Whole Beans, Please! Your Customers Want Them

whole beans of coffeeAre you selling coffee as whole beans in your café? You should be.

Whole bean 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!

Survey says...

So, what type of revenue can a retail program bring in? The Specialty Coffee Association found in a study 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 beans 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.

Loyalty equals guaranteed sales

Apart from an increase in 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.

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 beans program as an up sell. 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 about all the blend components, origins, taste profiles, etc.

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

Featured Coffee: Our New Costa Rica Tarrazú

Costa Rica TarrazuThe coffee of Costa Rica has long been considered among the best in the world. When the last crop from the country ran out and it was time to select a new one, we tried numerous samples to find one that lived up to our standards. We are excited to share our latest discovery.

“For our new coffee from Costa Rica we selected this one from La Pastora mill in the famed Tarrazú region,” say Brad Kirby, our Director of Coffee. “Clean and sweet, it has a pleasant acidity and light body, while the aroma and flavor contain notes of fine Swiss milk chocolate. We roast it to a light-medium roast to best accentuate its delicate flavors and complexities.”

Cupping Attributes:
AROMA: Cocoa, Cherry
BODY: Silky, Well-Rounded
FLAVOR: Tart Cherry, Milk Chocolate
ACIDITY: Balanced, Bright
AFTERTASTE: Refreshing, Clean

Sourcing

This coffee originates from the region of Tarrazú, which is located in the central part of Costa Rica and just to the south of San Jose, the capital city. There, coffee trees flourish in volcanic soil on slopes facing the Pacific Ocean side of the country. Coffee is grown at altitudes of 1200-1900 meters and harvested from November to March.

This coffee is grown by a number of small farmers from eight communities in Los Santos area of Tarrazú. They bring their crops to the La Pastora coop mill, which is recognized among Costa Rican producers for its coffee of exceptional quality and has been in existence for more than 50 years. With stringent quality-control measures during processing, high-quality beans are wet-processed (washed) and achieve a standard of excellence that has few equals among Central American coffees.

Heritage

The coffee industry in Costa Rica dates back to 1779, when seedlings imported from Cuba were planted in the Meseta Central region. The industry grew slowly until the 1840s, when a British sea captain sent several hundred-pound bags of coffee beans home. This led to an appreciation of Costa Rican coffee and the British developed an interest in promoting it. They invested heavily in the country’s coffee industry and the U.K. becoming the principal customer for exports until World War II. Today, the popularity of Costa Rica coffee is evident by the country’s #15 rank among coffee countries, with nearly 1.5 million 60-kilo bags exported.

For more information about carrying our Costa Rica La Pastora Tarrazú or any of the other fine offerings from our Batch 0995 line in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

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.

 

Putting More Into Product Displays

Coffee shop product displaysFrom a customer’s standpoint, walking through a store can be tricky on most occasions. Not only do you have other customers barreling around from aisle to aisle, you also have to navigate your way around various displays of different products. There might be a cardboard cut-out of a football player that measures up to stacks of soda bottles or a new holiday cookie laid out on a random table. At the movies, you often can’t make it inside without making your way through a maze of candy, soda and popcorn promotions.

As you know, there is a method to the display layout madness in all stores. They are there because you, the shopper, will notice them. This simple reasoning is also much more effective than most could ever even imagine. In fact, in-store displays have been shown to be more effective than price discounting in a study by OgilvyAction.

Their research, conducted with over 6,000 shoppers in the United States during the first quarter of a recent year, showed that 29 percent of those sampled purchase things they didn’t anticipate on before they entered the store. Of that 29 percent of impulse buyers, 24 percent said that they were moved to make those unexpected purchases because of a secondary display set up somewhere in the store. That’s considerably higher than product demonstrations (18 percent) and special pricing/discounting (17 percent).

This group also conducted a survey concluding that special display set-ups fueled twice the number of impulse buys of snack food in convenience stores than low price promotions.

