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. 


Heat Up Your Menu with Cold Brew Drinks

Cold Brew RecipesLevi Andersen, the Beverage Product Specialist at Kerry Foodservice, sent over some fresh recipes for luscious springtime drinks featuring cold brew coffee.

As we were testing Levi’s recipes, our friends at Monin pointed out that iced coffee’s share of all coffee on menus at U.S. restaurants and coffee houses continues to jump, indicating that consumers’ interest in cold brew beverages spans all four seasons. What’s more, the National Coffee Association’s 2014 Coffee and Ready-to-Drink Coffee Facts report notes that a full 15% of coffee drinkers prefer iced coffee.

“The last three summers, I have seen more and more excitement about cold brewed coffee,” Levi Andersen from Kerry FoodService reports. “There is a lot of opportunity to debut (or day-brew) new menu items.”

In experimenting with Big Train Vanilla Smoothie, Levi learned that adding cold brewed coffee (ratio of 5 oz of coffee to 2 scoops of mix) lets him create frappes with various coffee varietals with unique flavor profiles. Custom-blending like this allows your shop to develop a bespoke frappe flavor to suit your (and your customers’) coffee preferences.

When it comes to cold coffee, Stockton Graham & Co. prefers our own Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend. It’s a blend of sweet and bright coffees featuring our exquisite Brazil Alta Mogiana Peaberry.

Packed with flavors soft and sweet, our Alta Mogiana Peaberry is 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. And this creates a terrific base for Levi’s ice brew recipes!

Vanilla Cold Brew Whipped Cream

1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Single Origin Madagascar Vanilla Syrup
4 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend (view recipe)
11 oz heavy whipping cream

Directions: Add syrup to cold coffee and then add cream. ISI charge or hand whip until frothy. Pour and serve.

Turkish Hazelnut Cold Brew Frappe

2 scoops Big Train Vanilla Smoothie
0.5 oz DaVinci Gourmet Single Origin Turkish Hazelnut Syrup
5 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend (view recipe)
12 oz ice

Direction: Place Big Train Vanilla Smoothie in blender jar. Add coffee and syrup. Top with ice. Blend until smooth, pour into cup and serve.

Turkish Hazelnut Cold Brew Frappe

2 scoops Big Train Horchata
5 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend
12 oz ice

Direction: Place Big Train Horchata in blender jar. Add coffee. Top with ice. Blend until smooth, pour into cup and serve.

Download DaVinci’s March 2015 Thirst Trends for Levi’s recipes and call a Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 to order Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend from Stockton Graham Coffees.

Stockton Graham & Co. offering a new Brazil single origin!

We are now offering a new Brazil single origin coffee: the Alta Mogiana  (click here to download a PDF).

Our Brazil Alta Mogiana was chosen from the Fazenda Sao Francisco farm. The coffee was selected over numerous alternatives in favor of its unique complexion.

The Alta Mogiana region lies at the southern tip of the Espinhaço Mountain Range just north of São Paulo, where more than 400 species of reptiles, mammals, birds and amphibians rely on this region’s lush rainforest for habitat.

Coffee that originates here is almost always associated with the Cooperativa de Caficultores e Agropecuarists (Cooperative of Coffee Cultivators & Cattle Ranchers), which was established in 1985 in order to protect and organize small farmers and ranchers in the region. The movement also helped farmers in the region compete in a global market. Alta Mogiana coffee has been cultivated and exported for hundreds of years, but the initial development of the region can be attributed to the advent of the railroad which reached the area in 1872.

Fazenda Sao Francisco is owned by Nilton Messias de Almeida Jr., whose parents started the farm. Since Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, there are any varieties to choose from. What makes this farm different is the extra care given to natural processing of the beans. They really sort out the beans and deliver only the highest quality of bean.

The best 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.

“What Do You Taste?” Ed. 2

Despite graduating from East Carolina University four short months ago, Reid and myself recently found ourselves in the classroom setting once again, only this time, not as Pirates of ECU, but as students of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College. With so much to learn about in the world of coffee, we started class with the very basics, beginning with where exactly the beans are grown. Although coffee can be grown just about anywhere with a tropical climate, we learned that there are three main regions that provide the world with a majority of the coffee that we drink. For the next three weeks, I am going to attempt to learn all there is to know about each of these three regions and explain to the best of my (new and rising) knowledge, the specific affects that these regions have on the beans that they produce.

This week’s region is Latin America, and without a doubt it is the largest coffee distribution region in the world. Latin American coffee is grown from southern Mexico, all the way through Central and South America to Peru. It is also very common in the plateaus of Brazil, as well as some Caribbean Islands. In this region there are more than a dozen major countries that contribute to the coffee distribution industry including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and more. The tropical climate and mountainous landscape of Latin America is ideal for growing all types of coffee plants. Ranging from standard-grade Robusta coffee beans to high quality gourmet Arabica coffee beans, this part of the world produces it all.

With the amount of counties in this region that produce coffee, there are some differences and similarities when it comes to growing and harvesting coffee. Central American countries grow their coffee in soil with high amounts of volcanic sediment in it, while traditional South American counties are grown in more of a rainforest environment. Though there are two main growing environments that are very different, the coffee beans are related in the fact that they are all typically grown at a high altitude. With the exception of Brazil, many parts of Central and South American grow coffee beans in the mountains, at highs of 5,000 feet or higher, which give the beans high amounts of acidity and citrus to their flavoring.

Another common characteristic that Latin American coffee beans share is the process that the beans undergo after they are harvested. This process is called wet processing, and it is the process of removing the cherry from the bean, soaking the stripped bean in a ceramic pool for fermenting purposes, and then leaving to dry before removing the thin membrane remaining around the bean. Wet processing also contributes to the amount of acidity and citrus that these beans commonly contain.

Brazil, on the other hand, is a bit unique from the rest of the region when it comes to growing coffee. They tend to grow their coffee at a much lower elevation due to the shorter mountains in the Brazilian landscape. Brazil also typically uses dry processing, which mean they dry the cherries without stripping or soaking the beans. Once the cherry is in a raisin form, the beans from inside the cherry are then collected. The drying processes, as well as the lack of elevation, produce a low acidic and citrus content in Brazilian beans.
Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we distribute coffee beans from five different Latin American counties, and with those beans, we produce dozens of different coffees, ranging from single origins, to organics, decafs, swiss water processed, and blends. The classic coffee of Latin-America is typically, a bright, lively acidic and a straightforward cup. They provide what for a North American is a “typical” good coffee experience, one that has now come to be a favorite of many all around the world.

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.

New crop Brazil Alta Mogiana

Our roasting staff is proud to introduce our new crop Brazil from the Alta Mogiana region. If you enjoyed the Ipanema Dulce, you’re going to fall in love the new Brazil.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, when word got around that we were opting for a new Brazil this year, there were some grumbles. However, as of 9:28 am this morning, consider me convinced and converted. Our roastmaster Brandon said that the new Brazil was awesome and he is certainly right. I’m having a freshly brewed cup right now and all is right with the world. What a fantastic coffee for the morning!

Alta Mogiana is one of the most traditional coffee growing regions in Brazil and is known worldwide for producing a coffee that makes for an excellent cup. This coffee’s unique sweetness balances perfectly with its body and acidity. The proof is in the cup!

Coffee Characteristics:

Aroma: Nutty
Acidity: Low & delicate acidity
Body: Medium
Taste: Lots of chocolate with outstanding sweetness
Aftertaste: Long and pleasant

Add five pounds to your next order!

Mike Adams, Customer Care