Earth Day Focus: Sustainability

On April 22nd, more than one billion people around the globe will celebrate the 48th annual Earth Day. Since coffee, of course, is an agricultural product, the state of the environment is fundamentally important to producing quality coffee.

There is no denying the environment’s effect on taste. The crop to cup journey is one of the earth’s many miracles, and even the slightest climate change could greatly alter a harvest’s quality. The fact is, we all agree that our planet is precious.  As the global climate changes, it becomes ever more import for each of us to do our part in protecting it.

Since being founded in 1994, Stockton Graham & Co. has been committed to purchasing green coffee from farms, co-ops and other organizations that take care to protect the environment through sustainable agricultural practices.

“We work closely with farmers both directly and through our importers to ensure coffee growing and harvesting practices protect the earth and, indeed, the future of the coffee industry.”

Jeff Vojta, Founder and CEO of Stockton Graham & Co.

As Earth Day 2018 approaches, we wanted to spotlight the impact of some of our local sustainability projects.

Our Director of Coffee Brad Kirby spearheaded these initiatives to help two neighboring sustainable farms, the Farm at Penny Lane and Paz farm. “These farms are mission-driven and make a big impact my community,” Brad said. “I also love that they are so close to me, I can hear when they have tractors running, so it’s easy donating to them.”

Farm at Penny Lane

Sustainable project: Burlap for farming

The Farm at Penny Lane partners with individuals with mental illness to grow nutritious food for themselves and others. Penny Lane provides integrated, community-based programs in a therapeutic inclusive farm setting. The farm’s sustainable accommodations include a community garden also offers Horticultural therapy.

Stockton Graham & Co. donates used burlap to Penny Lane. Burlap is the fabric sack used for shipping green coffee beans. Using burlap in farming helps reduce the growth of weeds and is biodegradable—meaning it eventually decomposes and contributes to garden soil.

We caught up with Jessamine from Penny Lane, to see how the burlap project was going.

“Things are going well here,” Jessamine reported. “The crops are growing a little slowly, but the weeds are not, and we are dutifully clearing them out of pathways and spreading out the burlap.  The real test of the experiment will be midsummer when we see how well the burlap keeps down the weeds, but for now, we love having it. It’s so much nicer to work with than cardboard!”

Paz Farm

Sustainable project: Chaff for chicken coups

The Paz Farm is a small-scale farm located in Chapel Hill, NC. They produce range free eggs and seasonal produce. The Paz Farm uses sustainable growing practices, which means they avoid synthetics, pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

Chaff is the byproduct of roasting coffee beans. The roasting process causes the thin, dried skin around the green coffee bean to come off. Chaff has many uses in farming; it is excellent for composting but can also be mixed into the soil.

Stockton Graham & Co. regularly donates chaff to Paz Farm. We asked Nancy from the farm about the chaff donation.

“We’ve used the chaff as bedding for our chicken coups, and it is working well,” Nancy said. “We saved money, the coups smell better, and our chickens have been cozy since we started using your chaff, Thanks Stockton Graham & Co.”

At Stockton Graham & Co., we take sustainability seriously. We all play a role in preserving our planet. For more information about our sustainable initiatives or any of our sustainable coffees, call 800 835 5943 or email us.

Featured Coffee: Organic Carolina Rain

Organic Carolina RainWhen it comes to April’s featured coffee, our Organic Carolina Rain, I’m reminded of one of the universe’s most fundamental truths:

Sometimes two vastly different things come together in harmony to create a perfect combination. When done right, this produces amazing results.

Let’s take second to think about some of the most iconic food pairings.

Milk & Cookies, Peanut butter & Jelly, Coffee & Doughnuts are only a few examples of dynamic duos that reach culinary synergy.

Organic Carolina Rain from our Dilworth Coffee brand is another great example. It is a blend of beans grown only 300km (186 miles) from each other in two different countries: Guatemala and Mexico. Conventional wisdom may lead you to believe these neighboring beans are alike, but they each have very unique qualities that blend together to make one of our most popular USDA-organic certified coffee blends.