These statistics can be helpful when applied to the café industry. In the past, we’ve stressed the need for product demos and offering specials, but this kind of data is something that cannot be ignored. In terms of allied product offerings, a display rack can be a great way to help those retail items stand out, Mighty Leaf or Two Leaves and a Bud teas, for example. Setting something up directly at the register for that impulse shopper to grab on their way out would be a nice add-on sale.

One strategy would be to have your customer’s path–from where they placed their drink order to the register–stretch along the front of your bar. Lining the area with juices, chocolate covered espresso beans, biscotti, and whole bean retail bags of coffee would give those 29% of customers the opportunity to buy more and will generate more money for your shop.

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

Teaching Coffee Technicians to be Expert Brewers

Brady Butler at Coffee Technicians GuildOn July 20-22, the Coffee Technicians Guild Summit, an event dedicated to educating coffee technicians from around the world, was held in Greensboro, NC. One of the instructors at this important coffee industry gathering was our very own Brady Butler.

Brady, field liaison for Stockton Graham/Dilworth Coffee is a passionate member of the coffee community. He has helped plan and run coffee events for the local barista community and served as a former Chapter Representative for the Barista Guild Association (BGA). He enjoys teaching others about coffee and earned his Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Lead Instructor Certificate in 2011, followed by his Golden Cup Technician Certificate in 2012. Brady began volunteering as a Lead Instructor at SCAA Expo in 2013. As past Chair of the SCA’s “Brew Crew,” he has played a key role in developing the new SCA Professional Brewing curriculum.

At the CTG Summit, Brady taught the course entitled Brewing: Foundation Level, which was designed to introduce the novice to the core skills and equipment required to produce outstanding brewed coffee.

“After a year’s worth of hard work and multiple trips across the Atlantic, the global SCA Brew Crew was finally ready to present our new and improved Brewing Foundation course” says Brady. “We combined the best elements of the SCAA’s Brewing and Extraction Principles class and the SCAE’s Brewing Foundation course, and created some great new elements as well. This is an excellent starting point for understanding the brewing process, and the first step towards the Brewing Professional Certificate. Since so much of our work was done here in North Carolina, I’m thrilled that this first offering of the class was in Greensboro.”

“We had 50 people from all over the country and even a couple from Europe,” continued Brady. “There were a lot of great events, a mix of fun and educational, including team challenges. My favorite had teams race to see who could fix an intentionally-broken espresso machine the quickest.”

“Since our audience was mostly equipment techs, we did a deeper dive into equipment-related aspects of brewing. These folks already know how to fix brewing equipment. We wanted to help them go beyond that to understand how to make coffee that tastes great. That’s the most important thing.”

The Coffee Technicians Guild (CTG) is an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) dedicated to supporting the coffee industry through the development of professional technicians. The CTG was created to build a community of technicians who can provide mutual support and knowledge, as well as provide opportunities to develop skills and learn best practices. In order to bring together the coffee industry’s most knowledgeable and inspiring professional technicians, the Guild strives to offer events year-round. For more information, please visit: https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/.

For more information about coffee or how to brew it properly, please call 800 835 5943 or email customerservice@stocktongraham.com

The Organic Coffee of Chiapas, Mexico

Coffee from Chiapas, MexicoThough coffee from locales such as Colombia and Sumatra may be a little more well-known, Mexican coffees from Chiapas should certainly be regarded as some of the best in the world.

A country famous for its cuisine and sunny beaches, Mexico is also famous around the world for producing delicious specialty coffee. The country is the world’s ninth largest producer of coffee and most of that coffee is grown in Chiapas, the southernmost state.

In Chiapas, an area geographically isolated from much of Mexico until the 19th century, mountain ranges rise to elevations of up to 2000 meters and run parallel to the Pacific Ocean. The highest peak in the region and the second highest in Central America, Tacaná Volcano, rises to 4800 meters (15,700 feet) above sea level. With rich volcanic soils and ideal climate, the area is perfect for growing coffee.

Our Batch 0995 certified organic coffee from the Chiapas region originates from the Finca El Chorro. This farm, founded in the 1930s, is located at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. It is only a few miles from the Guatemala border and around 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Since 1980, coffee production at El Chorro has been organic and the farm’s coffee has been certified Shade Grown since 2002. In 2004, the output was certified as Bird Friendly Coffee by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, due to the presence of more than one hundred bird varieties on the farm. (Hint: these are great selling points!)

