Espresso Options: Single Origins & Blends

Basic Barista Certification espresso options from stockton grahamEspresso, the product of a preparation process that evolved in Italy over the first half of the 20th century, has experienced tremendous change over the past 100 or so years: from the dark, almost burnt taste of the original espresso, to the lighter touch of café crema in the 1950s and back around to dark, smoky Ye Olde World Italian style made popular in the 1990s.

As a result, it’s not unusual to find many different opinions on espresso and espresso options. You’ll find, for instance, that those who were introduced to it in the 1990s prefer espressos that are dark, deep and bold similar to the traditional Italian style beverage. While today’s younger, mostly urban consumers include brighter single origins with cleaner bodies among their favorites.

What’s Espresso Anyway?

Stockton Graham & Co.’s customers know that espresso is not a type of bean or a roast level, but rather a method of preparing coffee. In essence, espresso is created by forcing hot water under extreme pressure through ground coffee to extract the heart of the coffee’s flavor. To help develop standards, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) defines the beverage as “a 25-35 millilitre beverage prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee through which clean water heated to 195-205 degrees is passed through for 20-30 seconds.”

With that said, virtually any roasted coffee can be prepared as an espresso; although certain varietals, blends and roast levels achieve better results. And the coffee you use as your house espresso will depend to a great extent on your brand, your store concept and your customers’ tastes.

Stockton Graham Coffees Espresso optionsHere at Stockton Graham & Co., we understand that up to 40% of the profits you make at your store will come from milk-based espresso options like lattes, cappuccinos and frappes. And after roasting coffee for over 20 years, we know that no two business owners are alike in their espresso preferences. While some prefer the sweet, bright notes of a Latin America coffee others gravitate to rich, thick-bodied blends of Indonesian varietals.

What’s more, if your store tends to sell more milk-based espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll want to consider a coffee that is designed to maintain its flavor in large amounts of milk. However, if your customers tend to prefer single shots, then we would recommend a different coffee for your house espresso.

And, of course, if your store is organic, you’ll also want a coffee that is organic certified like our Organic Fair Trade Guatemala San Juan Utapa, our Organic Mexico Chiapas or our Organic Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked.

That’s why we offer a broad range of espresso options from sustainable single origins to custom blends. Here are just a few of our more popular offerings:

Single-Origin Espresso

Papua New Guinea: This single origin espresso presents upfront flavors of dried plums and apricots, balanced by a syrupy body with a sweet and tangy finish. Papua New Guinea or PNG, as we call it, can be quite versatile allowing for a variety uses.  At a shorter volume this makes for a distinct fruit forward espresso shot, while longer pulls balance the fruity nature with a milk chocolate sweetness to complement in-house cappuccinos and lattes. We recommend you use 18-21 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2 ounce extracted shot.

Seda Dulce: A single origin espresso option that utilizes two roast levels of the same Brazilian varietal. Created with the straight shot aficionado in mind, this espresso produces a quick burst of honeyed acidity followed by layers of sweet milk chocolate that give way to a buttery smooth finish. We recommend that you use 18 grams of coffee for each 1 – 1.5 ounce extracted shot.

Espresso Blends

Midnight Lotus: Our flagship espresso. Proven to complement a wide variety of milk based drinks while pleasing even the most discerning straight shot fanatics. This blend balances dried cocoa and fruity tanginess with a creamy body that has been the foundation of many a successful coffee bar. Its versatility is unmatched. We recommend 17 – 19 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Milano Blend: This is our take on the classic Italian style of espresso. Bittersweet gourmet chocolate finishes with hints of smoke and cedar. It is a smooth and complex blend with plenty of flavor to cut through even the largest to-go milk beverages. We recommend 18 grams of coffee for each 2 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Organic San Remo Blend: An organic option that features ample crema loaded with caramel sweetness and rich dark chocolate flavors are balanced against a creamy smooth body. This coffee performs well in all sizes of milk-based drinks, as well as alone in a demitasse. Tasters comment that this espresso’s sweet and rich flavors linger with layers of sweetness long after the last sip. We recommend 17 grams of coffee for each 1.75 – 2.25 ounce extracted shot.

