Most of us are familiar with Sumatra coffee today but it wasn’t until the late 17th century that the 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 near Batavia (now Jakarta) and several other locations. Some of the plants took hold and 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 taken over by the occupying Japanese. Even after Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, several plantations throughout the country were abandoned or taken over by the new government when original colonial plantation owners left the country.
Near the end of the 19th century, a leaf rust disease epidemic hit coffee plants in Indonesia. Many plantations were wiped out, leaving farmers to turn to other crops such as rubber trees and tea. The Dutch Government responded by importing and planting Liberica coffee, however this strain of coffee plants was also soon affected by leaf rust. They next turned to Robusta coffee, hoping it would be more resistant to the disease. It proved successful and today Robusta makes up over 75% of Indonesia’s coffee exports, much of it from the southern end of Sumatra.
The source of our Karo Highlands Sumatra Coffee
Coffees from Sumatra, the western-most island in Indonesia, have a distinctive bluish color at the green bean stage 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 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 northern Sumatra, which makes it a very desirable and often hard-to-find coffee.
We have tried numerous samples of Sumatra coffee and are excited to offer the ones we feel best represent the island. Try our Karo Highlands, Tunas Indah Organic or even our Sumatra Decaf and discover their unique flavors.
As part of a upgrade in dining hall options for the spring semester, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania has begin offering high-quality specialty organic coffees from Stockton Graham & Co. The 3600 students at the prestigious liberal arts college will now be able to enjoy freshly roasted Stockton Graham coffee as well fine Two Leaves and Bud Matcha green tea.
At the school’s 7th Street Café, Stockton Graham & Co., based in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be supplying Colombia Supremo Pitalito, Organic Sumatra Tunas Indah and Organic Mexico Chiapas. These high end organic coffees represent some of the finest from around the world. In addition, the café will also be offering the option of pour-overs featuring organic Ethiopia Limmu coffee.
“We have found this to be a growing trend,” say Lane Mitchell, Stockton Graham & Co. Marketing Director. “It is exciting that millennials are more interested in the artistry and science behind brewing and extraction to make a good cup of coffee instead of just relying on the traditional drip machine. The Limmu is a perfect coffee for this. It is always one of our favorites and the pour-over method really allows its unique characteristics to stand out.”
The company’s organic coffees are also highly desirable because to the growers’ commitments to sustainability and the environment. Says Mitchell, “The company is passionate about sourcing organic coffee that bear the USDA seal of approval. Those coffees that carry it–less than 10% of all those produced–follow strict regulations regarding how the coffee is grown and processed.”
Located near the corner of 7th St. and Moore Ave in Lewisburg not far from the Samek Art Museum, the café is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. In addition to the freshly-roasted Stockton Graham coffees, the 7th Street Café offers a wide range of sandwiches, wraps and other breakfast and snack items to hungry students at the central Pennsylvania university.
Try an experiment: have your barista save all of their leftover milk during a shift (with the goal of reducing milk waste). You’ll probably be shocked at how much it is–then think about how much that milk cost you!
Coffee shops waste a lot of milk. No one should re-steam old milk, which tastes burnt, doesn’t foam right, and is just plain disgusting. Therefore, you need to use fresh milk. The key is to manage its usage through proper training of each barista. A good one should be able to steam a perfect latte with zero waste.
Sometimes milk wastage stems from overstretching the milk, sometimes it is as simple as overfilling or using a steaming pitcher that is too large.
Says Alex Jeans, Stockton Graham & Co.’s resident barista trainer, “Always be sure to use the right pitcher for the job. Knowing which pitcher corresponds to which size drinks is always extremely helpful.”
To prevent that problem, don’t let baristas use the same pitcher for a 6 oz. cappuccino that they would for a 20 oz. latte. Pouring milk and making beautiful and elaborate designs on top of coffee drinks is always an appreciated skill, but a barista should also focus on consistently stretching the right amount of milk to the exact amount needed. It makes them much more efficient as they work and no time is spent trying to figure out what to do with leftover milk.
From a training perspective, if you or your baristas are not starting and ending with the right amount of milk, it’s just not being done correctly. Training for it from the very beginning is the best. If baristas need help hitting the mark with milk, have them join you for an extra training session. Milk waste and the associated costs can definitely be greatly reduced with just a little practice!
