New House Brewed Organic Chai from Two Leaves & A Bud

Some may think that traditional coffee shops are an unlikely place for organic tea; but our coffee shop customers are finding tea sales brewing. From healthful Japanese green teas from Two Leaves & A Bud to flavored teas like Mighty Leaf’s Organic Ginger Peach, this is the month that tea (and especially organic tea) sales surge.Organic Chai tea

Iced tea sales are not only growing in August, but tea is expected to continue to outpace the growth of drip coffee throughout the next decade. According to a recent study by the by the international market research company Research & Markets, tea sales are expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% from 2016-2020.

Much of that growth is expected to come from non-traditional tea flavors. These flavor profiles are driven by millennials who are seeking innovation and variety when it comes to tea offerings.

No other tea flavor has taken flight so quickly as chai from India. Chai is black brewed organic tea and spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper that is prepared with milk and sugar. It is traditionally served hot, but more recently cold and blended chai have become a popular alternative to iced coffee and frappes.

A New Approach to Flavor: House Brewed Chai

Last month we discussed the introduction of Torani’s Chai Concentrate, an exceptional alternative to other liquid concentrates like Oregon Chai or Tazo. This month, marks the introduction of a new approach to chai from Two Leaves & A Bud: House Brewed Organic Chai Tea.

Two Leaves & A Bud is an independent tea company known for quality organic tea. Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Richard Rosenfeld, the company is named after the most precious and tasteful parts of a tea plant: the top two leaves and the bud.

“We’ve been raising the standards of tea drinkers ever since, making it simple for you and your customers to drink truly great tea in every iteration,” said Two Leaves founder Richard Rosenfeld.

House Brewed Organic Chai Tea is sold in big food-service size tea bags so you can fresh brew it as needed. Use the tea to brew a 1:1 concentrate, which is one tea bag for 1 liter of fresh water or 2 tea bags for 1.9 liters of fresh water. This is the base “strong brew” that is used for many different chai beverages:

  • Hot Chai Latte is 4oz of strong brew to 4oz of milk. Steam in a pitcher and pour into a serving cup. Top with cinnamon if you wish.
  • Cold Chai Latte is 4oz of strong brew to 4oz of milk. Pour over ice in a 12oz cold cup.
  • Iced Chai is 4oz of strong brew to 4oz of water. Pour over ice in a 12oz cold cup.
  • Chai Macchiato is 6oz of strong brew and 2oz of steamed milk in a serving cup.
  • Frozen Chai Frappe is 6oz of strong brew to 6oz of ice and 2oz of milk. Blend until smooth and pour into a cold cup.
  • For seasonal or flavored versions of these drinks, add 2-4 pumps of pumpkin, hazelnut, vanilla, caramel or gingerbread syrup.

The big tea bags come 24 in a case, which brews about 80 lattes. Since you’ll use your own water to brew it, a case of House Brewed Organic Chai takes up very little room and has minimal packaging. It’s fresh, simple, convenient, and profitable.

Organic tea infographic on chai tea

With the quality and flavor that made Two Leaves and a Bud, House Brewed Organic Chai is a wonderful alternative (or addition) to the typical liquid chai concentrates. It’s a flavorful balance of real Indian black tea and rich spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, and notably, it comes unsweetened – zero sugar or artificial sweeteners. This unsweetened tea allows customers to sweeten the drink to their liking. Or it’s the perfect starting point for your delicious, signature chai beverages.

We stock several organic tea options at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facilities. For more information, call a Customer Service Representative at 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com

 

 

Gourmet Tea Follows Growth of Specialty Coffee

There once was a time when tea came in beautiful ornate boxes—lovingly carved bamboo cases colored with scenes of tea ceremonies among twisting, knotty trees. That was a time when tea and ritual of tea drinking was cherished: Leaves were hand-picked at dawn, dried morning sun and seeped in the afternoon with other leaves and herbs to create a fragrant, healthful gourmet tea tonic.