Cupping Notes
AROMA: Citrus, Floral
BODY: Light
FLAVOR: Caramelized Sugar, Orange Citrus
ACIDITY: Bright, Lively
AFTERTASTE: Tangy, Sweet

Sourcing
The first component of our Organic Carolina Rain are beans from the Chiapas region of Mexico. These beans, grown in one of the premier regions of the country, provide a smooth and balanced sweetness with subtle floral notes.

The second component of the blend is organic Huehuetenango from Guatemala. Farmed from the lower slopes of the Sierra de Los Cuchumantanes mountain range in the western part of the country, our organic Guatemala adds depth and character with lively flavors of citrus fruit.

When drinking Organic Carolina Rain, expect subtle sweet and floral notes complemented by flavors of citrus and caramelized sugar. While outstanding for drip coffee and especially single-cup pour over methods, Carolina Rain also makes a refreshingly light and tangy iced coffee.

Organic Carolina Rain is also uniquely adaptable. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold, making it a perfect coffee to enjoy from April showers through May flowers and beyond.

For more information about our Organic Carolina Rain or any of our other Dilworth Coffees, call 800 835 5943 or email us today.

Honduras Finca Cual Bicicleta

Honduras Finca Cual Bicicleta

We are pleased to announce a very limited rare harvest of Honduran coffee from the famous Finca Cual Bicicleta, which will be sold under our Dilworth Coffee brand. Founded by Oscar Omar Alonzo, Finca Cual Bicicleta produces some of the most sought-after coffee in the region, if not the world.

Oscar Omar Alonzo is a celebrated coffee farmer known for his passionate approach to producing high-quality, sustainable organic coffee. While many neighboring farms have experienced reduced production due to coffee rust, Finca Cual Bicicleta, which means “which bicycle” keeps pedaling to successful harvests.

Oscar Omar Alonzo follows a holistic approach to farming that has produced some of the best tasting coffee in the world. As part of his farm’s sustainability efforts, he utilizes old coconut husk from nearby lakes and buries them next to his coffee plants. The coconut husks soak up water and provide much-needed moisture and nutrients to the growing coffee trees.

Honduras is a leader in Central American coffee production. Known for its wide variety of flavor profiles, coffee from Honduras is usually very balanced with sweet and mild tasting notes. Although much of the Finca Caul Bicicleta coffee is either full natural or wash processed, Dilworth Coffee’s Finca Cual Bicicleta beans are honey processed.

Honey processing is a drying method that’s gaining popularity in the coffee world. Using this method, farmers remove the skin of the coffee cherry and various amounts of fruit pulp before drying. This allows extra fruitiness and sweetness to transfer to the beans as they dry.

As a result, our Finca Cual Bicicleta features sweet notes of honey, florals, and lemon-raspberry.

TASTING NOTES:

AROMA: Nutty – Honey – Floral
BODY: Medium – Silky
FLAVOR: Lemon-Raspberry – Honey – Caramel
ACIDITY: Balanced – Lively
AFTERTASTE: Floral – Clean – Smooth

To order Dilworth Coffee Honduras Finca Cual Bicicleta, please call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 or email us. Or if you are a retail consumer looking for beans to brew at home, you can order online at here!

Featured Coffee: Brazil Cerrado Natural

Brazil Cerrado Natural

Our Brazil Cerrado Natural is imported from one of the most delicate regions of Brazil, the Cerrados. The Cerrado accounts for over twenty percent of the country and is home to some of the moister savanna wetlands of the world. Tropical climates of the Cerrado region enables it to produce a pleasurably balanced coffee.

Coffee is Brazil’s largest export, accounting for around one-third of the world’s coffee production. Quality Brazilian coffees often have a balanced flavor profile with a smooth, subtle level of sweetness. For that reason, high-quality Brazilian beans are preferred for specialty espresso blends because they stabilize the flavor acting as a delicious backdrop for beans from other regions.

We selected this coffee bean because it is a “full natural” or dried-in-the-fruit coffee. Brazilin farmers process the coffee similar to drying grapes into raisins. The best quality coffee fruit is selected and allowed to bask in sunlight until the cherry turns from red to deep brown. This meticulous drying process grants the bean more sweetness. As a result, the Brazil Cerrado Natural produces a light, silky cup with a sweetness balanced by its delicate notes of berries.

