Ready for National Coffee Day?

National Coffee DayFriday, September 29, is the holiday that honors all things coffee: National Coffee Day! That means you should have your shop ready to celebrate. So how should you do that? We’ve come up with a few suggestions to help you promote this very special day.

Promote, Promote, Promote

First, nothing gets coffee lovers in your shop faster than the promise of FREE coffee. We suggest a “Buy One, Get One” promotion. Maybe buy one cup of House Blend and get another cup for free, or buy a scone or muffin and get a drip coffee for free, anything to get your guests drinking more coffee.

Another great promotion to offer is a free flavor shot with any coffee purchase. That way they still get the flavors and specialty they want, and you are driving sales. You can also promote whole bean sales during National Coffee Day by offering a “Buy One, Get One” half-off on bags of your specialty roasts, or having a whole bean setup next to the register to promote impulse buys. Remind your guests that when you are closed they can still enjoy a cup of your coffee at home. The cooler it becomes, the more home brewed coffee will be enjoyed, so make sure to target this market with promotions this National Coffee Day.

Education Leads to Greater Appreciation

National Coffee Day is about celebrating all things coffee, and the best way to go about that is really exploring the smell, taste and attributes of our favorite beverage. Why not celebrate by hosting a cupping of your three most popular roasts? Evaluating coffee is done through a process of adding hot water into a cup or a glass of freshly ground coffee, known as a coffee cupping. In a traditional cupping, you could compare and contrast the qualities of different coffees from different countries or even different regions of the world. While cupping coffee, there are five key elements to consider which affect the character of each specific coffee. These attributes are aroma, acidity, body, flavor and aftertaste. Help your guests understand their coffee, and they will become more passionate about coffee, your coffee in particular. (The Specialty Coffee Association Flavor Wheel might be useful with this. You can download it here.)

Highlight Different Brew Methods

An event you can have Friday to help your guests and drive sales is a “brew bar.”  Single cup brewing and brewing stations are popular all over the country. Set up a pour-over station with Chemex brewing, V60 or even a brew rail, use steeping methods like French Press and Toddy, and show your guests what making a good cup of coffee is all about. Remind them they can do this at home and to purchase some of your wholesale beans to experiment with.

By using National Coffee Day to celebrate your shop through specialized promotions, your guests (more informed thanks to you) will be more filled with their favorite drinks, and you will have more loyal guests coming into your shop for drinks and whole beans. The more your guests are involved with the coffee, the more they will depend on you to supply it for them!

For more information about our coffee or how Stockton Graham & Co. can help you successfully run your café, call us at 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

From Stockton Graham Coffees to Dilworth Coffee

New Dilworth Coffee bagsThis is an exciting time in the world of specialty coffee. Starting in late May, Stockton Graham Coffees will be sold under the brand name Dilworth Coffee.

Those who know Dilworth Coffee, know that it is Charlotte’s Original Specialty Coffee brand and a leader in specialty coffee in North Carolina.

Why the change?

Stockton Graham & Co. previously sourced, roasted, blend and packaged specialty coffee under two brands: Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffee. After extensive market research and customer feedback, we have decided to consolidate our specialty coffee under our single strongest brand: Dilworth Coffee. This will allow us to streamline our business and improve our customer experience. Customers will receive the same high-quality coffees and outstanding service they have come to expect from Stockton Graham & Co. Plus, wholesale customer get the added benefit of offering a Top 3 coffee brand with a growing retail presence.*

In addition to an entirely new look and packaging, all of our coffees, both wholesale and retail, will soon carry the prestigious Dilworth Coffee name. Retail coffee orders will now be handled exclusively through the Dilworth Coffee website. There will be no change to how wholesale coffee orders are handled.

What does this change mean for me, a wholesale customer of Stockton Graham & Co. Coffees and allied products?
All our wholesale coffee buyers now have access to a leading specialty coffee brand with a strong retail presence. Our new curated coffee list includes 60+ coffees, including USDA-Certified Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, single-farm microlots, rare harvests, Swiss Water® Processed decaffeinated and flavored coffees. The coffees are designed to appeal to a broad array of consumer palates from casual coffee drinkers to coffee connoisseurs.