Two Leaves and a Bud Stockton Graham & Co.Thankfully, the days when tea was considered an elegant and elevated beverage are returning. On the heels of the growth in the specialty coffee industry, there has been a tremendous upsurge in the high-end tea business.

In fact, sales of high-end tea has been growing steadily and has the capability of doubling its volume over the next five years.

This elite market has become an unexpected cash crop for higher-end coffee shops such as Starbucks. Starbucks is now opening gourmet tea cafes and tea bars from Teavana. These Teavana shops generally have fewer customers than the average Starbucks, but the patrons typically spend much more. They will buy gifts such as Japanese-style cast-iron teapots and loose leaf teas that can sell for as much as $24.98 for 2 ounces.

Popularity of gourmet tea

Tea bars like these are an upscale way to enjoy your next cup of tea. The gourmet teas are meant to be sipped and savored in a relaxing atmosphere; very different from just grabbing your standard paper tea bag and running out the door. High-end teas are growing in popularity, causing resurgence in tea popularity with young Americans. Two-thirds of Americans drink tea regularly, and one-third drink hot tea regularly. Even the coffee roasting and brewing staff at Stockton Graham & Co. in Raleigh, NC have been known to break up their day with a cup or two of tea.

World tea consumption went from 2.95 million tons in 2003 and increased to 3.75 million tons in 2007, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Gourmet teas cost 30 percent more than standard teas on average, making them an affordable luxury for many, giving you more profits.

The multitude of health benefits is driving this shift in public perception; tea is known to contain a myriad of antioxidants called flavonoids. These flavonoids are known help fight against harmful free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries. There are studies that have found that some teas may fight diabetes as well as support weight loss and to lower cholesterol.

Tea is found in three general categories: black, green and herbal tea. When the softest and best part of the plant called the flush, or top two leaves and bud are harvested from the Camellia sinensis- or tea plant, how it is processed and shipped dictates whether it is considered a black, green, oolong or white tea. Herbal teas have very little, if any, real tea in them and contain little to no caffeine.

The best way to gourmet

Experiencing great gourmet tea has become almost like a fancy wine tasting. There are commonalities in the pairings, and quality. In order to differentiate between high-end and regular tea you have to start with the tea leaves themselves the appearance of the tealeaves lets you know quality of the tea. Teas with more tips tend to have a more nuanced and intricate flavor than those without them.

After the tea is brewed, make sure you smell the tea. Smelling the tea provides a new facet to the taste and flavor. When drinking the tea slurp the tea much like you would a fine wine. Aerating the tea by slurping activates the flavors and gives the best taste. Next you measure the mouthfeel, the tea shouldn’t be too oily on your tongue or leave your mouth feeling too dry. Make sure to note the aftertaste, some have very brief sweet aftertaste and some have an aftertaste that can linger for an hour or more.

Gourmet teas are usually presented in either loose tea canisters or specialized sachets in order to give the tea a maximum surface area flavor allowing the whole tealeaves to plump up as they rehydrate. These teas are meant to be sipped and savored allowing your customers to stay longer and spend money on bakery items.

Quality option

If you want to give your customers quality tea that they can see and taste why not serve Two Leaves and a Bud Whole Leaf Tea Sachets. You can tell from the modern, well-designed packaging and the tasteful point of purchase displays and serving cases that this brand takes their teas seriously.

The nylon pyramid sachets are both elegant and practical. This unique design is a vital part of making the perfect cup of tea. The three dimensional shape is ideal to get the maximum flavor. These small flushes are the freshest and have the best flavor so naturally Two Leaves uses only this part of the plant. Every sachet contains the perfect amount of tea for each 16 to 20 oz. cup serving.

Two Leaves is environmentally conscious by only dealing with sustainable tea growing practices and using only fully compostable packaging. Two Leaves teas are certified USDA Organic as well as EU Organic qualified. Their teas also carry the Non-GMO, Kosher and Gluten certifications.

