EarthDay Primer: Easy Ways to Waste Less, Make More

Susatainable Coffees from Stockton GrahamLet’s face it, running a coffee business produces a lot of waste. Each one of those paper ”to-go” cups eventually ends up in a landfill somewhere. When you add the cardboard boxes, milk jugs, syrup bottles, aseptic cartons and coffee grounds, the average coffee shop could generate millions of pounds of trash each year.

As we prepare for International Earth Day on April 22, the team at Stockton Graham & Co. is thinking about ways to help coffee shops reduce waste and increase their overall profits.

We talked to Thom Swain, our Southeast Director of Business Development, about tactics he used to reduce waste as director of franchise development at a popular New Orleans coffee shop brand. His top suggestions involve saving on what’s likely to be two of your largest monthly product expenses: Coffee and Milk.

Coffee: The average coffee shop wastes as much as two pounds of coffee per week. Spillage from the espresso grinder alone can cost nearly $1000/year. Coaching staff to be more aware and avoid the spillage, or investing in an on-demand grinder would reduce this waste greatly.

Milk: Wasting as much as 1oz. of milk per drink can result in 1-2 gallons of milk wasted per day. This can easily top 700 gallons per year and cost $2000-$3000. Training staff to properly measure prior to preparation would curtail much of this waste.

“Since coffee and milk are agricultural products, waste affects availability and consequently consumer prices,” Thom Swain advised.

And since there are essentially two ways to make money in coffee — sell more and spend less — helping the environment by reducing waste can have a delightfully positive impact on your bottom line.

“If every American coffee shop were to reduce waste in these two ways, we could stop dumping 17 million gallons of milk down the drain and throwing 2.5 million pounds of coffee into our landfills,” Thom said.

For more ideas on how to reduce costs in your store, call Thom Swain or any of our Customer Care Associates at 800.835.5943.

A Fresh Look at Sustainable Coffee

Organic. Fair Trade. Rainforest Alliance. Bird Friendly. These are all good things to find on a coffee label. But some of the best sustainable coffee isn’t certified at all.

That’s because the crops are grown on small plots owned by farm families and communities that have worked the soil for generations, retaining the native tree cover and using traditional and natural methods of pest control and fertilization.Stockton Graham Sustainable Coffee

Farms like these can’t really afford certification and auditing fees, which can often run thousands of dollars a year. Yet they produce some of the best coffee in the world and are key to the 20-year success of Stockton Graham & Co.

“The highest quality coffee comes from farmers who are committed to the highest quality in every aspect of their business,” said Jeff Vojta, President of Stockton Graham & Co.

“It’s not only about how you treat the land, but also about how you treat the people who work the land,” Vojta said. “To really produce truly quality coffee you need experienced farmers who will stay and work the land year-after-year. To get that, you need to treat people fairly.”

This means paying a fair price for coffee, which allows the farms to pay farmers a fair wage and provide good housing, health care and education to workers and their families.

“To me, the word ‘sustainable’ means doing the right thing for the land and for the people who work it,” said Brandon Riggs, Roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffees.

“We pay a fair price, and that’s the right thing to do,” Riggs said. “Paying a good price insures that 10 years down the road, we will be able to have good crops and buy quality coffee.”

Stockton Graham & Co. has been supporting sustainable farming since its founding in 1994, even before most certifications were started. Depending on the harvest, between 65% and 80% of all coffee the company imports today qualifies as sustainable, Vojta said. Although only 10%-15% of the coffee carries an official sustainable certification.

Some of our more popular un-certified sustainable coffees are:

Brazil Alta Mogiana Sao Francisco
These carefully selected beans really add to the complexity of the coffees flavor. This is a very approachable and well-rounded coffee that can be appreciated by even the novice coffee consumer.

Brazil Alta Mogiana Peaberry
This Brazil Peaberry provides a departure from other Brazilian varietals.  This bean is packed full of soft, sweet flavors balanced nicely with hints of dried apricots and other stone fruits. The body is exceptionally smooth, and provides a nice base for the building acidity and clean finish

Sumatra Silimakuta
This coffee varietal, Sumatra Silimakuta, has been selected for its unique flavor of sweet spice, cocoa and soft hints of tangerine. To bring out the unusual flavor and it’s low-medium, tangy acidity and silky body, this coffee is roasted at a medium-dark level.