What’s the history of Dilworth Coffee?Dilworth Coffee
While visiting Italy in 1989, Charlotte NC resident and Dilworth Coffee founder Don Keen had a memorable coffee experience. He wanted to share that wonderful coffee and outstanding service with the residents of his hometown so he returned home to Charlotte and opened the first Dilworth Coffee. Stockton Graham & Co. began a relationship with Dilworth Coffee in the 1990s and eventually became the exclusive roaster for the company in 2010; in 2016 Dilworth fully became a part of Stockton Graham & Co.

As we’ve mentioned, the brand refresh includes a new logo but if you really want to get a feel for all the changes, visit the new Dilworth Coffee in Charlotte’s Fifth Third Center or one of our other locations. You’ll find a new menu focused on espresso and other hand-crafted coffee preparations, a new in-store design and, of course, personalized service based on old-fashioned Southern hospitality. For one of the changes we are most excited about, check out the Shop section of the site to see our new retail packaging. Our coffee already sets us apart from the competition but now our look will do the same. In addition, we are expanding our licensed store program to help spread the Dilworth Coffee name and experience to new markets.

“The new Dilworth Coffee is a modern interpretation of the brand’s original mission of providing exceptional quality and service in a comfortable neighborhood coffee shop,” said Lane Mitchell, Director of Creative, Brand & Marketing at Dilworth Coffee.

“In creating the new logo, we wanted to retain the equities of the old logo, especially in the representation of the coffee bean; but we also wanted to bring it into today’s 4D world by making the logo more iconographic,” Ms. Mitchell said. “In fact, the entire logo centers around the iconic coffee bean, which reinforces the bean as the company’s focus: its heart and soul.”

The new brand visuals include a signature pattern rooted in the natural colors and textures of the Piedmont region of North Carolina. This pattern is integrated into the new store through signage, menus and wearables. It is also now appearing throughout the company’s brand assets.

For more information about the Dilworth Coffee brand or how Stockton Graham & Co. can make your coffee experiences better, please call 800 835 5943 or email info@stocktongraham.com.

How well do you know your customers?

 

Know your customers' needsMarshall Fields, a retailing pioneer, often told his staff: Give the lady what she wants!” That sounds very simple, but you need to understand your customers and what they really want, then offer it. To do this, think about who they are, what they like to buy, when they come into your shop, how they found your shop, etc. And, of course, you must always remember the customer is always king or queen and what they want or need will change over time. You need to stay abreast of these changes while still providing quality coffee, great service and maintaining the very things that make your store unique.

So, how did your current customers find your shop? Where are they coming from when they visit and where are they going when they leave? What do they buy when they are in your store? The best way to find out the answers to these questions is to ask your customers. Many will be grateful that you even asked. Understanding how they found your store (signage, location, marketing, word of mouth, Twitter, etc.) will help you direct your efforts to finding more of them, if they are profitable. Another way is just to observe them to determine how their purchase patterns change on given days or times.

Understanding where customers are coming from and where they are going should help you direct marketing efforts to those areas (e.g. maybe it’s an office building, a school or church), tailoring the products and pricing to meet their needs. It will also help you determine which community activities and promotions might better meet their needs. Perhaps there are events that are popular in your community, such as a festival. Maybe you should have a presence or sponsor on some level. Or maybe your shop is near a popular bike trail or youth soccer fields. Think about creative ways to reach those potential customers.

The most important reason to know information about your customers is that you need to have new customers coming into your shop every week. There are not standard answers or responses to any of the questions, but understanding some of the customer behavioral dynamics will help you tailor your product, price, promotions and ultimately, profit. Customers’ patterns will change over time. Attrition is part of business and you need to keep searching and to find new customers.

To learn more about ways to succeed in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

Iced Coffee for Summer

Iced coffeeWith the rising temperatures, it’s that time of year to start offering iced coffee and iced specialty drinks. Iced drinks can be an integral part of coffee sales during the warm summer seasons, allowing customers to have an opportunity to escape intense heat and cool off while getting caffeinated, especially in the South!

There are several different ways to offer iced coffee these days, and many cafes have decided to utilize the “toddy” method of cold-brewing coffee.  However, there are other methods available that can be utilized using equipment you already own in your shop.

Making concentrates is a popular way of offering iced coffee, having ultimately a concoction that is twice as potent as you would normally brew, then adding ice. Keep in mind that dark roasted coffee tends to yield a smoother and more enjoyable flavor than lightly roasted coffee.