“From the very start of our company, two leaves tea company™ has always used only natural ingredients in our teas,” said Richard Rosenfeld, Two Leaves and a Bud Founder and CEO. “Our customers want to know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies. In order to achieve Non-GMO Project verification, two leaves and a bud demonstrated that all of its ingredients are tested according to a rigorous and continuous program in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standards. By officially becoming verified by the Non-GMO Project, tea connoisseurs can feel confident that they’re only consuming a natural product that has gone through rigorous third-party verification of GMO avoidance practices.”

Two Leaves and a Bud Whole leaf sachets deliver the total sensory experience with each sachet containing only the best whole tealeaves, flowers and fruit essences not flavorings. From the look of the packaging and the feel of the sachet and the aroma of the whole tealeaves you can tell superior quality.

Two Leaves takes pride in using only the best ingredients bought straight from the source. By buying from small farms at the source they are able to let the quality ingredients speak for themselves instead of using lower quality blending teas with flavoring like some other teas. These blending teas are included in most teas available today and bring down the flavor and quality of the tea. Two Leaves and a Bud Whole Leaf Tea Sachets are available in 18 different flavors for every mood or occasion.

Some of the most popular Whole Leaf flavors include:

Organic Earl Grey: This tea contains great quality, large leaf organic black tea. With just a hint of natural bergamot oil for rich flavor that ranges from a light citrus zip to a deep, smooth black tea. Perfect for any day, any time.

Organic Mountain High Chai Tea: This organic whole black tea is mixed with pure, whole traditional Indian spices like clove and cinnamon. A bold flavored tea that’s great by itself but can be smoothed out with milk or sweetener. It’s an exotic drink that’s great for everyday sipping.

Organic Jasmine Petal: This tea contains quality green tea leaves that are scented, not flavored with jasmine. The result is a divinely delicate floral aroma. This smooth cup of green tea makes for an otherworldly experience for any occasion.

Organic Orange Sencha: This tea is a twist on a Japanese favorite. Starting with whole leaf sencha leaves that are gently steamed as they dry they then add the tang of Italian red oranges. Perfect for early morning bliss.

Organic Chamomile: This herbal tea has a rich apple scent with soft honey notes and a lemon edge. Perfect for a relaxing evening under the stars.

Organic Better Morning Blend: This herbal has a combination of zippy flavors like the energizing citrus aroma and refreshing combination of lemongrass and peppermint this tea is sure to give you a naturally caffeine-free boost.

Think you would like to try Two Leaves Tea? We are offering a free filled 9-box display rack to customers who order 6 cases of the Two Leaves and a Bud Whole Leaf Tea Sachets.

For more information call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 or download a info sheet here.

Kamikazi Matcha-Frapp

During Stockton Graham & Co.’s Taste Kitchen in April, the Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp recipe we featured was hot. (Okay, literally, as the matcha drink included a half ounce of Torani Sweet Heat.) But when a simple matcha drink rocks the world of guests to a Raleigh, NC coffee roaster, you know it’s about to take off.

Stockton Graham Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp

Read more about the growth of matcha and how you can add it to your menu.

Taste Kitchen Helps You Shake Up Your Menu for Profits

When it comes to running a specialty beverage business, cafe or coffee shop, there are few things more important that the quality of the espresso and the creativity of your menu. After all, your customers who spend time and money at your store are looking for an extraordinary experience that they can’t create themselves — either because they’re too busy with work and family or they don’t have the mad skills that you do.Taste Kitchen from Stockton Graham & Co.

Creating a stand-out menu will not only attract customers who live and work near your store, but it can also turn your shop into a beloved destination—and that can create a tremendous boost to profits.

To help our customers create a crave-worthy menu of their own, we just held our first-ever Taste Kitchen experience here at Stockton Graham & Co. During the two-week event, dubbed “Shake It Up!” we hosted several local coffee shops and specialty beverage businesses at our Raleigh, NC taste kitchen.