AROMA: Nutty – Notes of Berries
Body: Light – Silky
Flavor: Nutty – Honey Sweetness – Berry Undertones
Acidity: Mild
Aftertaste: Slightly Tart – Clean

When you drink our Brazil Cerrado Natural, you can expect a light, but developed cup with a satisfying level of acidity.

To order our Brazil Cerrado Natural, please call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com. Or if you are a retail customer, you can order online here!

 

 

Featured Coffees from Sumatra

Sumatra coffee

Coffees from Sumatra, the western-most island in Indonesia have long been popular for their distinctive flavors. When new crops reach market, we try numerous samples to make sure we discover the very best of what the island has to offer. For 2018, we are offering Sumatra Karo Highlands, Organic Sumatra Mandheling as well as a Sumatra Decaf.

The western-most island in Indonesia, Sumatra grows coffees at altitudes of over 1000 meters on its northern end. At the green bean stage, the coffee has a distinctive bluish color 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 (called giling basah) 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 Sumatra, which makes it a very desirable and often hard-to-find coffee.

A Bit of Coffee History

It wasn’t until the late 17th century that the coffee 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 and some of the plants took hold. 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 abandoned. Even after Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, the coffee industry languished as farmers focused on crops such as rubber and palm oil. Slowly, beginning in the 1960s, investment in the country’s infrastructure and technological advances have helped the Sumatran coffee industry grow.

Tasting Notes for our Sumatra Coffees

Karo Highlands
AROMA: Mild Earth, Dark Chocolate
BODY: Creamy, Full-Bodied
FLAVOR: Caramel, Semi-sweet Chocolate
ACIDITY: Very Low
AFTERTASTE: Lingering, Slightly Spicy

Organic Mandheling
AROMA: Cedar, Clove, Smoky
BODY: Syrupy, Bold
FLAVOR: Baker’s Chocolate, Pipe Tobacco, Walnut
ACIDITY: Low
AFTERTASTE: Bittersweet, Earthy

For more information about our offerings from Sumatra or any of our other specialty coffees, call us at 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

 

Featured Coffee: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe

Considered by most to be the original home of the coffee plant, it makes sense that Ethiopia produces some of the very finest beans available.

Coffee, which still grows wild in Ethiopia’s mountain forests, was discovered many hundreds of years ago, legend has it, by an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi.

According to the story, he noticed his goats becoming surprisingly active after eating coffee cherries. One thing led to another and after some experimentation, the coffee cherries were turned into a beverage.

From Ethiopia, coffee made its way across the Red Sea to Yemen, where it was first grown as a commercial crop. From the Middle East, the popularity of coffee as a beverage spread to Europe. In the colonial empires of European countries, in places such as Indonesia and the Americas, new locations were soon identified that were ideal for the growth of the coffee plant.

Today, after lagging behind many of the other big growing nations for years, Ethiopia is Africa’s top coffee producer. The unique (and delicious) flavors of its crops have helped the country rise to become the world’s seventh-largest coffee producer.

Our new coffee originates from Ethiopia’s Kochere area within the district of Yirgacheffe. Kochere is home to many family farms and this coffee is a blend of lots from several hundred small regional farmers. In the region, coffee is grown at elevations from 1,700 to 2,200 meters above sea level in the reddish-brown clay soil of the high hills. It is hand-picked between October and January, washed and processed using spring water within 12 hours, and then naturally dried in the hot African sun. The result is a fragrant and flavorful coffee that is sought after around the world

“Our Ethiopia offering this year marks a return to a more typical washed flavor profile,” says Brad Kirby, Stockton Graham & Co.’s Director of Coffee. “We chose this Kochere due to its complexity and clean cup. Its balance between tartness and sweetness was immediately apparent on the cupping table and we think this offering will appeal to a wide range of coffee lovers.”

CUPPING NOTES
AROMA:  Lemon Drop, Floral
BODY:  Light
FLAVOR:  Black Tea, Lemon, Honeyed Sweetness
ACIDITY:  Pleasantly Tart
AFTERTASTE:  Sweet, Juicy

For more information about our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere or any of our other specialty coffees, call us at 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.