Creating a Custom House Blend

As a specialty retailer, your expertise and ability to serve a superior product is an important part of your appeal. Customers who visit specialty shops are looking for an expert who is really passionate about their work. When you visit a bakery where the owner is a third generation baker who has been in the business most of his life, you get the feeling that you are in for a treat. You can be sure that this person is going to deliver something that nobody else in town can. Secret recipes and hand preparation provide atmosphere and value to the specialty shop. As a specialty coffee retailer, your ability to convey such an atmosphere will add to your success and increase customer loyalty.

Stockton Graham & Co. would like to extend an offer to personally create your house blend. By offering a custom house blend in your shop, you can more perfectly cater to your customers’ needs while building a reputation as something truly special. A house blend is also a great way of guiding customers who do not otherwise know what they want to order. By having an approachable and delicious house blend, you can ensure that the customers who just want a “regular” coffee are getting something extraordinary.

In order to create a house blend, you must understand the opinion of your market, and the only accurate way to acquire this sort of information is by sampling. Through a short series of precise sampling, your customers will provide the necessary insight about what they want in their cup.

During the sampling process you should give your customers a taste of the three main growing regions of the world. Be sure to provide an avenue for feedback that evokes information about flavor and roast level. If this information is present, then a much better blend will often result. During your sampling process, you should also try to communicate that your end goal is to create a house blend. Tell your customers that their opinion will help decide what the blend will taste like. This sort of customer interaction will help promote the idea that your café is a place of high quality products that strives to bring their customers better coffee.

For more information, or to request an on-site cupping with our roastmaster, please call 800.835.5943

For a listing of our single origin coffees that we use to build all blends, visit our single origins & organic single origins page

Reid Jackson
Stockton Graham & Co.

Featured Seasonal Coffees for September & October

Stockton Graham & Co. is excited to announce that our featured coffees for September & October are Pumpkin Spice and Andes Blend, two of our most popular coffees during the autumn months. These coffees are part of our seasonal program, which includes marketing and point-of-sale advertising materials.

Pumpkin Spice is an aromatic blend of autumn favorites, including the taste of newly harvested pumpkin accented by a mélange of spices like nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and more. It’s sure to warm you up and get you in the spirit of the fall!

Our Andes blend is grown high on the mountainsides, resulting in denser, flavorful beans. It is a light roast whose flavor is mellow and sweet like candy, with hints of rich vanilla and creamy caramel. The body is well rounded and shiny with a pleasant finish that brightens once it leaves your tongue.

POP Materials:
Upon ordering these holiday specials, you will have access to plenty of marketing support materials, which includes counter cards, shelf talkers and attractive retail packaging specifically developed for the 2011 holiday season. If you want your customers to get excited about the season, this is certainly the way to do it without spending any extra money. What do you have to lose?

Tips for Selling:
• Have fun with this promotion and be sure to suggestively sell it
• Offer sales incentives to staff, i.e., movie passes or mall gift cards
• Consider offering a free ¼ lb. with the purchase of other retail coffee
• Offer $1 off for the first few weeks of the feature
• Make sure to incorporate the features in your brewed coffee rotation
• Brew and taste each feature to educate your staff
• Be prepared to give a description of the coffee when customers ask
• Consider putting out an airpot with sample cups on busy mornings

The Featured Coffees for November & December will be Gingerbread Spice and ‘Tis the Season Blend.
More information is coming soon!

Click here to see our full list of the most popular seasonal coffee blends
Click here to see our full list of the most popular seasonal flavored coffees

Reid Jackson
Stockton Graham & Co.

16 Years and Counting: The Origin of Graham’s Greatest Blend™

Graham’s Greatest Blend is a best seller that has been with us since our inception as a 700-square foot coffee shop.  It was created in the summer of 1994 as the house blend for our flagship location. Its development was driven to satisfy the requests of our initial coffee shop customers.

In doing our market research, we found our prospective customers wanted speedy coffee service before starting their morning commutes to school and work.  They wanted to have a variety of coffee to choose from, however, they also wanted to have an old reliable, consistent choice for the days they were too busy to sample.

Our customers also requested a darker roast,  full-bodied blend with a nice balanced acidity. From our perspective, we wanted the blend to be both exciting and nuanced, while at the same time familiar and comforting to the drinker.

We started with variations of Latin American origins from Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc.  These coffees and roast levels were most familiar to our test subjects (read: friends and family).  In 1994, these single-origins were much more widely available and easily sourced. We altered roast levels and experimented a great deal, but we felt the results lacked the nuance we were looking for.

We then tried combining Indonesian coffees with the Latins, which gave us some incredible chocolate notes and then adding an available East African varietal, which, at the time, was harder to reliably obtain.

Ultimately, we tried lots of combinations. Many of those combinations went on to become other staple blends that you might be familiar with (Andes, Espresso Milano, etc.).  We knew we stumbled onto something after we tried variations pairing Indonesians with East Africans.  The result became our official House Blend, and eventually, “Graham’s Greatest”. The blend proved to be versatile and popular during all day parts and also sold incredibly well as a retail coffee for customers to brew at home.

Our “House Blend” became the shop staple and, 16 years later, it has served as the “old reliable” for a great many cafes and coffeehouses throughout the United States.  One of our classic blends, it has stood the test of time.

Jeff Vojta
Stockton Graham & Co.