By 1910 the state was the leading producer of coffee in the country. Today, the crop is grown primarily by small farmers, most with plots of ten acres or less, at altitudes that range from 500 to 1400 meters above sea level. Harvest takes place from November to January and the beans are sent to a co-op for wet processing. A sizable percentage of the crop from Chiapas is certified organic, meaning it adheres to strict USDA guidelines for number of things, including no use of pesticides. These sought-after coffees are often said to resemble the best high-grown coffees from neighboring Guatemalan in character and complexity. Described as silky bodied with a medium acidity, organic coffee from Mexico often gives a sense of chocolate on the palate and leave a touch of honey aftertaste.

For more information about our organic Batch 0995 Mexico Chiapas or any of our other coffees, call us at 800 835 5943 or email info@stocktongraham.com.

 

Advice From An Expert

Coffee shop advice from an expertBased on a lecture by Bruce Milletto, President of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and former retail shop owner, there is a list of 12 essentials when it comes to running a successful coffee shop. Take this advice to heart, especially when planning for the busy holiday season this year–it will be here before you know it!

  1. The first and most important is proper business planning. This is the key in any business and especially in the coffee industry. It is important to understand where the industry has come from and where it is heading, to plan and analyzing your financial potential carefully and set short and long-term goals.
  2. You also need to understand the coffee itself. Those who just jump into the industry prematurely can get into trouble fast. It is essential that you understand the nuances of coffee from seed to cup; including origins, growing practices, certification, roasting and proper preparation.
  3. Location is always an important aspect to consider when you are selling any product. As an owner, it is important to determine a location that will bring in foot traffic, provide you with the work space that you need and is easy to find. It is important to make sure the lease you sign is a good one, because signing the wrong lease can be catastrophic to your business.
  4. Your shop needs strong ergonomic design. It is important that your design works for both you and your customer’s needs. You don’t want your space too small that your baristas are running into each other, but you still want to allow your customers to feel cozy and not lost in cafeteria-sized café.
  5. Creating a unique and appealing ambiance is vital to coffee shops. From your menu to your lighting, it is important that you set yourself apart from the chains. Create an atmosphere to attract the client you want to attract.
  6. Equally important is merchandising and presentation. What else can you sell to help your bottom line? Mints, T-shirts and mugs are just a few ideas to help boost your sales and diversify your product list. As a coffee shop, you should be pushing your whole bean sales and focusing on getting your customers to drink your coffee outside your shop.
  7. Your Menu is something that allows you to stand out and draw in new clients. You should select your items and recipes carefully, and keep in mind what your competitors are serving. It is also important to display your items, whether it’s pictures on the menu, posters or displays on the front counter. Show your customers what you serve and offer advice on choices to them.
  8. One of the most important essentials is hiring the right employees. Your employees are the gears that run your shop, so when you hire consider appearance, work ethic, maturity and attitude. Do they have a strong understanding for coffee, and can they teach your customers? Poor employees are the biggest mistake that many operations make!
  9. Going hand in hand with good employees is customer service. You as an owner need to lead and teach your employees by example. Get behind the bar, give them advice and show them how to properly serve a customer, from the greeting to the money exchange. Always focus on the customer’s needs first and foremost!
  10. Something that seems obvious is managing your business. The essential part is that it’s up to you as an owner to see that quality service is produced. Stay on top of your baristas, manage waste and watch for theft. Make sure that your employees are meeting your expectations throughout the shop.
  11. An often overlooked essential is marketing. Nowadays it is imperative to have your own website, Facebook, twitter, etc. Create promotions that work in your specific situation. Point of Sale is also a great way to advertise your product, and it should be used to its fullest potential. Any way to get your logo and name to stick in a customer’s mind (in a positive way) is good.
  12. Finally, our last bit of advice relates to operational systems, budget and cost controls. Create systems for both employees and management, including a manual to read and sign upon employment. This is a positive way to learn and understand company policies and procedures. As an owner, always know your cost of goods and keep an eye on all operating expenses.

Bruce is confident that if you are on top of every area, you will succeed. He says that people will not stop drinking coffee, so stay positive! It is more important now than ever to operate smart and plan accordingly. We at Stockton Graham & Company hope this list of 12 business essentials will provide you with some helpful tips as you continue to succeed and grow in our fast growing and thrilling industry.

To learn more about ways to succeed in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.