Your Own Blend

Our roastmaster Brandon Riggs and our sales representatives spend a great deal of time with new and current customers alike to understand your taste preferences and business needs so we can recommend espresso options that best suit your needs.

Cappuccino Latte Art espresso optionsFor most customers, one or two of our coffees will fit the bill. But there are times when a one-of-a-kind house espresso is more appropriate, and we work with customers to meet those unique needs. This often involves several meetings at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facility where you can taste multiple coffees prepared using various methods. We also travel to your business location to learn more about your equipment, level of barista training and customer base. This gives us the insight we need to create the best custom espresso option for you.

Of course, when our roastmaster develops a new espresso, he evaluates taste and flavor in accordance with standards developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), The World Barista Championship (WBC) and The United States Barista Championship (USBC). These standards focus primarily on roast level, brewing procedure and flavor profile; for best results, we strongly encourage our customers to employ these methods of evaluation and brewing in your own store.

To discuss your store’s espresso options, call a Stockton Graham & Co. sales representative at 800 835 5943.

 

 

 

Roaster’s Views on the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel Stockton Graham & Co. Roasted CoffeeIn January, for the first time in 21 years, the original Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel published by the Specialty Coffee Association of America was updated and refined. The new flavor wheel is a groundbreaking tool that is already shifting the way coffee lovers think and talk about coffee.

“The new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a great collaborative tool,” explained Stockton Graham & Co. and Dilworth Coffee roastmaster Brandon Riggs. “Although the original Flavor Wheel was a breakthrough, this new wheel is more approachable to the general public because it describes flavors in a way that is more common and accessible to everyday coffee drinkers.”

For example, Brandon notes that the old flavor wheel identified Nippy and Piquant as subgroups in the Sweet flavor group. The new flavor wheel, instead, uses more common words like Honey, Maple Syrup and Molasses. Brandon points out that industry veterans and coffee patrons alike can more easily recognize the tastes of honey or molasses than nippy or piquant.

In addition to more common language, the new flavor wheel introduced gradients in the outer flavor groupings to accommodate more subtlety of tastes. For example, with the addition of gradients, the flavor of blueberry can range from sugary jam-like blueberry to tangy freshly-picked-off-the-bush blueberry.

“By adding gradients to the flavor group, it provides more possibilities in taste and more ways to explore flavor in coffee,” Brandon said.

New Flavor Wheel Facilitates Collaboration

As an instructor of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College, Brandon also appreciates that the more accessible flavor wheel makes it easier to communicate about coffee.Improve Customer Service At Your Store

“It facilitates communication at the cupping table, whether the cupping is an internal one among roasters or whether roasters come together at a cupping table with customers to discuss coffee,” Brandon said. “The new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel helps us talk to our customers and others who enjoy coffee about their flavor experience.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co., the iconic Flavor Wheel is a key discussion tool we use during our internal cupping sessions, as well as when we talk to customers about coffee.

“We’ve spent a few weeks working with the new flavor wheel at our Raleigh coffee roasting facility, and we are speaking with customers about using it to guide the way they talk about coffee,” said Brandon said. “Our customers are finding the wheel to be a very helpful tool, whether they are thinking about adding a new coffee or simply talking to their patrons about the coffees they already serve.”

New Flavor Wheel Improves Training Experience

Coffee College 2016 from Stockton Graham & Co.At Stockton Graham & Co. we have begun incorporating the new tasting wheel into our regular internal training sessions, as we grow the expertise of our junior roasters and customer service teams. We will also begin incorporating it into our monthly Coffee College program designed for coffee customers and operators.

“This new wheel is an opportunity to unite all around the cupping table, and to facilitate learning,” Brandon said. “Whether you are a coffee industry expert or you have never cupped before, the new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel is a valuable contribution to any coffee tasting experience.”