“Unlocking your creativity and shaking up your menu with fresh beverage ideas can excite both your staff and customers,” said Taste Kitchen host Thom Swain, Director for Southeast Business Development for Stockton Graham & Co. “Differentiating your summer drink menu from your competition and supporting it with a robust promotion can help you increase sales by $7k to $28k, with an ROI of 275% or higher.”

Denise Floyd, owner of Ollies in Wake Forest (213 S White St.), was one of the first local stores to jump at the Taste Kitchen opportunity. Denise sampled Lavender Lemonade, Churro Shake and Salted Caramel Iced Coffee and decided to put them on her menu a week later as Signature Drinks. They are terrific companions to her rotating and inventive food menu, which has featured fresh quiche, chilled Gazpacho Soup and yummy scones.Denise Floyd of Ollies in Wake Forest

“The creativity with the drinks was great and the ability to use this creativity to improve our bottom line and stay ahead of the trends is a real help,” said Denise Floyd, owner of Ollies in Wake Forest.

Staying Ahead of the Flavor Curve

An easy way to shake up your menu is to add beverages that juxtapose flavor trends from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Drinks with exotic, spiced and contrasting flavors are increasingly popular, such as salty caramel, gingery peach and tart creams. A second major trend is a customer preference toward healthy, antioxidant-rich ingredients like pomegranate, acai, spinach, Kombucha, coconut water, rooibos and Matcha green tea.

“We wanted to give our customers a comfortable place to experiment with unusual flavors so they could create signature drinks that set their shops apart from others nearby,” said Customer Care Associate and Taste Kitchen presenter Chris Bennett.

“In addition to the drinks we planned to demo at Taste Kitchen, our customers were able to create different and unique recipes with a wide variety of products we offer,” Bennett said. “They enjoyed mixing Stockton Graham’s fresh-roasted coffee with Torani syrups, for example—and then mixing MONIN and Torani syrups with Mighty Leaf teas, DaVinci Fruit Innovations Lemonade or Cafe Essentials Matcha Green Tea Latte.”

One of Chris’ customers, new coffee shop owner Yusif Sheikh of Jets Coffee in Cary Towne Center, was particularly excited by the Taste Kitchen opportunity.

“I enjoyed experimenting with the many product options demonstrated at Taste Kitchen. The recipes were really great and tasty. And it’s really helpful as a new entrepreneur to have a great relationship with my distributor and coffee roaster,” said Yusif Sheikh of Jets Coffee.

Focusing on What’s Best for Your Shop

Since Stockton Graham & Co. was founded by former coffee shop owners—and many of our staff has retail coffee experience either as shop owners, managers, franchisers or Taste Kitchen hosts Common Grounds Coffee Shopbaristas—we understand that each store is unique. And so we take a consultative approach to our customers’ businesses, helping owners focus on what’s best for their particular business model, store concept and location.

Taste Kitchen took that consultative approach a step further by working one-on-one with store managers to find recipes that would work best or them. Sue Finch, shop manager at Common Grounds Coffee in Hope Community Church (1000 Perimeter Park Suite A) in Morrisville, NC, was enthused by the personal attention to her shop’s needs and profitability.

“We came away with great ideas we can implement right away and Thom’s presentation of options made it easy to focus on what would be best for our business. He has a keen understanding of our business needs,” said Sue Finch, shop manager at Common Grounds Coffee Shop.

“We will continue to participate on future events,” Sue Finch said. ” The time we spent with Stockton Graham & Co. gave us time for creative thinking away from the shop.”

If you want to shake up your menu or learn more about how Stockton Graham can help you build  your business, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.

Smoothies for breakfast

People are switching to smoothies for breakfast as a tasty way to drink a meal and get a healthy start to their day. Smoothies are an easy way to get a low-calorie, healthy, one-cup breakfast with the right type of energy that caffeinated coffee and sugary drinks don’t have. Plus, drinking a healthy smoothie instead of eating bagels and muffins for breakfast helps customers avoid the jittery or burned-out feeling by lunchtime.

