March Coffee College – What to Expect

SGC-COFFEE-collegeOn Friday, March 20th, Stockton Graham & Co. will be holding our monthly Coffee College training. Registration is happening now!

Coffee College is becoming even more popular in 2015, as our customers and their employees look to improve productivity, sales and customer satisfaction.  Registrations for February’s Coffee College are brisk, and it could be sold out this week!

Coffee College is a collection of training sessions we offer customers and their employees. It covers a variety of coffee topics from bean selection to brewing fundamentals to cupping and equipment maintenance. In the most popular class, Coffee and Espresso Basics (also known as Coffee College 101), attendees not only get a first-hand look into roasting coffee, they learn the journey of the bean from seed to cup. Attendees will learn to cup coffees, as well as, how to be able to identify the characteristics and nuances of the coffee. The more you know about the coffees you serve, the better you can apply the knowledge to what and how you serve your customers.

Attending Coffee College at Stockton Graham can carry more benefits than just increasing your knowledge of coffee preparation. A well educated staff can lead to more consistent and higher quality drinks, an increase in customer satisfaction and returning patrons.

One of the main concerns in cafes is having each barista perform and create menu items consistently and proficiently. We offer courses that can help shop owners be relieved of these worries, and reap the benefits of pleased customers that knowing they will always get the perfect drink!

Stockton Graham believes in a well-trained staff. Employees can make or break a business, particularly in the coffee world where the baristas are making the final product. Keep your baristas happy and educated with good training, and you are sure to see more repeat and loyal customers

“All of our associates trained in Coffee College and Basic Barista Certification, from upper management to shipping and receiving. We feel our team members are strongest totally immersed in the culture of specialty coffee. We have invested in staff training and that is why we have been successful,” explains Jeff Vojta, President and co-founder of Stockton Graham & Co.

Been in the Coffee industry for years? Our Coffee College Instructors can assist you, and your staff in sparking a newfound passion for coffee that you can take back your shop! Everyone needs a refresher now and then, or the opportunity to learn something completely new like: Specialty Beverage construction or how to create your own blends.

Coffee College courses include: Coffee & Espresso Basics, Brewing Fundamentals, Cupping for Coffee Shop Owners, Cafe Equipment Cleaning & MaintenanceExploring BlendsSpecialty Beverage Basics and Basic Barista Certification. These courses cover key areas of your coffee & specialty beverage program with hands-on lessons. Coffee College will help you support your great drinks with the know-how to set you apart from your competition!

Most importantly your Coffee College session is based on your needs. Our staff is willing to give you the information your need to help your shop flourish for years to come. To learn more about Coffee College and other certification classes, click here or call 1-800-835-5943 today to register!

Build your Business: Bulk & Retail Coffee Programs

Are you selling whole bean coffee in your café? You should be. Bulk coffee sales have the potential to dramatically increase your total sales, yet ironically it remains one of the most underrated and missed opportunities by many specialty coffee retailers. One of the most common misconceptions, when it comes to selling retail coffee, is that it is encouraging customers to stay at home and not come into your shop. The reality is this; of the 300 million cups of coffee Americans drink each day, about three quarters are brewed at home. This means that if customers are inevitably going to drink someone’s coffee at home, it might as well be yours. This also does not replace the fact that customers will still need to come to your shop for espresso-based and other specialty drinks, which they are typically unable to make at home. A successful retail program does not require a lot of extra time, work or marketing. A simple countertop or shelf display will draw the attention of your customers and have them asking questions in no time!

So what type of revenue can a retail program bring in? The National Coffee Association found in 2000 that 54% of the adult population of the United States drinks coffee daily (typically in the morning). So if you have 150 customers a day, then about 75 of them drink a minimum of seven cups of coffee a week and it could very well be at home. This statistic really gives you an idea of the amount of sales you can acquire, even when the customer is at home. A weaker whole bean program probably sells around 15 pounds per week (with an average retail sales price of $15.00 per pound), which translates to about $225 per week and about $900 per month in whole bean sales alone. A stronger retail program has the potential to bring in upwards of $4,000 a month.

Apart from an increase on your bottom line, another major aspect that a successful retail program can bring is customer loyalty. It’s no secret that there are a lot of choices when it comes to coffee. So anytime one of your customers is not invested in your coffee, you are at risk of your customer being poached by a competitor. The best way to avoid this is to keep them invested in you, even when they walk out of your door. A simple way to think of it is; each time they drink a cup of your coffee at home, that’s one less cup of someone else’s coffee that they’re drinking. Like any product, the more and more a customer gets comfortable with it, the more likely they will continue to purchase it.

So what’s the best way to set up a retail coffee program in your shop? As mentioned before, it does not take much. Start small, with a few choices (perhaps your house blend, a popular flavor and a favorable single origin) —there’s no need to overwhelm or confuse your customers right from the get-go. Once you notice trends or your customers start making requests, feel free to make additions to your selection. Display your beans in a noticeable area, but make sure it’s not too obnoxious – the goal is to use your whole bean program as an upsell. You don’t want it to distract your customer from the rest of your menu. Most importantly, educate your staff. It is likely your customers will ask questions or recommendations before they pull the trigger on a purchase, so make sure your employees are knowledgeable on all of the blend components, origins, taste profile, etc.

Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we can supply all of our coffees in six count cases, of either 12oz. or 16oz. retail packaged bags, so you don’t have to do a thing! We can also provide custom and private labeling, along with point of sale material, to help grab your customer’s eye, each time they walk in the door! For more information or for additional tips on building your retail coffee program, give us a call at 1.800.835.5943, and your customer care associate will be more than happy to assist you!

Click here to read more about our custom and private labeling. Click here to see more on the point of sale materials Stockton Graham & Co. can offer you!

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.

Peaberry Coffees

peaberryWhat we call coffee beans are really the pits of the coffee cherry. The “beans” are stripped of the fruit and dried before they become the green beans we use for roasting. The standard cherry has two coffee beans inside its fruit. Coffee trees produce a few undersized berries as a result of low sunlight and various other factors, and these berries have only one coffee bean inside. These smaller pea shaped coffee beans are called “Peaberry” beans.

Every coffee producing country grows peaberry coffee, as they normally appear at the tips of coffee tree branches. A special screen separates the standard berries from the peaberrys and they are collected for processing.  Since a peaberry has only one bean where there is normally two, that one bean absorbs all the flavor. Stockton Graham & Co. Roastmaster Brandon Riggs says, “There is so much flavor packed into the one bean. You will normally find intense and bright flavor notes in your brewed peaberry coffees.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we offer several varietals of peaberry including: Tanzania, Kenya and Brazil. The Tanzanian Peaberry was selected because of its strong level of acidity. The fragrance of this brewed coffee, brings sweet honey like notes to you senses and entices one to enjoy this cup. The enhanced flavor of the peaberry makes the acidity and citrus notes amplified. With it’s bright flavor and creamy body, this coffee will delight a seasoned coffee connoisseur and intrigue your general coffee drinkers. The Kenya Peaberry has bright and peppery acidity, which adds a unique liveliness to your cup. The aroma of this coffee is full of berry notes and spice. This exceptional cup of coffee is smooth and has a long lasting aftertaste. Kenya produces some of the world’s best peaberry beans and this Kenyan is no exception.

If you are looking for an explosion of natural flavor in your coffee, we highly suggest sampling one of our peaberry options. Since peaberry is selected so carefully you can expect to have quality beans in your cup. A premium coffee, there is nothing to compare to the intense flavor notes that a peaberry will offer you. Because peaberrys are round they must be roasted with the utmost delicacy since they tend to roll around more in the roaster and here at Stockton Graham & Co. we are proud to be able to offer these elite and rare varietals of coffee to our customers. Contact our Customer Care Associates or your Sales Representative at 800.835.5943  to request samples to try these coffees in your coffee shop.

Understanding Espresso

espressoWhen Jeff Vojta and his partners started their first coffee shop in 1994, he knew espresso preparation and quality would make or break it. Looking to find the perfect espresso for his customers, he began the art of roasting coffee and exploring creating his own. This was the humble beginnings of what we now call Stockton Graham & Co., and espresso quality is still at the forefront of what we strive to offer our customers.

To better understand the importance of espresso in your shop, let’s discuss what it is. Espresso is a drink made from an process that  quickly extracts the essence of the coffee flavor from the grounds by applying pressure. The ground coffee is pressed with steam through an espresso machine. This machine was created in the twentieth century by Italian inventors experimenting with perfecting coffees made with steam.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the proper espresso brewing ratio is defined as a shot of espresso (25 – 35 ml) prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee. Since the coffee is brewed so intensely, it only takes 20-30 seconds to get it right. There are many factors that go into good espresso besides the coffee. The machine, the grinder and the barista are the main contributors to perfection.

Some believe espresso beans come from a special “espresso” coffee plant, but this is untrue. The coffees used, in general, for espressos are regular coffee beans. Some single origins don’t make great stand-alone espresso, but when they are blended with others to bring out nuances, you can find success. Our most popular espresso blends are our Midnight Lotus, and Milano. Don’t be mistaken, there are a few single origins finding success as espressos, including our Papua New Guinea.

Our Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs, explains what makes Papua New Guinea single origin work, “The balance of sweet and acidic makes this coffee unique. It is wet processed, which is different for Indonesian coffees and makes for a good quality shot of espresso. As with any espresso, balance is key.”

Espressos are constantly evolving, and here at Stockton Graham & Co. we know our pursuit to have great quality is never ending. Our roasters put a lot of time and energy into continuously perfecting our espresso options, and always evaluate them based on SCAA standards. To get the best out of any espresso, you should strive to brew in accordance to these regulations. Our Basic Barista Certification Program teaches you how to prepare espresso within these specifications so you can serve accurate, consistent espresso shots in any specialty coffee shop.

