Much Ado About Matcha

When CBS News ran a package on matcha in April, it marked a transition of sorts. No longer was the green tea called matcha, which as been popular for centuries in Japan, the domain of chichi coffee and tea shops in artsy neighborhoods like East Austin, Little Five Points, The North Loop and the Alberta Arts District. The CBS package meant matcha had officially “made it” in the United States.

Matcha Tea from Stockton Graham & Co.Within days, a headline in the popular daily Food Navigator blazed: “Matcha green tea market on fire, says report: This is not a passing fad, but a major trend.” The only thing missing in the headline were multiple exclamation points punctuating its palpable excitement.

The article proclaimed that sales of matcha green tea powder surged 54.9% in 2014, while sales of ready-to-drink products jumped an astounding 253%. The data was from SPINS, for the natural channel, excluding Whole Foods and covering the specialty gourmet channel and the conventional multi-outlet.

Although most of that demand is from the ready-to-drink market, matcha has been finding its way onto coffee shop, bakery, restaurant and smoothie shop menus at a rapid pace in recent months. It seems like matcha teas, matcha smoothies and matcha lattes are everywhere these days, and their distinctive green hue is being documented all over Instagram and Pinterest including art_maha’s Bibble & Sip and Chef Sylvie’s Matcha board.

And even during Stockton Graham & Co.’s Taste Kitchen in April, the Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp recipe we featured was hot. (Okay, literally, as the matcha drink included a half ounce of Torani Sweet Heat.) But when a simple matcha drink rocks the world of guests to a Raleigh, NC coffee roaster, you know it’s about to take off.

Stockton Graham Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a stone ground Japanese style green tea. It’s a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. The green tea plants for matcha are shade grown for about 3 weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed during processing. It’s got a very unique look – a vibrantly green color.

Matcha has been consumed in Japan for centuries. Sometime during the end of the 12th century, a tea called “tencha” was introduced by Eisai, a Japanese monk returning from China. Tencha is tea preparation in which powdered tea is placed in a bowl, hot water poured into the bowl, and the tea and hot water whipped together. This powdered green tea was first used in religious ceremonies in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century, Samurai fighters had begun preparing and drinking matcha as they embraced Zen Buddhism.

Why Drink Matcha, Anyway?

The green color comes from the chlorophyll, which is known for its health and detoxifying effects. It’s also an excellent source of polyphenols, antioxidants that may play a role in treating and preventing a variety of health conditions. One of the most potent of these antioxidant compounds is epigallocatechin gallate, also called EGCG.

According to a study published in the Journal of Chromatography, matcha tea has three times more EGCG than regular green tea. EGCG is a catechin, or a phytochemical compound that acts as an antioxidant to fight cancer, viruses and heart disease.

Unlike regular green tea that is steeped, the leaves are dried then ground into a fine powder. So you are actually consuming the leaves. One cup of matcha has 70 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce cup. Coffee has 96 milligrams for the same portion, but matcha drinkers say that their energy is more consistent, with less of a dive after the caffeine effect wears off. Matcha also has high levels of amino acids like L-theanine, which has a relaxing effect. Some report that drinking matcha gives them a feeling of “calm alertness” and kept their energy levels up for three to six hours without the jitters and crashes that came with drinking coffee.

Types of Matcha

Matcha can be a confusing category of tea. That’s because, there is no strict classification of match in the United States. In Japan, however, “matcha” enjoys a strict definition, and it refers to a particular variety of finely ground green tea that is part of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

True Japanese matcha – or, “tencha” as it is called specifically – is made from the delicate shade-grown tea leaves used to make Gyokuro tea. This high-grade tencha has an intense sweetness and round richness that is unparalleled. Tencha is the only tea that qualifies as true matcha in Japan, despite the fact that most “matcha” sold in the United States is not tencha.

Because of the extremely high cost of producing tencha, many tea suppliers and retailers have been marketing ground sencha as matcha. Sencha, in its own right, is a beautiful and delicious Japanese green tea that is bright, vegetal and grassy. A very high-quality tea, it deserves a coveted place in any serious tea store.

Whether tencha or sencha, matcha’s vibrant green powder is one of the newest health trends touted by everyone from celebrated chefs to self-absorbed celebrities. If you’re interested in exploring matcha in your store, we’ve done the heavy lifting and have a helpful list of options can help you get in on this trend.


Mighty Leaf Tea
 was born for the sole purpose of infusing life into an ancient indulgence by creating tea products that reach new heights of quality and innovation. Their passion is creating the most incredible handcrafted tea blends found anywhere, and globally sourcing the finest ingredients available. Paralleling the highest standards of quality at Mighty Leaf Tea is an ongoing creative innovation.

