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.
There is something very endearing about a true crop-to-cup story in the world of coffee, as is the story of Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee.
From a farm in Nicaragua to an importer in Georgia to a coffee roaster in North Carolina, this is a true story of partnership at coffee’s source. And this isn’t just buzz or marketing. Stockton Graham & Co. is supporting the Selva Negra farmers every step of the way: from seed to service.
Meet the Kuhl-Hayn family: Eddy Kühl and Mausi Hayn. They are the owners of the Selva Negra coffee estate in Nicaragua. Their daughter Heddy Franklin and her husband Steve Franklin live in Atlanta, GA where they run a coffee importing company called Beanealogy. Their company also serves their coffee in a shop called JavaVino.
For years, we have been buying beans from Steve. We roast them to bring out their delicious honey and caramel aromas and their smoothly sweet chocolate flavors that are part of what makes Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee so special.
On the Farm with Stockton Graham & Co.
In addition to offering roasted beans from the estate, Stockton Graham & Co. has had the pleasure of visiting and working with the Kuhl-Hayn family in Nicaragua.
Our roasting team spent some time on the Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee estate. We assisted with organic farming, sustainable milling and processing. We also helped with the vast social, medical, educational, professional and cultural services the Selva Negra community provides estate workers and their families.
I had the chance to catch up with one member of our roasting team that spent time with the Selva Negra farmers: our Director of Coffee Brad Kirby.
“We were able to spend several days at the Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee estate,” Brad said. “That gave us the chance to spend time picking cherries and seeing the cherries all the way through to the drying patio.”
“We were also invited to come be a part of payday on the farm,” Brad said. “It was interesting and eye opening to see hundreds of pickers, with their families, come and line up to be paid in cash.” The estate employees over 300 workers.
The trip was organized through Steve Franklin, co-owner of Beanealogy and JavaVino.
“We like taking people down to Nicaragua to the farm so they can see first-hand how we treat others,” said Steve. “It shows that what Mausi is doing is good and supports the way of life that most farmers wish they could have.”
Mausi is the matriarch and the visionary. She comes up with sustainable ideas of how to impact her community for good, both ecologically and socially. Her husband Eddy is an engineer who then puts systems in place to make her ideas have traction. Their daughter Heddy and son-in-law Steve began purchasing 5-10 percent of the coffee from the farm and now they purchase up to 70 percent.
Nicaragua Selva Negra Coffee
Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee is mostly the Arabica Bourbon varietal, mixed with some Caturra. The Bourbon varietal, named after the island of Bourbon where it was first cultivated, is fragile and doesn’t produce as many cherries as other varietals; but the coffee it does produce is sweet, lush and complex.
Caturra is a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil. It is distinguished by its bright acidity and low-to-medium body. With less sweetness than its parent, Bourbon, the addition of the Catarrh bean helps create a more balanced cup when brewed.
“Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee produces a cup that balances a mild tang with a toasty sweetness,” said Stockton Graham & Co.’s Director of Coffee Brad Kirby. “Its bright acidity gives way to a softly sweet yet brisk flavor.”
Brad points to the coffee’s medium body and smooth mouth feel, a combination that is familiar to the American palate. “Our Selva Negra is a very accessible coffee with flavors of bright summerfruit and sweet milk chocolate,” Brad said. “The sweet chocolate carries into a delicate finish.”
The History of Selva Negra
Selva Negra is an estate that is located between the cities of Matagalpa and Jinotega in Nicaragua. It sits on the historical highlands, where German immigrants set up the first coffee farm back in the 19th century.
The Selva Negra farm is called La Hammonia. It was acquired by Eddy Kühl and Mausi Hayn in 1975. The estate also includes a coffee mill and an eco hotel, which caters to tourists who enjoy the clean waters and lush forests around El Arenal volcano.
The eco lodge staff is mostly made out of people who live in the property also, wives and children of workers. Some of them have been there since the beginning in 1975; others have retired but have left their children in their old positions. They work as one big family.
Environmental projects are carried out each year always seeking for new, better and more efficient systems. Some of these projects include using earth tubs to decontaminate coffee wastewater, improved system for treating bathrooms and toilets’ sewage, reforestation, methane gas production and microorganism production to improve soil quality.
To order Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee, please call 800 835 5943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nothing beats consistency! Especially when it comes to coffee. This is how we at Stockton Graham & Co. feel about Papua New Guinea Mile High Coffee. Making its mark in Pacific coffees, a noteworthy attribute of this particular coffee is that it is unusually consistent with the crops previously brought in. This is so exciting because consistency is a key reason customers return – they know what they are getting.
This is great for the independent coffee shop owner too because your customers will fall in love with the PNG and keep coming back for it. In fact, when surveyed, 86 percent of respondents in the Charlotte, NC area said “consistent service or quality” was most important in a recent survey we conducted with Mintel.