The Toddy brewing process creates a concentrate that you can add to frappes, iced lattes, iced mochas, or just create iced coffee. In this method, which features reusable filters, you add cold water to coarsely ground coffee and allow it to steep for 12-24 hours. Watch our video on the Toddy method here.

The Japanese method is rapidly gaining popularity throughout cafes as the way to serve iced coffee.  This consists of any pour over device (Chemex, Hario V60, etc.) or batch brewers in a shop and takes only a couple of minutes to prepare. This process produces an extremely smooth and flavorful cup of iced coffee, brewing right onto ice so it is only hot for a couple of seconds.  You can also incorporate your drip brewer to produce larger quantities of iced coffee by using the amount of coffee that yields a full pot but only running the half-pot water cycle. Of course, you will still brew on top of a container that has the correct proportion of ice (the same ratio as for the pour-over method).

Iced Vietnamese-style coffee is another great method which requires a Phin filter and condensed milk. Start by pouring a small amount of condensed milk into the vessel you wish to brew into and add coffee (1 rounded tablespoon per 6 ounces at a coarse grind) to the Phin filter. Brew on top of the condensed milk, stir, and add ice. The later two methods are not concentrations, so it is important to get the right proportions every time so you do not water down the coffee.

Iced Americanos will also help increase coffee sales during the warmer months by adding a cool refreshing version of a classic coffee beverage. Simply pull the shots of espresso directly into cool water and then add ice.

From a cost perspective, Toddy produces a larger quantity of iced coffee, running at about .21 cents an ounce. The Japanese method is brewed by the cup which requires a little bit more time and skill, but runs at only about .04 cents per ounce. While the Japanese-method costs less, it does call for more time per cup whereas the toddy is already made and ready to be used.

Iced signature or specialty beverages can also help increase your profit margins during the warmer seasons while standard coffee sales tend to slow down, and also increase efficiency by adding profitable and sought after items. The best way to prepare iced lattes or signature drinks involving milk is to add the ingredients and milk into a cup and pull the shots on top of the milk, leaving room for ice. This keeps the espresso shots from melting the ice and becoming watery, thereby diminishing the full flavor of the espresso. Then all that is left is to stir, add ice and serve.

Here at Stockton Graham & Company we are always happy to share our knowledge about everything coffee related. To learn more about ways to succeed in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

Three Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Increase Sales

Three Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Increase Sales

Even if you don’t have extra cash to advertise, there are always other things you can do inside your café’s walls to make things happen for your business. In addition to old fashioned elbow grease, try these simple (and cheap) ways to increase sales.

Be there

Equate your business to a child needing a parent. It can’t grow and thrive without your steady hand to guide it. Being there behind the counter also lets you build instant relationships with regular customers. They will feel connected with you (and dedicated) in a way they would never feel in a more corporate store.

But while being there is very important, a good owner will also know when not to be there. If you need a break, take one. If you need a day off, take one. A stressed-out owner is not going to provide the incredible customer service that is needed. The staff will thank you, too. Trust them to handle things. A mental health day will go a long way in keeping the head clear and can actually benefit the business.

easy way to increase sales in your cafeBus the tables

You can learn an amazing amount while cleaning up. Getting out in the store is a great way to start conversations with customers but it can also be a way to get vital feedback. Find a couple full cups? Maybe there is a problem with the coffee or equipment you were not aware of. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to ask the customer, have the barista make the same drink especially for you and pinpoint what might be wrong.

Chatting up customers as you clean is the key. Have a guest set up a small office and not buy a single thing? Go over and make a sale. Start the dialogue: “Can I get you anything? We have a great new mocha.”

Sample, sample, sample

Want to increase sales on higher ticket drinks? Sampling is the most effective method, by far. In almost every instance, if you give away samples and make one sale from your efforts, you’ve covered the cost of the sample and possibly made an exclusive drip coffee customer an occasional $4.50 smoothie customer.

Diversifying your menu is almost always a good idea, but many times after new additions are made, owners wonder why new drinks don’t move. Chances are, the customer hasn’t been made to want the drink at all, much less know that it has been added to the menu. New products, no matter how appealing in both concept and flavor, must be sampled to prospective customers if a business expects to sell them in higher volumes.

For more information about successfully running your café, call us at 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

It All Begins With a Good Espresso Machine

1920s espresso machine

A 1920s espresso machine in action.