Stockton Graham & Co. also carries coffees that are certified both organic and fair trade. The most popular are:

Organic Fair Trade Guatemala San Juan Utapa
A smooth creamy body matched with a bright acidity make this classic Central American varietal one of our more popular organics. When brewed, you can look forward to a sweet caramel flavor accompanied by a full, creamy body.

Organic Fair Trade Mexico Chiapas
Expect to taste the sweet chocolate and cinnamon flavors, while a full creamy body stabilizes the cup. A bright acidity helps to accentuate the nuances of this coffee, and notes of spicy cinnamon will linger on your tongue from the very first sip.

Organic Fair Trade Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked
This coffee has a reputation as one of the highest quality organics available in Indonesia. It is roasted at a dark level in order to omit winey flavors in favor of milk chocolaty notes and a balanced body.

And our organic blends include:

Organic Blue Moon Blend
This organic blend of Central American varietals and Indonesian offers the perfect balance of mild chocolate notes and spicy indulgence. Aromas of chocolate and sweetness draw you into the silky body that is balanced nicely with the subtle acidity and spicy notes in the finish.

Organic French Roast Blend
Organic Sumatra beans and Organic Latin American beans roasted in a darker French roast style. Though a dark roast, its notable acidity resonates through the flavor profile, brightening towards the end of the tasting experience.

Organic San Remo Blend 
Organic Sumatra Mandheling is combined with Latin American beans and precisely roasted. The Sumatran element of the blend introduces dark chocolate notes and deep earthy tones. The Latin American component enhances the flavor with sweet caramel and a dense, satisfying crema.

“Stockton Graham & Co. is dedicated to higher quality coffee where the whole sensation of the experience is optimized,” Jeff Vojta said. “Higher quality coffee comes from sustainable farming practices, and we need to pay a fair price to sustain quality over the long term.”

For more information on our sustainable coffees and to place an order, call our Customer Care Associates at 800.835.5943. 

 

Coffee Rust Causing Concern in Specialty Coffee Industry

rust-photoA coffee rust fungus is generating a lot of discussion in the coffee world. Coffee trees from Mexico to Panama have been attacked by this orange, rust-looking fungus, Hemileia Vastatrix. In April 2013, The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) discussed and explored this issue at their annual Symposium. There was also an International Coffee Rust Summit that month to do the same. The future of specialty coffee could be at a major risk.

Roya, the Spanish word for the fungus, grows on the underside of the leaf on the coffee tree.  The fungus will continue to spread throughout the leaves, preventing the tree from receiving nutrients.  Without the nutrition from the leaves, the cherries that contain the “coffee bean” will not fully mature, and when brewed as coffee, it will lack much of its typical flavor.  The outbreak was fueled by excessive amounts of rain in Colombia in 2008, which spread the disease throughout the country and into more Central American countries. While Colombia is on the mend with the help of various preventive measures, countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras are suffering. When the rust attacks half of a tree’s leaves, the farmer is forced to cut the tree down, leaving it unusable for 3 years and the farm in economic turmoil.

To combat the Roya, farmers are using excessive fungicides and planting rust-resistant, genetically altered plants. This puts a heavy strain on organic coffees, leaving many specialists to doubt organic coffees’ survival.  The focus of the meetings in April were solving this issue, and the UN is even looking to hire a “Leaf Rust Response Coordinator” who will lead the fight against this damaging fungus.

Being the second most valuable trade commodity in the world, coffee’s survival for economic stability is very important.  Some farms have seen as much as 70 percent of their crops affected by this fungus. Central America is already expected to have losses up to $500 million this year alone, which is why the governments of these countries are supplying aid so heavily to coffee farms in their area.

How does this affect us?  Well, first we could see a lack of coffee quality from the Central American region, then very likely a rise in coffee prices.  Jeff Vojta, Co-founder and President of Stockton Graham & Co., says, “Our biggest concern is for the future of our quality Central American coffees. Climate change, in addition to the Roya, is causing even more damage.  Hopefully they have caught this in time, and high quality coffee will still be available to market.”  While we are currently not affected, we have already begun to see the prices on certain coffees from Central America start to rise, which could affect our prices in the future.