To succeed in the world of specialty coffee, quality espresso is important. At Stockton Graham & Co., we offer the experience and dedication to assist you in finding the espresso and espresso machines best suited to your needs. To learn more, read our espresso philosphy, browse our espresso options and call 800.835.5943 to discuss more with our Customer Care Associates.

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!

Pour-Over Brewing Made Easy!

 

There is no denying that you can brew a great cup of coffee in a traditional auto-drip machine. However, for a fast and easy alternative to drip-brewing, consider the pour-over method! Pour-over coffee brewing happens to be one of the more convenient ways of brewing coffee outside of a coffee maker. A pour-over system can come in many shapes and sizes, but all pour-over systems share a few common characteristics. They include a filter typically made of paper, a cone or hopper, and a valve or a hole that allows the coffee to drip in to a container. Many of these systems do accommodate more than one cup of coffee, but the vast majority are constructed for single cup brewing.

So how does the pour-over system work? First, place the filter inside the cone. It is a good idea to pre-wet the filter so if fits snuggly, by allowing some water to run through the device. Next, add your ground coffee beans. The beans should be ground finer than your standard drip grind, but coarser than an espresso grind. The standard ratio is one ounce of water to two grams of coffee. If you are making a single twelve oz. cup, use 24 grams of coffee. After dosing, place the grounds inside the filter of the pour-over cone. Next, bring your water to approximately 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit and evenly disperse your 12 ounces of water over the coffee grounds. Let the coffee steep for four to five minutes, while stiring the wet grounds to ensure the water is evenly dispersed. Finally place the pour-over cone on top of your coffee mug so that the valve mechanism will allow coffee to begin to drip into your cup! Some pour-over systems are built without the valve mechanism, and have a simple, open hole at the bottom of the cone. If you are working with a system similar to this, make sure you place the pour-over device over your mug in the beginning of the brewing process .

Now, you may ask yourself, why go through this trouble for one cup of coffee? The answer, to put it simply, is quality. By pouring hot water slowly over the ground-up beans, you extract more flavor, than you would by brewing a pot in a traditional auto-drip brewer. It is also a great way to control all of the brewing variables such as water temperature, proper ratios and evenly dispersed water, all of which are much harder to control on an auto-dripper. The pour-over method is arguably one of the best ways to enjoy fresh coffee that has all of the specific notes and none of the sediment. The pour-over system may not have all the bells and whistles, or even a clock radio, but it’s quick, easy and can make one remarkable cup of coffee!

For more information on pour-over brewing, click here

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.

Why TODDY? Using TODDY in your Coffee Shop or Cafe.

With summer in full swing, it is critical that you have the appropriate beverages available on your menu, so your customers are able to cool down with luscious, frozen and iced drinks. Smoothies, frappes and iced coffees are excellent menu items; however, you will find those items brewed the same way in just about every café. For something easy and cost effective that will set your cafe apart from others, give TODDY brewing a try!

The TODDY method, also known as cold brewing, is the process of steeping coarsely ground coffee in room temperature water for an extended period of time (typically 12 hours or more). Though it takes a while to make, once completed, your drink options are plentiful. But before we talk about the numerous drinks one can make with TODDY brewed coffee, let’s talk about some of its benefits. The original purpose of the TODDY method was to produce a coffee that contained lower levels of acidity. Acidity is sometimes undesirable, due to its ability to upset sensitive stomachs, and it can also adversely affect the flavor if incorrectly balanced. Although the TODDY method does a good job of reducing undesirable acidity, there is another very useful advantage to the TODDY method, namely shelf stability. Coffee brewed using a traditional hot water method is typically stale within a few hours; however, coffee that is brewed cold over time has a different chemical structure and therefore can stay fresh for weeks. You can also reduce waste by brewing large batches of TODDY at once. Spilled coffee, used filters and overdosing are no longer a cause for concern. Once brewed, your barista can simply pour the exact amount of coffee that they need and put the rest back into the fridge.

A great feature with TODDY is that you can use it however you would use standard dip coffee or espresso. Typically, TODDY is served as a cold drink; however, it is not uncommon to use it in hot drinks as well. Some of the more traditional TODDY recipes include iced lattes, iced coffees and TODDY frappes. For hot drinks, you can make an “au lait” by combining it with steamed milk and butterscotch or other flavors, create mochas and of course your standard cup of coffee just by adding hot water. Another unique use of TODDY is coffee flavored whipped cream which can always add that perfect touch to any drink.

The TODDY method is a great way to ensure that just about all coffee products can be delivered quickly. It allows you to add something unique to your café, and it introduces your customer to a whole new aspect of the world of coffee. A TODDY® maker is relatively inexpensive, and Stockton Graham & Co. conveniently supplies both the commercial and home versions of the product. From all of its advantages, to the tasty drinks you can create, TODDY is definitely something to consider for your shop. To learn more about TODDY, be sure to check out our instructional video, our TODDY recipes and our directions on how to brew TODDY coffee . For any additional information or to try Stockton Graham’s specialty TODDY blend, give us a call at 800.835.5943.