The SCAA gives the definition of espresso as “a 25-35mL (.85-1.2oz [x2 for double]) beverage prepared from 7-9 grams (14-18 grams for a double) of coffee through which clean water of 195-205 degrees F has been forced at 9-10 atmospheres of pressure, and where the grind of the coffee is such that the brew time is 20-30 seconds.”

Espresso is the name used for all components of this beverage: From the beans to the brewing process, equipment, cups, accessories and served beverage. Heavily bodied coffee served in small cups has been around for centuries. There is evidence that it was served in Cairo as far back as the early fifteenth century. As the popularity of drinking coffee spread across cultures and throughout the world, new brewing methods and equipment began to spring up. French and Italian inventors began first experimenting with steam powered coffee brewing in the nineteenth century. It wasn’t until the twentieth century, however, that Italian inventors developed machines that could produce the drinks we today call espresso.

Espresso has become the foundation for numerous kinds of drinks. Some of these drinks include milk, such as lattes, mochas and cappuccinos. More recently, espresso has become the foundation for carbonated beverages and mixed drinks including alcohol. Regardless of the finished beverage, the espresso component should always be made according to Specialty Coffee Association of America preparation guidelines.

espresso pouringPulling the Perfect Shot
Baristas refer to the extraction process as “pulling” a shot. Most baristas primarily pull 2 oz. double espressos, which is what we recommend. Pulling the perfect shot will require an adequate espresso machine, quality coffee used, a proper grind, and a well-trained barista.

The Machine
Choose an espresso machine that can maintain a constant brewing temperature of 195° to 205ºF. Your machine should also be capable of delivering water to the ground espresso at a pressure of 9-10 atmospheres.

The Coffee
Any coffee can be used to make espresso, but for best results use a coffee that was selected or blended specifically for espresso.

The Dose
The dose refers to the amount of ground beans that are dispensed into the portafilter. The word “dosing” refers to the process of grinding coffee into the portafilter basket.  Be sure your dose uses the correct amount of ground beans.  There is no hard-and fast rule for dosing, but consistency is key to maintaining shot time and flavor.  The SCAA recommends these dosing weights:

Singles: 7-9 grams ground espresso
Doubles: 14-18 grams ground espresso
Triples: 21-24 grams ground espresso (usually only used for certain size milk-based drinks)

The Grinder
Coffee must be ground just before use for best freshness and flavor. The grinder should be adjusted by the barista as needed in order to maintain the timing of their espresso shots.

The Time
Extraction begins the moment your ground coffee comes in contact with water. The SCAA
recommends a brewing time of 20-30 seconds as a general guideline. This applies whether pulling one or two shots. We recommend grind adjustment if you find your shots are pulling too slowly or quickly.

The 20-30 second guideline should be used as a starting point, since different coffees taste best at different times.  The ultimate test is in the taste. Let the taste and appearance be your markers for a good espresso.

Tamping espressoProper Tamping

  • Elbow at 90° angle
  • 30-40 lbs. of pressure (Use a floor scale to practice pressure application)
  • To ensure proper extraction of entire dose, tamp coffee in the portafilter so it is even and level.

These are just a few words of advice and we can happily provide more. For exceptional espresso, it is essential to maintain correct and consistent preparation cup after cup, customer after customer. The ultimate test is in the taste so the real secret is a simple one: practice!

Towels
Your espresso machine area should be equipped with at least three clean cloths. Each cloth should only be used for its intended purpose in order to avoid cross-contamination:

  1. Steamwand cloth: a damp cloth used only to clean the steamwand. Change several times per shift. Check local health department requirements regarding use of sanitizer.
  2. Portafilter cloth: a dry cloth used only to clean and dry portafilter baskets and spouts before dosing freshly ground coffee.
  3. Bench cloth: a damp cloth or bar mop used for cleaning up spills and ground coffee from the countertop. Change often. Check local health department requirements regarding use of sanitizer.

From more information about proper methods for making espresso, just call 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

Welcome Back Papua New Guinea Mile High Coffee

Nothing beats consistency! Especially when it comes to coffee. This is how we at Stockton Graham & Co. feel about Papua New Guinea Mile High Coffee. Making its mark in Pacific coffees, a noteworthy attribute of this particular coffee is that it is unusually consistent with the crops previously brought in. This is so exciting because consistency is a key reason customers return – they know what they are getting.