For more updates on the coffee fungus crisis, or other news in the specialty coffee world, be sure to check out our website.  If you are not currently signed up to receive our monthly newsletter, register on the website or give us a call at 800.835.5943 to have one of our customer care associates add you to our mailing list!

Information Sources:
Coffee-Leaf Rust is Tough Enemy to Attack – Leslie Josephs – The Wall Street Journal 5/14/13
Fungus Wreaks Havoc on Coffee Crop – Leslie Josephs – The Wall Street Journal 5/14/2013
Coffee Workers Unemployed as Fungus Hits Central America: Jobs – Anna Edgerton, Adam Williams and Marvin G. Perez – Bloomberg Businessweek 4/23/2013
Overheard at the First International Coffee Rust Summit – Michael Sheridan- Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine 4/22/13
United Nations Hiring Leaf Rust Response Coordinator -Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine 5/8/2013

 

Earth Day Promotions for Your Cafe

EarthdayThe spring season brings beauty to our surroundings, creating a sense of renewal, restoring color and life to plants and livening spirits. Show your appreciation for nature with some environmentally friendly promotions this Earth Day: Monday April 22nd!

If you don’t already offer discounts for people who bring in their own mugs or other reusable beverage containers, Earth Day is a great day to consider doing this promotion. Not only does this decrease paper waste but it also saves you money on the cost of cups! Have a sale on your personalized tumblers or ceramic mugs to promote decreasing your waste output. This also gets your brand more exposure as your customers continue through their day.

Offer discounts on coffees, signature beverages or smoothies for cyclists who visit your cafe during April. This could range from your road-riders to your daily commuters who choose to be environmentally conscious, and reduce their carbon footprint! Make sure you let your customers know about these promotions with flyers and a social media campaign.

Collaborate with your roaster to promote an organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance or other specialty coffee in your cafe. Not only does this benefit the environment and coffee farms, but it would also give you an opportunity to educate customers on the significance of these coffee options. Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we offer a few sustainable coffees that your customers would love!

Contact your local ecofriendly groups and see if you can sponsor one of their Earth Day events with your coffee! This is a great way to show your community, not just your customers, that you are helping out. Many groups do park and river cleanups, planting trees events and educational festivals to promote environmentally friendly thinking. Your coffee would be a welcomed contribution, and could open the doors to new customers for your shop!

Coffee is a plant that needs a healthy environment to grow strong and produce the delicious beans we brew into our cup. Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we encourage you to make this delicious beverage available for years to come by helping to take care of our world. Promoting your environmentally friendly ways within your community can bring in new ecofriendly customers into your shop and give you a sense of joy for doing good. It’s not easy being green, but taking care of our environment will offer so much more in the long run. If you are looking for more ideas to celebrate with this April 22nd give us a call at 800.835.5943 and our Customer Care Associates can discuss more options with you!

Check out other things you can do in your shop to be more “green”, in this blog.

Build Your Business: Go Green This Spring!

Green-cupOne of the perks of spring is spending more time outdoors. To say “Thanks” to Mother Nature, do the responsible thing and make an effort for your shop to be a little greener. Nowadays, an ecofriendly lifestyle can be found almost anywhere, even in your coffee shop. “Green cafes” are increasing in popularity all over the country, and it is a great way to attract customers by showing them that you are making an effort to help make the environment better for everyone.

For those who like the idea of going green but, think it will require a lot of extra time, effort and money, think again. Going green is not only beneficial to the environment, it can be done at little to no cost or extra effort to you. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep both the environment and your wallet green.

Offer Stockton Graham Coffees
Several of Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffees are roast-to-order sustainable coffees. Sustainable coffees are certified or verified by an accredited third party as organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance, shade grown and more. Our sustainable single-origin selection is a great way to start exploring green coffees to add to your menu. We also offer blends that meet sustainable certifications as well, including a great organic espresso blend: Organic San Remo. To learn more about Stockton Graham & Co.’s sustainable coffees or inquire about samples, call your Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 today!

Switch to Paperless Invoices
Stockton Graham & Co. has been offering paperless invoicing for several years now, and it is a great way to cut down on paper use. We can send you a digital copy of your invoice, at your preferred email, with one click of the mouse. If you are not already signed up to receive your invoices via email, be sure to ask your Customer Care Representative the next time you place your order. They will be happy to update your information, and help you reduce your paper usage!