Click here for a copy of the new Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel and call a customer care associate at 800 835 5943 to explore how you can use the flavor wheel in your store.

March 2014 Marks 12 Years For Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon Riggs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis month we celebrate the 12th anniversary of one of our key associates, Brandon Riggs. As our green buyer, roast master and director of operations, Brandon is an instrumental contributor to the success of both Stockton Graham & Co. and our customers. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be able to celebrate this milestone for all of us. Not only have his contributions been critical to our success, but he has become a personal friend. His skills, ideas and consul have helped me through the many cycles of business and life’s challenges and joys.

Like at any company, a lot can happen over the years, and we are proud to say a monumental step towards our success began the day that Brandon joined the team. Due to the fact that Brandon plays such an iconic role here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share Brandon’s journey, so you too can grasp the incredible milestone that he has reached!

Brandon’s story began in Kansas City, MO in 1999. As a young product out of the University of Kansas, he accepted a summer job at The Roasterie, a local, independent coffee roasting company. At that time, Brandon was not a coffee drinker and only had the intention of working in the coffee industry temporarily. After working there for a short time, an opportunity arose that allowed Brandon to serve as the assistant to the roastmaster at The Roasterie, and his career in coffee began. Brandon was taught everything from roasting to cupping to green coffee buying by one of the industry’s most skilled experts. With this experience, he not only quickly learned the skill of roasting high quality coffee, but also developed a deep passion for it.

In 2002, Brandon wanted to stay in the coffee industry but be closer to the coast, so he joined our team of coffee professionals. The past 12 years has been a time of growth and transformation for the specialty coffee industry and Stockton Graham & Co. Brandon has helped us hone our sourcing and roasting skills, while modernizing our production and equipment to meet the increased needs of our customers and the varieties of coffees we produced. Brandon has not only been instrumental in our production, but in developing and disseminating coffee knowledge to our team, customers and industry. He and Thom Swain, SE Director of Business Development, developed and instructed our first coffee college modules and industry events, including the Southeast’s first Barista Jam in 2005, regional barista competitions and the Southeast Roasters’ Group. In this time, Brandon has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients to develop custom and house blends, develop and lead onsite training at SGC’s Coffee College and even host special events.

Brandon is continuing to educate others about coffee and brewing techniques. He has played a major role in developing our Barista Certification Program and many internal staff training programs. He has participated in SCAA Roaster Guild Origin trips to further producer knowledge about specialty coffee quality and how to help improve their techniques to achieve higher average selling prices for their harvests.

Brandon has built many close business and friendship relationships over the last 12 years, and here are a few words those who he has had the opportunity to work with have said about Brandon:

“I have enjoyed Brandon’s commitment to the highest quality coffee and determination to satisfy customer expectations. His creative nature can turn a stated taste profile into an actual great blend of coffee. All of this is done in pleasant and fun style, making business enjoyable and productive. “–Don Keen, Dilworth Coffee

“Brandon is more than just a talented roaster – he is great friend and respected ally! Inman Perk Coffee is literally built on his patient guidance and gifted taste. We’ve been proudly runnin’ on Riggs’ Roast since day one!” -Guy Ettinger, Inman Perk Coffee

“Brandon is a roastmaster extraordinaire! In 2006, while at the beginning stages of opening my coffee lounge in Maryland, he worked with me for an entire day to come up with the perfect organic blend. We tried a myriad of blends. It was like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except it was coffee – not too strong, not too weak, and just right! My customers absolutely loved my coffee, and I was able to steal a significant amount of business from the local Starbucks. Although I have since closed my establishment, I can still count on Brandon to periodically roast up a few pounds of my More Than Coffee! Lounge house blend. Now, that’s customer service! Friends forever…congratulations! Luv ya….Michelle (aka Sybil)” – Michelle Wiggs, More Than Coffee