This is great for the independent coffee shop owner too because your customers will fall in love with the PNG and keep coming back for it. In fact, when surveyed, 86 percent of respondents in the Charlotte, NC area said “consistent service or quality” was most important in a recent survey we conducted with Mintel.

PNG_Mile High 500x400Originating in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Mile High is the grade A coffee from the Arokara Co-op. Mile High gets its name because it is grown on the outskirts of the mountain town Kainantu, exactly one mile above sea level. Surrounded by mountains reaching staggering altitudes, the Arokara Co-op is made of plantations such as Gadsup and Tairorasta. Arokara has been processing and growing coffee for over 20 years. No chemicals or fertilizers are used by the landowner clans who now own and run Arokara.

papua new guinea coffee

The entire clan hand picks and pulps the Mile High cherries on the same day. Then, the fresh cherries are fermented for approximately 36 hours in cement vats. Next, they are cleaned in crisp, clear mountain water from the nearby Aru River. Lastly, they are left to dry in the sun for 7-12 days, slowly taking on a lovely bluish color. Mile High is carefully wet-processed to produce a consistently high-quality bean.

Gentle Flavors with an Undeniable Quality from a Versatile Bean

I sat down with our Head Roaster Brad Kirby and resident Barista Alex Jeans to explore this exceptional coffee and hear what they had to say about our Papua New Guinea (or PNG) Mile High.

They all commented on the slight, yet fruity malt softness of the bean that makes Mile High particularly drinkable. Its enjoyable aftertaste lingers on the tongue to be relished.

“As espresso, this coffee’s attributes are amplified in all the right ways,” said Kirby. “If a customer is looking for something different but instantly loveable, PNG Mile High is the way to go. Thanks to its creamy body and fruity sweet notes, this particular coffee does extremely well in small and medium sized milk-based drinks.”

papua new guinea coffee

To really get at the coffee’s unique flavors, our SCAA-certified barista Alex Jeans suggests brewing Mile High using the V60 pour over method, which really highlights its silky smooth body.

“The V60 method really highlights the coffee’s subtle acidity and fruit flavors along with a milk chocolate aftertaste,” Jeans said. “If you want to feature the coffee’s tangy, bright plum notes, then preparing it as an espresso is the way to go.”

When brewing PNG, it’s important to use the right coffee to water ratio—roughly 1:16 or 1 gram of coffee per 16 milliliters/grams of water or in other words 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water—and the appropriate grind for your brew method. For more information see our Brewing and Grinding Guide. Here you will find specific measurements and grinds for your particular brew method.  

Coffee Growth in Papua New Guinea

Occupying the eastern half of the island New Guinea in the Pacific region of Melanesia, Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. There are 848 languages spoken there and thousands of independent indigenous communities. This said, Papua New Guinea is still one of the world’s least explored countries.

PNG Illustrated Map-01

Nearly 40 percent of the population lives a self-sustainable natural lifestyle, and the entire nation relies heavily on customary subsistence-based agriculture. In the mid-1920’s when Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee seeds were planted, Coffee production in the country started. This made PNG a closely connected descendent of one of the most luxurious and sought after coffees in the world.

The first coffee plantations were established in the moist Sangara foothills in 1926. During the 1980’s coffee production expanded away from the plantations and more into the hands of local farmers who are now responsible for over 85 percent of total national production. After palm oil, coffee is the country’s second largest agricultural export. Additionally, coffee is responsible for employing over 2.5 million people. Most of their coffee is grown in the highlands, where 70 percent of the population relies on subsistence agriculture.

PNG landscape web

Papua New Guinea coffees come from the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, which sits contentedly north of the Australian landmass. Not unlike neighboring Indonesian coffees, New Guineas tend to come either from estates with large-scale facilities or much smaller farmers using simple backyard processing methods; Both methods yield inspiring results. Because the mountainous topography of the island lends itself to endless coffee varieties, Papua New Guinea is home to some of the highest quality beans in the world.

After a turbulent history of constantly fluctuating global markets and evolving infrastructures, the Papua New Guinea coffee industry has faced countless challenges. But thanks to an increased introduction of modern processing methods, combined with an intimate understanding of the crop, PNG has continued to grow as one of the most desirable coffees on the market. Papua New Guinea is actually responsible for 1 percent of total world coffee production, and here at Stockton Graham & Co., we are thankful for that.

To order our PNG Mile High, contact a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.