  • Matcha Powdered Tea
  • Matcha Green Tea Frappe & Latte Mix

Two Leaves and a Bud’s mission is to bring the experience of the gardens back to their customers. From providing tea that tastes as if it’s been plucked and steeped directly from the gardens, to education to help their customers discover new teas and appreciate them for everything they have to offer, Two leaves invites customers to “go there” with them and experience every step of the way how deeply and passionately they care about your cuppa’ tea.

  • Organic Sencha Loose Leaf Tea
  • Organic Orange Sencha Whole Leaf Sachet
  • Paisley Brand Organic Sencha Green Tea

Cafe Essentials is Dr. Smoothie’s gourmet specialty beverage line. Creating a stir in the specialty beverage industry, Cafe Essentials has developed multitudes of flavors that are sure to please any palate. These taste profiles are unique and exciting and that is what sets Cafe Essentials apart from the competition.

  • Matcha Green Tea Latte
  • Matcha Mint Chip drink mix

MoCafe has been offering high quality specialty beverage products including Original Mocafe Mocha, Caffe Latte, Tahitian Vanilla Latte and Wild Tribe Moka frappe powders since 1996. They also offer a Vanilla Smoothie mix, that’s a great binder to add with fruit. Mocafe uses select exotic ingredients for maximum flavor and quality, making them one of the top sellers of powdered base mixes.

  • Matcha Green Tea base mix

How to Prepare Matcha 

Preparing matcha is a little more involved then traditional tea. You need a tea ladle (can use the handle side of a coffee scoop), a sieve, a bamboo whisk (a traditional whisk will work too), and a ceramic bowl. Use the tea ladle to press the matcha through the sieve. Add two ounces of steaming water (176°F) into the bowl. Hold the bowl tightly with one hand as you quickly mix the matcha for one or two minutes using the bamboo whisk. Use a back and forth motion to really whip the matcha until it becomes frothy. Once the layer of emerald-green foam emerges, stop whisking, and enjoy!

For more information on matcha options and preparations, contact a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.

Kamikazi Matcha-Frapp

During Stockton Graham & Co.’s Taste Kitchen in April, the Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp recipe we featured was hot. (Okay, literally, as the matcha drink included a half ounce of Torani Sweet Heat.) But when a simple matcha drink rocks the world of guests to a Raleigh, NC coffee roaster, you know it’s about to take off.

Stockton Graham Kamikaze Matcha-Frapp

Read more about the growth of matcha and how you can add it to your menu.

Taste Kitchen Helps You Shake Up Your Menu for Profits

When it comes to running a specialty beverage business, cafe or coffee shop, there are few things more important that the quality of the espresso and the creativity of your menu. After all, your customers who spend time and money at your store are looking for an extraordinary experience that they can’t create themselves — either because they’re too busy with work and family or they don’t have the mad skills that you do.Taste Kitchen from Stockton Graham & Co.

Creating a stand-out menu will not only attract customers who live and work near your store, but it can also turn your shop into a beloved destination—and that can create a tremendous boost to profits.

To help our customers create a crave-worthy menu of their own, we just held our first-ever Taste Kitchen experience here at Stockton Graham & Co. During the two-week event, dubbed “Shake It Up!” we hosted several local coffee shops and specialty beverage businesses at our Raleigh, NC taste kitchen.

“Unlocking your creativity and shaking up your menu with fresh beverage ideas can excite both your staff and customers,” said Taste Kitchen host Thom Swain, Director for Southeast Business Development for Stockton Graham & Co. “Differentiating your summer drink menu from your competition and supporting it with a robust promotion can help you increase sales by $7k to $28k, with an ROI of 275% or higher.”

Denise Floyd, owner of Ollies in Wake Forest (213 S White St.), was one of the first local stores to jump at the Taste Kitchen opportunity. Denise sampled Lavender Lemonade, Churro Shake and Salted Caramel Iced Coffee and decided to put them on her menu a week later as Signature Drinks. They are terrific companions to her rotating and inventive food menu, which has featured fresh quiche, chilled Gazpacho Soup and yummy scones.Denise Floyd of Ollies in Wake Forest

“The creativity with the drinks was great and the ability to use this creativity to improve our bottom line and stay ahead of the trends is a real help,” said Denise Floyd, owner of Ollies in Wake Forest.