“I first met Brandon in Costa Rica on a buying trip when he was working for The Roasterie. I could see through Brandon’s quiet humbleness that he had quite a bit of coffee knowledge and a desire to learn more about coffee. I had no idea that a year later, he would be on our Stockton Graham & Co. team. It’s been over 12 years, and this short quote cannot express my admiration and appreciation for him as a friend, co-worker and coffee expert. Our success today is directly attributable to not only his coffee skills, but calm, humble manner of working with me, our customers and fellow team members. Perhaps the best evidence of my trust in Brandon is that I have entrusted the sourcing and roast development to him and am no longer allowed to operate his “roasters”. I am always confident that he will ensure that our customers have incredible coffee for their business. The past 12 years has been enjoyable and educational, and I am confident that our next 12 years will be even better. Thank you Brandon.” – Jeff Vojta, Stockton Graham & Co.

It is almost impossible to put into words the magnitude of the impact that Brandon has made on this company. Thousands upon thousands of hours put in, coming in early, staying late and even traveling overseas in search of the best of products, he has sculpted Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffee offering into what it is today.

When asked to reflect on the last 12 years, Brandon said, “I can still smell the coffee every morning when I come in and remove the lids from our containers, and it is as strong and as satisfying as it was on the first day. That is something I love so much, and I hope never changes.”

From employee, to customer, to friend, we would all like to congratulate and thank you on 12 years of a job well done, Mr. Brandon Riggs!

Jeff Vojta, Co-Founder & President
Stockton Graham & Co.

Introducing Brandon’s Anniversary Blend

Chemex brew of Brandon's Anniversary BlendToday we had the pleasure of trying a new Stockton Graham & Co. blend in honor of Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs’ 10th Anniversary! Although Brandon had a strong desire for his Anniversary Blend to incorporate our Papua New Guinea, his favorite varietal right now, he was unable to find a truly-balanced good blend using the PNG. So instead, this “perfect” blend is equal parts Sumatra, Kenya AA and Guatemala, a favorite blend of Brandon’s over the years. A blend that “sticks with him”, Brandon always likes to serve this up to friends and new customers to try as an example of one of his best creations!

Larz Chemex brewing Brandon's Anniversary BlendLarz served me up a mug brewed using the Chemex brewing method, resulting in one of the smoothest cups I’ve ever tasted! I have to agree with Larz that the blend is delicious, incorporating bright, citrusy notes from the Kenya AA, followed by the chocolaty sweetness of the Sumatra. It has a pleasant, spicy, floral aroma and a smooth, medium body. It’s a great “anytime” coffee that an average coffee drinker will love, and true coffee aficianados will appreciate the nuances each specific varietal has to offer.

Brandon talking about Brandon's Anniversary Blend“I’ve never given this blend to anyone who didn’t like it,” said Brandon. “The blend is nicely balanced between the tangy acidity of the Kenya AA, grounded by the sweet chocolate notes of the Sumatra. The Guatemala blends the two opposites together perfectly.”

Thanks so much, Brandon, for 10 years of fantastic coffee!

Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon Riggs, Celebrating 10th Anniversary with Stockton Graham & Co.

Brandon Riggs, Stockton Graham & Co. RoastmasterEvery now and then, Stockton Graham & Co. has an important announcement to make. Sometimes it’s about a new product, other times an upcoming event, but perhaps none of which have been more extraordinary than our current proclamation… We are honored to announce that our very own roastmaster and green coffee buyer, Brandon Riggs, is celebrating his 10th anniversary of hard work and dedication at Stockton Graham & Co. this month!

Like at any company, a lot can happen in a decade, and we are proud to say that one of our monumental steps towards the success Stockton Graham & Co. has experienced began the day that Brandon joined the team. Due to the fact that Brandon plays such an iconic role here, we wanted to take this opportunity to share Brandon’s journey, so you too can grasp the incredible milestone that he has reached!

Brandon’s story begins in Kansas City, MO in 1999. As a young product out of the University of Kansas, he accepted a summer job at The Roasterie, a local, independent coffee roasting company. At this time, Brandon was not a coffee drinker himself, and only had the intention of working in the coffee industry temporarily. After working there for a short time, an opportunity arose that allowed Brandon to serve as the assistant to the roastmaster at The Roasterie. Brandon was taught everything from roasting to cupping to green coffee buying by one of the industry’s most skilled experts. With this experience, Brandon not only quickly learned the skill of roasting high quality coffee, but also developed a deep passion for it as well.