Boosted by “smoothies for breakfast” campaigns from big-name QRS chains like Smoothie King, Tropical Smoothie, Jamba Juice and regional testing programs from Burger King, McDonalds, Dairy Queen and Subway, customers are increasingly grabbing smoothies on the go.Smoothies, Stockton Graham & Co.

Perhaps demographics are at the core of the smoothies for breakfast trend. More younger coffee shop patrons are placing an emphasis on their health and well-being, so breakfast is starting to make a resurgence in popularity. Younger, go-getters have experienced the drawbacks of skipping breakfast — lower energy, less nutrients and a tendency to binge-eat later in the day — so they’re finding ways to work breakfast back into their daily routines.

According to a 2014 survey of 1,000 adult consumers by Kellogg Company, 56% of respondents said they’d prefer to eat breakfast every day, but cited a lack of time as a primary reason why it doesn’t always happen.

Drinking a nutrient-rich smoothie doesn’t take as long as most meals and many people find it easier to manage in the car or on the run than other fast-food options. Time, portability, convenience and health are the biggest factors in choosing a smoothie.

The new breakfast smoothie craze is good news for your shop. You can be one of the first in your area to offer smoothies for breakfast as a way to entice more customers into your store.

As an operator, there are several benefits to offering smoothies for breakfast:

Sales: Smoothies have become more popular than ever and have grown on restaurant menus by 9%.  Almost 90% of consumers aged 18-24 want more smoothies available. These tasty and healthier beverages keep them coming back for more! Smoothies rake in more than $2 billion each year, according to Mintel International.

Customization: Smoothies can be made on-the-fly to satisfy just about any customer’s palette with just a few basic smoothie flavor mixes (strawberry banana, mango and pineapple for instance) and a couple healthy add-ins like yogurt, chai seeds, fresh fruit, fresh kale and protein powder.

Efficiency: In most cases, the only equipment you’ll need for a booming morning smoothie business is the same blender and cups you use for your afternoon blended drink business. Your shop may even have ingredients like yogurt and fresh fruit on your current breakfast or lunch menu. If you’re already offering frappes and smoothies in the afternoon, very little additional staff training will be necessary.

Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we offer everything you need to update your menu with delicious smoothie choices. From smoothie mixes to blenders, we offer it all by carrying a variety of both Dr. Smoothie mixes in addition to DaVinci Gourmet mixes. Between those two brands, there are over 32 smoothie flavors to choose from.

Greens for Breakfast
With chains like Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts now offering green smoothies with ingredients like kale, spinach, beets and squash, customers are becoming more adventurous in their blended drink habits. You can ride to the top of the green smoothie wave by offering green alternatives on your breakfast smoothie menu.

The newest flavors in the DaVinci Gourmet smoothie family provide an easy way to try out green smoothies in your shop. Gratifying Greens is a mix of healthy vegetables and fruits such as spinach, pear, apple and kiwi made with only natural ingredients and no preservatives; it is the perfect way for your customers to start their day. Every flavor is gluten and lactose free, and there is a serving of fruit per glass. A second flavor, Red Harvest, is a yummy blend of super fruits such as acai berry and pomegranate with the fresh flavors of pumpkin and pear mixed in, creating a delightfully crisp taste.

The nice thing about DaVinci Gourmet’s Gratifying Greens and Red Harvest is that their healthy flavor profile is not overwhelming. So they create a nuanced foundation for the addition of healthful breakfast ingredients like yogurt, kefir, oats and almond butter.

You’ll want to experiment in your shop to create the perfect flavor profile for your customers. But here are two recipes to get you started:

Green Machine Breakfast Smoothie
6 oz DaVinci Gratifying Greens
1/4 oz Peach syrup
2 oz plain yogurt
1 T Chia seeds
16 oz. of ice

Directions: Place DaVinci Gratifying Greens in blender jar. Add yogurt and syrup. Top with ice. Blend, pour into cup and serve.