Staying Ahead of the Flavor Curve

An easy way to shake up your menu is to add beverages that juxtapose flavor trends from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Drinks with exotic, spiced and contrasting flavors are increasingly popular, such as salty caramel, gingery peach and tart creams. A second major trend is a customer preference toward healthy, antioxidant-rich ingredients like pomegranate, acai, spinach, Kombucha, coconut water, rooibos and Matcha green tea.

“We wanted to give our customers a comfortable place to experiment with unusual flavors so they could create signature drinks that set their shops apart from others nearby,” said Customer Care Associate and Taste Kitchen presenter Chris Bennett.

“In addition to the drinks we planned to demo at Taste Kitchen, our customers were able to create different and unique recipes with a wide variety of products we offer,” Bennett said. “They enjoyed mixing Stockton Graham’s fresh-roasted coffee with Torani syrups, for example—and then mixing MONIN and Torani syrups with Mighty Leaf teas, DaVinci Fruit Innovations Lemonade or Cafe Essentials Matcha Green Tea Latte.”

One of Chris’ customers, new coffee shop owner Yusif Sheikh of Jets Coffee in Cary Towne Center, was particularly excited by the Taste Kitchen opportunity.

“I enjoyed experimenting with the many product options demonstrated at Taste Kitchen. The recipes were really great and tasty. And it’s really helpful as a new entrepreneur to have a great relationship with my distributor and coffee roaster,” said Yusif Sheikh of Jets Coffee.

Focusing on What’s Best for Your Shop

Since Stockton Graham & Co. was founded by former coffee shop owners—and many of our staff has retail coffee experience either as shop owners, managers, franchisers or Taste Kitchen hosts Common Grounds Coffee Shopbaristas—we understand that each store is unique. And so we take a consultative approach to our customers’ businesses, helping owners focus on what’s best for their particular business model, store concept and location.

Taste Kitchen took that consultative approach a step further by working one-on-one with store managers to find recipes that would work best or them. Sue Finch, shop manager at Common Grounds Coffee in Hope Community Church (1000 Perimeter Park Suite A) in Morrisville, NC, was enthused by the personal attention to her shop’s needs and profitability.

“We came away with great ideas we can implement right away and Thom’s presentation of options made it easy to focus on what would be best for our business. He has a keen understanding of our business needs,” said Sue Finch, shop manager at Common Grounds Coffee Shop.

“We will continue to participate on future events,” Sue Finch said. ” The time we spent with Stockton Graham & Co. gave us time for creative thinking away from the shop.”

If you want to shake up your menu or learn more about how Stockton Graham can help you build  your business, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.

Matcha Mint Recipes From Dr. Smoothie Just in Time For St. Paddy’s Day!

matcha_mint_chip

Looking for some fun new green drinks to introduce this St. Paddy’s Day? Serve up some Cafe Essentials Matcha Mint Chip from Dr. Smoothie as a frappe, iced drink, or hot drink. This rich dairy-creamy mint chip taste leaves wonderful little surprises at the bottom of the cup – give your customers the luck of the Irish with nice pieces of chocolate to enjoy as a final reward! Place your order today by calling 800.835.5943.

MATCHA MINT CHIP FRAPPÉ
Yield – 16 oz finished beverage

  • 6 oz water
  • 2 (48cc) scoops Cafe Essentials® Matcha Mint Chip
  • 16 oz – 18 oz cup of ice

Add the ingredients in the order listed above and blend.
Taste Profile – Creamy mint with little bits of chocolate chips.
Option – For more of a milkshake profile, use milk instead of water.

ICED MATCHA MINT CHIP
Yield – 16 oz finished beverage

  • 6 oz hot water
  • 2 rounded (48cc) scoops Cafe Essentials® Matcha Mint Chip
  • 4 oz cold milk
  • 16 oz – 18 oz cup of ice

Pour beverage mix into hot water and stir thoroughly. Pour contents over 16 – 18 oz cup full of ice. Pour in cold milk and stir contents until completely chilled.
Taste Profile – Refreshing mint with bits of chocolate.

MINT CHIP MOCHA (HOT)
Yield – 12 oz finished beverage

  • 2 oz espresso
  • 10 oz steamed milk
  • 1 (48cc) scoop Cafe Essentials® Matcha Mint Chip

Combine espresso and steamed milk in a serving cup, creating a latté. Add powdered beverage mix into hot latté base and stir thoroughly.
Taste Profile – Creamy latté, with mint and chocolate tones.
Option – Top beverage with whipped cream and drizzled chocolate syrup, or even chocolate sprinkles.

In With The New, In With The Old

NY-Header-2012“Out with the old and in with the new” is a common phrase this time of year, but while 2014 is bringing many new things to Stockton Graham & Co., we are continuing with what we know best… helping our customers offer exceptional specialty coffees and hand crafted drinks to build your business.