Keep your Equipment Clean
It may not be in your budget to purchase new high-efficiency appliances, but there’s no reason you can’t make sure the appliances you have are operating at peak performance. Keeping your grinders, blenders, brewers & etc. clean is not only safer, but it will allow your equipment to run much more efficiently. This also helps secure the longevity of your equipment, and to cut down on your power bill each month.

Reuse your Coffee Grounds
As a coffee shop owner, you know how much coffee grounds are left over every day. The question is, what do you do with them? If you are just throwing them away, you can make them useful! Coffee grounds happen to be very acidic, so they make for a great fertilizer for acid-loving plants. If you have plants such as roses or azaleas in or outside of your shop, coffee grounds will help your plants look better than ever! Let your customers know about these gardening benefits and see if they wish to pick up grounds from your shop. You can also use the bulk bags that your coffee comes in, as means to give grounds away to gardening customers. Coffee grounds in your garden are also an organic way to deter some types of plant-eating bugs.

Offer Recycling
With the amount of plastic and paper that you and your customers go through, make sure there are designated recycling bins in your shop. If you only have trashcans, you haven’t allowed your customers an opportunity to separate their trash from recyclables. Setting up recycling is extremely easy, and one of the most recognizable ways to show your customers that you’re doing your part for the environment. Make sure your recycling bins are clearly labeled so customers know exactly where to place their recyclables.

Have Discounts for Reusable Mugs or Tumblers
To cut back on to-go cup trash, encourage your customers to bring in their own to-go mugs for filling with your coffee. Offer discounts on beverages for customers who re-use. This not only cuts down on your cup costs and water usage, it also helps reduce paper cups making their way into a landfill. Go further, and offer tumblers with your logo on them for refilling. Customers will be helping the environment and sporting your brand!

Save Electricity
Consider replacing the light bulbs in your shop with more energy efficient LED bulbs. While they may seem pricey at first, these bulbs prove to last 25 times longer. This reduces your shop’s energy usage and time spent replacing old bulbs! These bulbs also contain no mercury or lead, so they are all around better for the environment. To save more energy, look into programming the thermostat in your store to save on HVAC costs. There is no need for comfortable temperatures when the store is not occupied.

Purchase in Bulk
Buying products in bulk is a great way to reduce cost and your carbon footprint. Instead of having your delivery truck make two deliveries, save all your orders for once and reduce the carbon that is released from the trucks. Stockton Graham & Co. encourages this by offering Free Freight on large shipments. Cups, straws and other shelf stable products are great products to purchase in bulk and take advantage of this great deal.

These are just a few ways that you can make your café a little “greener”. To many people, a green business is a responsible business and those are often the establishments they choose to offer their loyalty to. With little effort and cost, you can really make an impressive change that will allow you to feel better about making a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line. We have implemented many of these practices and more at Stockton Graham & Co. to help reduce waste and our carbon footprint. Contact us at 800.835.5943 to learn more about cutting down on your normal costs, and bringing new customers in the door!

Check out our other blogs on being green:
Earth Day Promotions for Your Cafe
Energy-Efficient Espresso Equipment

Please Help Us Support The Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund In March

Selva Negra (11)We’ve grown a strong personal relationship with the Kuhl’s, the family that runs the Selva Negra farm in Nicaragua from which we source our beans. Over the past 15 years, we’ve visited the farm several times, donated books and clothing, and spent many fun times together at regional coffee events. On February 17th, one of the Kuhl family homes was destroyed by the fire, and a family member, Cody Anderson, did not survive. We would like to support the family in this very difficult time, and would encourage you to help them out, as well.

The family has setup the Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund to help honor Cody’s life, and to help create many wonderful opportunities out of this tragic accident. In addition to a corporate gift we will make to the fundwe will donate $5 for every 16 oz. retail unit of Selva Negra single origin coffee we sell on any of our online stores in March:

Stockton Graham & Co.
Click to buy at stocktongraham.com

Dilworth Coffee
Click to buy at dilworthcoffee.com

threeSelva Negra runs a private elementary school with 90 students, which Cody attended when he was a child. The goal of the scholarship is to assist in covering the educational costs at the farm associated with improving the school and sending their students on to high school and college. Supporting the children of Selva Negra, supports the circle of friends Cody had as a child, as well as their children.