As we start a new year, we decided to feature one of our all-time favorite coffees, the amazing Limmu Natural from Ethiopia. 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 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 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.
North Carolina, where Stockton Graham & Co. is headquartered, will experience inclement weather beginning Friday, January 6th that will impact customer shipments through the weekend. Expect snow, ice and freezing rain from Winter Storm Helena to delay all deliveries leaving our facilities and headed northward to New York, eastward into Tennessee and southward into Georgia and parts of Alabama. Plan for the possibility that orders scheduled for delivery on Monday Jan 9 will be delayed.
Due to the storm, which is expected to impact travel throughout the weekend, Stockton Graham & Co. may delay opening on Monday, January 9. We will post delay information on our Facebook page. If you need to place an order early Monday morning, we recommend emailing email@example.com
Stockton Graham & Co. is excited to continue our partnershipwith Grounds for Health through our Grounds for Health Blend coffee.
We are bringing back our Grounds for Health Blend for the second year.
Through the sales of this significant roast, $10,000 will be donated to Grounds for Health to continue the work and expansion of vital healthcare for women in coffee-growing communities. This launch helped to double Grounds for Health’s impact and made it possible for it to reach its goal. Now we are excited to help even more women in 2017 who are in need of healthcare.
Grounds for Health Blend is our featured blend this month. It will be sure to be a hit in your store! Grounds for Health Blend is a smooth blend of coffees from Central America and Africa. This custom blend features subtle fruit and sweet notes layered in a silky body.
Grounds for Health will receive $1 from every 12oz bag and $5 from every 5lb bag sold. The retail bags are artfully labeled and come with a branded countertop display and an info card on the Grounds for Health organization.
In this season of goodwill and kindness towards all of humankind, why not consider partnering with us! This as a great gift for the holidays and a wonderful idea to attract millennials who are looking to make purchases with a greater purpose.
Stockton Graham & Co. helps Grounds for Health to Expand
In addition to continuing its work with Stockton Graham & Co., Grounds for Health made a big announcement. They have expanded the work of their East African program to Kenya. This move is indicative of the organization’s desire to continue the work of reaching women who live in high-risk regions and working in agricultural supply chains. Without these women who are picking and processing our beans, we wouldn’t have the ability to enjoy the coffee we drink. Their health is vitally important not just so we can have our cup of joe, but because these are real needs with real solutions. Grounds for Health is serious about the health of women in coffee growing regions and they, along with Stockton Graham & Co. believe that every woman deserves the right to health in order to achieve her full potential.
“Kenya presents a tremendous opportunity to scale our impact by reaching more women working in the coffeelands and in other industries such as tea and cut-flowers,” said Guy Stallworthy, CEO at Grounds for Health. “We are thankful to our seed funders who are making our expansion possible.”
East Africa has a high need of healthcare for women and more specifically Kenya. At present, there are 3.1 million women in the country who are at risk for terminal disease and Grounds for Health will work closely with the Ministry of Health to train, equip and promote professionals and community workers in an effort to improve the quality of health care for women.
“Grounds for Health’s work has a foundational influence on the future of coffee growing communities,” said Craig Holt, a supporting partner who spearheaded a fundraising effort for Grounds for Health’s Kenya program.
Stockton Graham & Co. sources coffees from each of the regions helped by Grounds for Health. We have proudly aligned ourselves with the work of Grounds for Health as we believe in the well-being of the people working on the coffee farms.
Grounds for Health Celebrates
This year, Grounds for Health is also celebrating its 20th year in life-saving healthcare. Founded by a physician and coffee industry executive, Grounds for Health has provided vital health care services to women living in coffee producing countries since 1996.
Beginning its work in Oaxaca, Mexico as a volunteer based endeavor, Grounds for Health has become a globally recognized non-profit organization with programs in Africa and Latin America. Currently, more than 60,000 women have been screened, more than 4,000 women treated and clinical training for more than 400 healthcare providers has been given.
To order Grounds for Health Blend, please call 800 835 5943.
As we near the end of the year, we wanted to alert you to some important ordering and shipping dates.
Please also be aware that holiday- and weather-related shipping delays can occur especially during December. We encourage you to plan ahead so you can have all the product you need for a profitable holiday season.