The biggest news in 2014 will be around some important upcoming anniversaries. Stockton Graham & Co. will celebrate our 20th anniversary providing great coffees to our customers!  Our sister company, Dilworth Coffee is celebrating their 25th anniversary as the original Charlotte coffeehouse.  At Stockton Graham & Co., several team members will also celebrate anniversaries with the company, with 5 of our team members celebrating over 10 years and two celebrating 6 to 9 years with us.

Last year, we introduced Modern Oats, a certified gluten-free and GMO free on demand oatmeal product for the coffee shop and café. We have been pleased with this product and are excited about the new point of sale materials they have introduced to help you increase your sales in 2014.

Some other continuations of the old into 2014 are two programs introduced during the waning weeks of 2013.  These include our revised Everyday Savings Program with volume based savings so the more you order, the more you save.  To also help you measure your savings or potential savings, our sales and customer care team can work with you on an individual customized savings assessment and pricing grid.

Café Essentials from Dr. Smoothie with their authentic flavors offered a sampling program and money back guarantee that was so well received we are going to extend it through February 28!

We also have learned that the Torani Peppermint Bark Sauce has proven to be a winner in coffeehouses and cafes across the US and will be back for the 2014 holiday season.  For many of our customers that offered it in 2013, it has proven so successful that they wish to continue selling through Valentine’s Day in Winter feature drinks with a different twist!  Torani and Stockton Graham & Co. have some decadent recipes to try, and we have been able to secure a limited number of cases to help our customers continue to offer a truly outstanding flavor phenomenon.

Thom Swain, our SE Business Development Manager and Katie Barnes, one of our Customer Care Associates will be generating build your business ideas and thoughts for our blog and email newsletters including how you can take the time of year, seasonal themes and specials to attract new customers, increase frequency or increase the ticket average to assist you in keeping your menu fresh and enticing your customers with great coffees, drinks and service.

With all that and more, it looks like an exciting new year is upon us!

Cafe Essentials Hot Beverages Offer Through 2/28/14

Cafe-Essentials-CTC-Poster-6x8From Dr. Smoothie, Café Essentials hot beverages are balanced and authentic, and they provide an intensely satisfying taste experience. The luxurious flavor and richness provided by origin specific ingredients will delight your customers and bring them back again and again.

LIMITED OFFER: SAVE $5/CASE!
Stockton Graham & Co. and Dr. Smoothie are so certain that Café Essentials will delight your customers with its authentic flavors, we are offering a no risk trial period and buy back guarantee. During the first 30 days after your purchase if you are not satisfied with its taste and performance, you can request a product credit.
Expires February 28, 2014

Call 800.835.5943 to place your order and SAVE today!

Cafe-Essentials-GSC-Poster-6x8Users of the most common hot beverage powder mixes on the market often describe a “sugar first” flavor profile or have to use extra amounts of powder to obtain the actual flavor they are seeking, such as chocolate, spice or tea. Café Essentials products are artisan crafted to taste more true to their flavor origins while providing the operator a greater yield per case and lower cup cost. Café Essentials have less fillers, less sugar and more real ingredients for a more healthy hot drink direction.

Café Essentials are made with NO artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or hydrogenated oils. Hot water is all that is needed to make these delicious beverages with strong, authentic taste profiles. Your guests can enjoy a hot drink with less fat and sugar, as well as gluten free ingredients while you enjoy lower costs per drink sold.

Café Essentials has a variety or promotional materials available to help make these great tasting drinks sell themselves.

Click here to view more information and great recipes for using Cafe Essentials products!

To help increase your business by offering Café Essentials to your customers, call 800.835.5943 today for a sample kit and other Stockton Graham & Co. limited time promotions.

Stockton Graham & Co. is Offering $5 off a Case of Café Essentials Through August!

cafe-essentials-logoStockton Graham & Co. and Dr. Smoothie have teamed up to offer a great promotion on all Café Essentials through August 31, 2013. Every case of these great products, mixed or full, will be $5 off.

Cafe Essentials is Dr. Smoothie’s gourmet specialty beverage line. They have developed multitudes of flavors, sure to please any palate. Offering coffee, chai and cocoa mixes, Café Essentials can suit any need you have for your drink menu.

Some of our most popular selling products from Café Essentials are: Original Chai, Neutral Base, Ja’Mocha and Truly Latte. To learn more about other Café Essentials products, view the 2013 Dr. Smoothie catalog here!

To learn more about this promotion, or order Café Essentials products call our Customer Care Associates at 800.835.5943!