CUPPING NOTES

AROMA: Nutmeg, Orange Blossom
BODY: Light, Juicy
FLAVOR: Black Tea, Fruity
ACIDITY: Balanced, Citric
AFTERTASTE: Clean, Refreshing

In the surrounding areas of Chiapas, coffee was first planted as a serious crop in the late 1800s, much of it by German farmers. By 1910 the state was the leading producer of coffee in the country. Today, the crop is grown primarily by small farmers, most with plots of ten acres or less, at altitudes that range from 500 to 1400 meters above sea level. Harvest takes place from November to January and the beans are sent to a co-op for wet processing. A sizable percentage of the crop from Chiapas is certified organic, meaning it adheres to strict USDA guidelines for number of things, including no use of pesticides. These sought-after coffees are often said to resemble the best high-grown coffees from neighboring Guatemalan in character and complexity. Described as silky bodied with a medium acidity, organic coffee from Mexico often gives a sense of chocolate on the palate and leave a touch of honey aftertaste.

For more information about our organic Batch 0995 Mexico Chiapas or any of our other coffees, call us at 800 835 5943 or email info@stocktongraham.com.

 

Discover the Long History and Unique Flavors of Sumatra Coffee

Sumatra Coffee map

The source of our Organic Sumatra coffee.

Most of us are familiar with Sumatra coffee today but it wasn’t until the late 17th century that the plant appeared in Indonesia. The Dutch East India Company, seeking to break a monopoly on the coffee trade held at that time by Arab merchants, first brought coffee plants to the islands in a search for suitable habitats for commercial crops. The Dutch Colonial Government, which ruled much of the region, began to experiment with plantings near Batavia (now Jakarta) and several other locations. Some of the plants took hold and in 1711 the first green coffee exports were sent home to Europe. Successes came rapidly and within ten years, exports of coffee had risen to 60 tons per year. Indonesia became the largest producer of coffee after Ethiopia and Arabia and trade in the commodity there was controlled by the Dutch East India Company until the 1790s.

By the mid 1870’s, large coffee plantations had been created around the Indonesian islands of Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi. As the demand for coffee grew, roads and railroads were created to transport the coffee beans from rural mountainous growing areas to ports for export. During World War Two, however, the growth of Sumatra coffee came to a standstill as many coffee plantations were taken over by the occupying Japanese. Even after Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, several plantations throughout the country were abandoned or taken over by the new government when original colonial plantation owners left the country.

Near the end of the 19th century, a leaf rust disease epidemic hit coffee plants in Indonesia.  Many plantations were wiped out, leaving farmers to turn to other crops such as rubber trees and tea. The Dutch Government responded by importing and planting Liberica coffee, however this strain of coffee plants was also soon affected by leaf rust. They next turned to Robusta coffee, hoping it would be more resistant to the disease. It proved successful and today Robusta makes up over 75% of Indonesia’s coffee exports, much of it from the southern end of Sumatra.

Sumatra coffee

The source of our Karo Highlands Sumatra Coffee

Coffees from Sumatra, the western-most island in Indonesia, have a distinctive bluish color at the green bean stage which is attributed to lack of iron in the soil. Their taste can often be considered smooth, with a sweet body that is balanced and intense. Depending on the region, or blend of regions, the flavors of the land and processing can also be very pronounced. Part of this is due to the unique wet hulling technique used during processing. Another factor in the diverse and intriguing nature of Sumatra coffee is the large number of small producers; even today close to 92% of production is in the hands of small farmers or cooperatives. In 2016, Indonesia ranked fourth in the world with an estimated export total of 400,000 tons of coffee. Less than 14% of that is Arabica from northern Sumatra, which makes it a very desirable and often hard-to-find coffee.

We have tried numerous samples of Sumatra coffee and are excited to offer the ones we feel best represent the island. Try our Karo Highlands, Tunas Indah Organic or even our Sumatra Decaf and discover their unique flavors.