Kefir SuperFruits & Oats Breakfast Smoothie
6 oz DaVinci Red Harvest
3 oz Kefir
1 T organic oatmeal
16 oz Ice

Directions: Place DaVinci Red Harvest in blender jar. Add kefir and oatmeal. Top with ice. Blend until smooth, pour into cup and serve.

Pump up Breakfast
For an additional pump of health, add protein powder to a breakfast smoothie. Dr. Smoothie brand SmoothieCeuticals offers organic protein, vegan protein, whey protein and functional blends that are easily integrated into any smoothie recipe. Consider using Dr. Smoothie’s new Beetroot & Berries smoothie mix with an invigorating blend of tart red beets, strawberry and raspberry puree as a base. The Dr. Smoothie mixes are 100% fruit, gluten free and vegan. Each 20 oz. portion has a full day’s 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.

Red Revival Protein Breakfast Smoothie
6 oz Dr. Smoothie Beetroot & Berries
2 scoops SmoothieCeuticals Whey Protein
3 oz water
16 oz of ice
(optional) ¼ cup raspberries

Directions: Place SmoothieCeuticals whey protein in a blender and top with Dr. Smoothie Beetroot & Berries and water. Add ice blend. Pulse in raspberries for two seconds pour, into cup and serve.

New smoothie equipment, FREE product and rebates!
When your new breakfast smoothie menu becomes a hit, you may consider upgrading your blender or adding a new, super-quiet and high-efficiency commercial blender. We carry many Vitamix blenders ranging from easy blending to blast-off power. For a limited time, you can take up to 55% off the MSRP of commercial blenders from Vitamix.

Plus, as a special offer, receive up to 3 FREE cases of smoothie mix from Dr. Smoothie, DaVinci, Big Train, Caffe D’Amore, MoCafe, Monin or Torani with a blender purchase. All offers end 8/31/2015.

If you don’t need a new blender but want to try the new smoothie mixes from DaVinci and Dr. Smoothie, both brands are offering rebates on their products. Just call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 to order, and we’ll email the rebate form. It’s as easy as that!

Sip. Savor. Save $3 on Cases of Oregon Chai

Last week, we shared Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte on ice with our friends on Twitter and Facebook. Today, we’re sharing $3 off per case with you!

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, it’s a great time to pick up a case of spiced chai tea latte. Although chai tea’s exotic spices are traditionally from the Eurasian countries of India, Malaysia, Java, Bengal and Cambodia, beverages from Mexico and other Latin American locales share similar flavor profiles. The spice notes can add a pick-me-up to your specialty beverage menu.Oregon Chai logo Guy (2)

The Spiced Chai Tea Latte flavor from Oregon Chai features more authentic chai spice for deeper chai flavor, but it maintains the same amount of caffeine as the original chai latte concentrate: approximately 30–35 mg of caffeine per servings (same as a lightly brewed cup of black tea). Plus, most Oregon Chai concentrates are over 90% organic and carry the USDA Organic seal.

As you plan your Cinco de Mayo menu, think about a simple “Cha Cha Chai” drink special to serve up iced or hot. Just add 3/4 an ounce of your favorite cinnamon syrup to 6 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte. Stir well and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Or, if your location has a bar, you can try a Spicy Chai Martini. Just mix 2 ounces of vanilla vodka with 1.5 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte and a pump of your favorite cinnamon syrup over ice in a shaker. Give it a few shakes and pour into a cold martini glass.

Any time of the day or night, you can spice up your espresso by adding 6 ounces of Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte to a freshly pulled shot. Add a bit of steamed milk to this Dirty Chai, as this popular drink is now called, for a frothy dirty chai latte experience. We, of course, prefer espresso from Stockton Graham Coffees: the single origin espressos include Seda Dulce and Papua New Guinea and the espresso blends include our ever-popular Midnight Lotus Blend and our San Remo Blend. All coffees are roasted at Stockton Graham & Co. headquarters in Raleigh, NC.