Originating in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Mile High is the grade A coffee from the Arokara Co-op. Mile High gets its name because it is grown on the outskirts of the mountain town Kainantu, exactly one mile above sea level. Surrounded by mountains reaching staggering altitudes, the Arokara Co-op is made of plantations such as Gadsup and Tairorasta. Arokara has been processing and growing coffee for over 20 years. No chemicals or fertilizers are used by the landowner clans who now own and run Arokara.
The entire clan hand picks and pulps the Mile High cherries on the same day. Then, the fresh cherries are fermented for approximately 36 hours in cement vats. Next, they are cleaned in crisp, clear mountain water from the nearby Aru River. Lastly, they are left to dry in the sun for 7-12 days, slowly taking on a lovely bluish color. Mile High is carefully wet-processed to produce a consistently high-quality bean.
Gentle Flavors with an Undeniable Quality from a Versatile Bean
I sat down with our Head Roaster Brad Kirby and resident Barista Alex Jeans to explore this exceptional coffee and hear what they had to say about our Papua New Guinea (or PNG) Mile High.
They all commented on the slight, yet fruity malt softness of the bean that makes Mile High particularly drinkable. Its enjoyable aftertaste lingers on the tongue to be relished.
“As espresso, this coffee’s attributes are amplified in all the right ways,” said Kirby. “If a customer is looking for something different but instantly loveable, PNG Mile High is the way to go. Thanks to its creamy body and fruity sweet notes, this particular coffee does extremely well in small and medium sized milk-based drinks.”
To really get at the coffee’s unique flavors, our SCAA-certified barista Alex Jeans suggests brewing Mile High using the V60 pour over method, which really highlights its silky smooth body.
“The V60 method really highlights the coffee’s subtle acidity and fruit flavors along with a milk chocolate aftertaste,” Jeans said. “If you want to feature the coffee’s tangy, bright plum notes, then preparing it as an espresso is the way to go.”
When brewing PNG, it’s important to use the right coffee to water ratio—roughly 1:16 or 1 gram of coffee per 16 milliliters/grams of water or in other words 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water—and the appropriate grind for your brew method. For more information see our Brewing and Grinding Guide. Here you will find specific measurements and grinds for your particular brew method.
Coffee Growth in Papua New Guinea
Occupying the eastern half of the island New Guinea in the Pacific region of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There are 848 languages spoken there and thousands of independent indigenous communities. This said, Papua New Guinea is still one of the world’s least explored countries.
Nearly 40 percent of the population lives a self-sustainable natural lifestyle, and the entire nation relies heavily on customary subsistence-based agriculture. In the mid-1920’s when Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee seeds were planted, Coffee production in the country started. This made PNG a closely connected descendent of one of the most luxurious and sought after coffees in the world.
The first coffee plantations were established in the moist Sangara foothills in 1926. During the 1980’s coffee production expanded away from the plantations and more into the hands of local farmers who are now responsible for over 85 percent of total national production. After palm oil, coffee is the country’s second largest agricultural export. Additionally, coffee is responsible for employing over 2.5 million people. Most of their coffee is grown in the highlands, where 70 percent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture.
Papua New Guinea coffees come from the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, which sits contentedly north of the Australian landmass. Not unlike neighboring Indonesian coffees, New Guineas tend to come either from estates with large-scale facilities or much smaller farmers using simple backyard processing methods; Both methods yield inspiring results. Because the mountainous topography of the island lends itself to endless coffee varieties, Papua New Guinea is home to some of the highest quality beans in the world.
After a turbulent history of constantly fluctuating global markets and evolving infrastructures, the Papua New Guinea coffee industry has faced countless challenges. But thanks to an increased introduction of modern processing methods, combined with an intimate understanding of the crop, PNG has continued to grow as one of the most desirable coffees on the market. Papua New Guinea is actually responsible for 1 percent of total world coffee production, and here at Stockton Graham & Co., we are thankful for that.
To order our PNG Mile High, contact a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.
This week, our coffee roasting team has been busy tweaking the levels on our new crop of Guatemala La Cascada. Although we’ve had this coffee for several years, the new crop comes to us from La Finca Flor del Rosario or “Flower of the Rosary Farm.”
Over the last several years that Stockton Graham & Co. has offered coffee from La Cascada, it has produced coffee that is consistently good with an exquisite roundness and pleasant mouth feel. The Finca Flor del Rosario is no exception.
Flavors of caramel, milk chocolate and toasted marshmallow dance in this smooth, round-bodied coffee. The acidity is bright with a subtle hint of sweet citrus. The aftertaste is crisp and leaves a lingering acidity on the palate.