To learn more about the Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund, please visit https://www.selvanegra.com/codyfund.

Thank you in advance for helping us support this wonderful cause and keeping our friends of Selva Negra in your thoughts through this difficult tragedy!

New Energy-Efficient Espresso Equipment Options

la amarzocco espresso machineThe new year is right around the corner, and that means it is time to evaluate your coffee shop’s needs. It’s important to ensure that your menu offers today’s trending products and that your point-of-sale material looks better than ever, but at the beginning of every year, you also should take a look at your equipment. Is your equipment running properly? Is it meeting your shop’s needs? At the busiest time of your day, is your equipment keeping pace? You count on your equipment to serve as many customers as you can, and if these goals aren’t being reached, or your equipment is just out of service, it may be time to look at more options.

From espresso machines to blenders, new equipment models are rolling out each year, and not only does the new equipment continue to include the latest bells and whistles when it comes to features, but it is also becoming more and more energy efficient. When looking into new espresso machines, energy efficient ones should be thought of as ways to save in the future. Your energy usage will drop with these “power savers”, and this will save you money over time. In this post, we are going to look specifically at the latest energy efficient espresso machine features from two of the leading espresso machine manufacturers.

Nuova Simonelli is dedicated to helping baristas serve their customers with their craft at the highest level through the application of science and technology. The “Aurelia”, made by Nuova Simonelli, is currently the official espresso machine of Coffee Fest, the USBC and the WBC. Some of this year’s new efficient features include:

• Energy Savings: The Aurelia’s body consumes less energy while at rest by trapping the heat inside the machine’s chassis. This improvement enables the machine to achieve a weekly power consumption reduction of roughly 50% from conventional machines.
• Water Saving: The thermal insulted body work allows the machines to use minimal energy to maintain steam pressure while at rest. This greatly reduces water evaporation and therefore, total daily water consumption.
• More Recyclable Material: When possible, Nuova Simonelli uses recyclable material on all components and uses recycled material when possible. From the development and design stages Nuova Simonelli strives to attain 85% recyclability and 95% recoverability.

La Marzocco is commonly considered to be among the top rank of espresso machines, and are found in coffee shops all around the world. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1927, where the machines are still hand crafted, today. For many years, it was the official espresso machine of the WBC. La Marzocco’s latest efficient features include:

• Temperature Control: La Marzocco’s new software allows you to control temperature settings. Now, individual brew groups can be turned off for greater energy savings during slower work periods!
• Boiler Insulation: Conserving energy in your coffee shop is key. La Marzocco’s newly-designed, fully-insulated boilers increase energy efficiency by nearly 20%!
• Overall Sustainability: La Marzocco machines are designed to create a minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable materials, components and packaging make their machines almost 100% recyclable!

Stockton Graham & Co. understands that purchasing new equipment, such as an espresso machine, is a big investment. We are proud to announce that we have found a way to help make this more attainable for you! Introducing Marlin Equipment Finance and Providence Capital Funding, two prestigious leasing companies that have teamed up with Stockton Graham & Co. to assist with all your equipment leasing needs!

Marlin Equipment Finance:
– Marlin offers many options both during and at the end of the lease. You can extend the term, return the equipment or purchase it for fair market value.
– The application and decision process is short with most decisions being reached within a business day.
– Upon final payment, the customer can continue to lease the equipment, return it or buy it at 10% of the original equipment cost.
– For those who can afford to pay a 10% security deposit at the beginning of the lease, with low monthly payments, the customer can use the deposit to purchase the equipment, extend the lease or return the equipment and request a refund of the deposit.
– For those who are fairly certain they wish to purchase the equipment at the end of the term, it is simply purchased for $1.00 once the lease term expires.

Providence Capital Funding:
– PCF will finance starting at $3,000 up to several million dollars if necessary. They will do 24 month leases up to 60 month leases depending on the equipment, and have monthly payments.
– Credit approval is completed within 24-48 hours with applications taken online through their secure server, by phone or by fax.
– There are no application fees.
– PCF can finance you though one of twenty banks they work with.

To get your application for a lease agreement with one of our two providers or additional information on new equipment and financing, call us toll free at 1.800.835.5943 today!