Chai’s Big Flavor is Trending

Chai — traditionally made by mixing black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla bean, nutmeg and honey over milk — is one of this year’s biggest flavor trends. In fact, it was one of the featured flavors at the 40th Anniversary of the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. And that wasn’t just in the international section, but all throughout the Moscone Center.

The tea latte category has been quietly growing for quite a while, with chai lattes as the leader. The basic concept of a tea latte is very simple. Instead of espresso, use a concentrated tea mixed with milk. Tea lattes can be made hot, iced or frozen. All forms offer the same health benefits as traditionally brewed tea and are great alternatives to coffee.

Nirvana in a Cup from Oregon Chai

If you don’t know the history of Oregon Chai, pick up a copy of Nirvana in a Cup: The Founding of Oregon Chai by Tedde McMillen. It’s a fabulous story of true-life mother-daughter journey that transformed the ancient tea from a traditional Himalayan cultural and health secret to a multi-million dollar Oregon Chai company.

Nirvana in a cup starts off with the arresting, literally, line “Mom, call the embassy! I’ve been arrested!” The plea from Ms. McMillian’s 20-year-old daughter, Heather, from Zambia at 3am in the morning on Christmas Eve turned out to be a journey of a lifetime for the mom-and-daughter duo.

Although the company has grown over 400% since distributing its launch press release on Halloween day in 1994, the crave-worthy drink is still a favorite among baristas, mixologists and chefs. That’s why Oregon Chai is one of the biggest chai brewers in the U.S. The company, which is still located in Portland, is now owned by Kerry Group Plc.

Order your Oregon Chai Spiced Chai Tea Latte and get $3 off a case of 32oz boxes. Offer ends 5/1/2015. Just call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 to order.

Six Ways to Freshen Up Service at Your Store

Customer service is something any business owner should always be focused on—and it’s particularly important for retail coffee businesses.

Your customers come into your shop for the local personal touch, as much as for the quality beverages you produce. It’s important to remind your staff and new hires of how important the little things are. We have provided a few tried and true ideas, to help boost your customer service levels!Improve Customer Service At Your Store

Be Yourself: Friendly greetings should carry some personality. Customers know when they are being sincerely greeted vs. just fed a forced hello. With some freedom your employees can share some of who they are with the customers, and still meet the greeting requirements for high-level customer care!

Get Feedback: Make sure your baristas, managers or servers are all listening to complaints and compliments. Huddle with your employees monthly/weekly to get their feedback on customer satisfaction. Did they over hear any complaints on something in your shop? You should know about it—and be doing your best to meet concerns. Not every customer is going to be 100% pleased, but re-occurring complaints should be addressed.

Respond Quickly and Earnestly: If a customer is dissatisfied with any aspect of your product or service, be sure to address their concerns right away. Not only will a quick solution appease the complaining customer, it will make all other customers in your store at the time feel more comfortable. You should also be checking the internet regularly for complaints/compliments on your business. Reinforce the compliments with your employees and address complaints professionally.

Show Your Personality: Encourage your baristas and servers to come out from behind the counter when it’s slow. Double check to see if the customers are doing all right, and if there is anything that can be done to make their visit better. When customers feel friendlier with your employees: they are more likely to hang around, come back or order more drinks and food.

Know the Menu: When your employees are well educated, they implement the best customer service. Give your employees all the information you can on new products so they can share this information with customers. Even have servers and baristas sample new products so they can describe them to customers. What coffee pairs best with the new granola bars you have? If your employees can answer questions about your products they can sell them.

Strive for Quality: If your employees are all creating consistently good and similar drinks, your customers will always be satisfied with their beverage experience. To help with this we offer Coffee College. Our Specialty Coffee Basics course teaches employees how to prepare espresso, as well as other hot, iced and blended made-to-order beverages properly drink-after-drink, customer-after-customer. Training ensures quality and improves productivity, sales and customer satisfaction.

For more customer service tips, contact our Customer Care Associates at 800.835.5943 and ask for more information!