Roastmaster and Green Coffee Buyer, Brandon RiggsIn 2002, a small, up-and-coming coffee roasting company in Raleigh, NC (Stockton Graham & Co.) had a roasting position open, and Brandon jumped on the opportunity! When he arrived here, he worked alone with little equipment, and the order volume was minimal. Our coffee selection was limited, and just about everything was done by hand. Today, 10 years later, Brandon is accompanied by Brad Kirby in the roasting department, and the two of them have larger, modernized equipment. Our order volume has more than tripled, and our selection of available coffees has grown tremendously! In this time, Brandon has had the pleasure of working with hundreds of clients to develop custom and house blends, develop and lead onsite training at SGC’s Coffee College and even host special events.

Brandon has built many close business and friendship relationships over the last 10 years, and here are a few words those who he has had the opportunity to work with have said about Brandon:

“I have enjoyed Brandon’s commitment to the highest quality coffee and determination to satisfy customer expectations. His creative nature can turn a stated taste profile into an actual great blend of coffee. All of this is done in pleasant and fun style, making business enjoyable and productive. “–Don Keen, Dilworth Coffee

“Brandon is more than just a talented roaster – he is great friend and respected ally! Inman Perk Coffee is literally built on his patient guidance and gifted taste. We’ve been proudly runnin’ on Riggs’ Roast since day one!” -Guy Ettinger, Inman Perk Coffee

“Brandon is a roastmaster extraordinaire! In 2006, while at the beginning stages of opening my coffee lounge in Maryland, he worked with me for an entire day to come up with the perfect organic blend. We tried a myriad of blends. It was like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except it was coffee – not too strong, not too weak, just right! My customers absolutely loved my coffee, and I was able to steal a significant amount of business from the local Starbucks. Although I have since closed my establishment, I can still count on Brandon to periodically roast up a few pounds of my More Than Coffee! Lounge house blend. Now, that’s customer service! Friends forever…congratulations! Luv ya….Michelle (aka Sybil)” – Michelle Wiggs, More Than Coffee

“I first met Brandon in Costa Rica on a buying trip when he was working for  The Roasterie.  I could see through Brandon’s quiet humbleness that he had quite a bit of coffee knowledge and a desire to learn more about coffee.  I had no idea that a year later, he would be looking to locate to the East Coast and wanted to stay in coffee.  And, I thought that our small roasting company would never be able afford someone with his skills, passion and knowledge. However, after a long visit to the Raleigh-Durham area and spending time with the small, but dedicated team at Stockton Graham & Co., we were pleased and excited that he wanted to come east and join our team. It’s been over 10 years, and this short quote cannot express my admiration and appreciation for him as a friend, co-worker and coffee expert.  Our success today is directly attributable to not only his coffee skills, but calm, humble manner of working with me, our customers and fellow team members.   Perhaps the best evidence of my trust in Brandon is that I have entrusted the sourcing and roast development to him and am no longer allowed to operate his “roasters”.  I am always confident that he will ensure that our customers have incredible coffee for their business. The past 10 years has been enjoyable and educational, and I am confident that our next 10 years will be even better.  Thank you Brandon.”  – Jeff Vojta, Stockton Graham & Co.

It is almost impossible to put into words the magnitude of the impact that Brandon has put on this company. Thousands upon thousands of hours put in, coming in early, staying late and even traveling overseas in search of the best of products, he has sculpted Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffee offering into what it is today. When asked to reflect on the last 10 years, Brandon said, “I can still smell the coffee every morning when I come in and remove the lids from our containers, and it is as strong and as satisfying as it was on the first day. That is something I love so much, and I hope never changes”. From employee, to customer, to friend, we would all like to congratulate and thank you on 10 years of a job well done, Mr. Brandon Riggs!