On April 22nd, more than one billion people around the globe will celebrate the 48th annual Earth Day. Since coffee, of course, is an agricultural product, the state of the environment is fundamentally important to producing quality coffee.
There is no denying the environment’s effect on taste. The crop to cup journey is one of the earth’s many miracles, and even the slightest climate change could greatly alter a harvest’s quality. The fact is, we all agree that our planet is precious. As the global climate changes, it becomes ever more import for each of us to do our part in protecting it.
Since being founded in 1994, Stockton Graham & Co. has been committed to purchasing green coffee from farms, co-ops and other organizations that take care to protect the environment through sustainable agricultural practices.
“We work closely with farmers both directly and through our importers to ensure coffee growing and harvesting practices protect the earth and, indeed, the future of the coffee industry.”
Jeff Vojta, Founder and CEO of Stockton Graham & Co.
As Earth Day 2018 approaches, we wanted to spotlight the impact of some of our local sustainability projects.
Our Director of Coffee Brad Kirby spearheaded these initiatives to help two neighboring sustainable farms, the Farm at Penny Lane and Paz farm. “These farms are mission-driven and make a big impact my community,” Brad said. “I also love that they are so close to me, I can hear when they have tractors running, so it’s easy donating to them.”
The Farm at Penny Lane partners with individuals with mental illness to grow nutritious food for themselves and others. Penny Lane provides integrated, community-based programs in a therapeutic inclusive farm setting. The farm’s sustainable accommodations include a community garden also offers Horticultural therapy.
Stockton Graham & Co. donates used burlap to Penny Lane. Burlap is the fabric sack used for shipping green coffee beans. Using burlap in farming helps reduce the growth of weeds and is biodegradable—meaning it eventually decomposes and contributes to garden soil.
We caught up with Jessamine from Penny Lane, to see how the burlap project was going.
“Things are going well here,” Jessamine reported. “The crops are growing a little slowly, but the weeds are not, and we are dutifully clearing them out of pathways and spreading out the burlap. The real test of the experiment will be midsummer when we see how well the burlap keeps down the weeds, but for now, we love having it. It’s so much nicer to work with than cardboard!”
The Paz Farm is a small-scale farm located in Chapel Hill, NC. They produce range free eggs and seasonal produce. The Paz Farm uses sustainable growing practices, which means they avoid synthetics, pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.
Chaff is the byproduct of roasting coffee beans. The roasting process causes the thin, dried skin around the green coffee bean to come off. Chaff has many uses in farming; it is excellent for composting but can also be mixed into the soil.
Stockton Graham & Co. regularly donates chaff to Paz Farm. We asked Nancy from the farm about the chaff donation.
“We’ve used the chaff as bedding for our chicken coups, and it is working well,” Nancy said. “We saved money, the coups smell better, and our chickens have been cozy since we started using your chaff, Thanks Stockton Graham & Co.”
At Stockton Graham & Co., we take sustainability seriously. We all play a role in preserving our planet. For more information about our sustainable initiatives or any of our sustainable coffees, call 800 835 5943 or email us.
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.
Sourcing 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.
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.
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.
Note: As of March, 2017 we are no longer offering Grounds for Health Coffee.