The entire team at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facility enjoys the La Finca Flor del Rosario so much that it is now on heavy rotation in our Taste Kitchen, as was last year’s Guatemala La Cascada.
Coffee from Guatemala La Cascada
Hacienda La Cascada, which translates to “The Waterfall Estate,” is named for the 100 meter natural spring waterfall that runs through the estate. La Cascada is located in the heart of the Alta Verapaz state in the north central part of the country. This is generally north of Guatemala City and part of the Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes mountain range. The main city in Alta Verapaz is called Cobán.
Alta Verapaz is a popular coffee growing region in Guatemala. It is known for its lush jungle and picturesque pools of water that form off waterfalls in the Cahabòn River. A Google search of La Cascada Hacienda is rich with lush images of flowering native plants and rolling waterfalls. To locals, the area near the waterfalls is known as Rainforest Cobán and is almost permanently covered with a fog that locals call chipichipi.
The rich soils and high elevation once hosted abundant sugar plantations. In the 19th Century, most of those sugar plantations were replanted with coffee. Alta Verapaz turned out to be the the perfect growing region to produce exquisite coffee, which is now recognized as one of the finest in both Guatemala and Central America.
Finca La Flor del Rosario was planted with coffee in 1988/1989 by farmer and owner Horst Spitzke. In addition to coffee, he raises orchids, cardamoms and Guatemala’s national flower Monja Blanca on the 1,400 acre farm. Images of the farm can be seen here.
“Like most coffees from Guatemala, coffee from La Finca Flor Del Rosario shines with citrus fruit and floral notes of the region,” said Brad Kirby, Director of Coffee at Stockton Graham & Co. “Another trademark of the Flor Del Rosario is its sweet caramelized finish. The aftertaste is lively and crisp.”
For more information on our new Guatemala La Cascada from La Finca Flor del Rosario, please call us at 800 835 5943 or email email@example.com.
When spring rolls into town, our roasting team turns their attention to the new crops of Costa Rica coffee so that we can begin offering them to customers in July. This year, as usual, we cupped several offerings from the historic coffee region of Tarrazú and its surrounding farms.
We began by cupping the Tarrazú from the Don Roberto estate, which we featured last year, with a few others from the region. The winner in terms of flavor was a coffee from a producer just outside Tarrazú proper and bordering the Palmichal rainforest: Romelia.
The coffee from Romelia performed so well that it has become our go-to Costa Rica coffee for 2016. Today, the Romelia is a popular bean at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facilities.
“The coffee from Don Roberto and Romelia are very similar, as to be expected, because the coffee varietals and growing conditions around Palmichal and the Santa Ana and Escazú mountains are very similar,” said Brad Kirby, Director of Coffee for Stockton Graham & Co. and Dilworth Coffee.
“As we discussed the coffee around the cupping table, we were drawn more to the Romelia beans because they produced a bit more of an interesting sweet, orange aroma and flavor,” Brad said.
“When you first brew the Romelia coffee, you notice the aroma of sweet orange zest and honey,” Brad said. “These are two delicate notes that define the coffee in terms of fragrance, flavor and aftertaste. We roast the Romelia coffee a bit lighter to preserve these delicate notes.”
Like most Costa Rica coffees, the Romelia is washed and drum dried. That’s because high humidity in Costa Rica prevents patio drying. This processing method creates a vibrant, yet well-rounded cup.
History of Romelia Coffee from Palmichal
Romelia is named after the sister of one of the first families to plant coffee in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica. That family was the decendents of the beneficiaries of the first land concession granted to José Miguel Cascante Rojas in 1826 just after Costa Rica gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1821 and Mexican rule in 1823.
The land was granted by Costa Rica’s first elected Chief of State, Juan Mora Fernandez, who is considered the grandfather of Tarrazú coffee by giving free land grants to farmers that knew how to grow Costa Rica coffee.
Amid decades of power struggles amongst Costa Rica’s coffee elite, Don José and his son Don Manuel Rojas Arias built a formidable coffee business in the Palmichal region on the western slopes of the Escazú Mountains. In addition to the coffee farm, Don Manuel founded Beneficio Palmichal, a processing coffee processing plant that allowed him to control the quality of his coffee from seed to roast.
Many farmers observed the success Don Manuel had with coffee and followed his lead in converting their sugar plantations into coffee plantations. When Don Manuel passed away in the mid 1900s, he left his farms to his only sister, Romelia, who worked tirelessly to sustain the quality of her family’s coffee.
Doña Romelia had no children to inherit the farm and so she sold it to coffee visionary Don Roberto Montero Castro. As a result, today’s Don Roberto Tarrazú and Romelia from Palmichal are twin branches in the rich history of Costa Rica coffee.
To order our Costa Rica coffee, please call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.