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.