Stockton Graham Launches Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Stockton Graham & Co. launched nitro cold brew coffee in Raleigh on May 22 to rave reviews during the four-day local celebration of good taste called The Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. On June 10, we will launch our nitro solution nationally at Coffee Fest Dallas. Drop by Coffee Fest booth #917 to speak to our coffee experts and sample the brew.Nitro Coffee Stockton Graham & Co.

At the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival, customers lined up three-deep to taste our refreshing, sweet brew, which was featured in partnership with Café Helios. For the un-initiated, nitro coffee is cold brewed coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas. The gas transforms the cold coffee into a creamy, fizzy non-alcoholic beer-esque drink that can be enjoyed anytime of the day or night.

The Business Case for Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

Nitro CoffeeOffering nitro coffee is a slam dunk for an independent coffee shop, restaurant or bar, according to Thom Swain, Director of Southeast Sales for Stockton Graham & Co. Both the Specialty Coffee Association of America expo in April and the National Restaurant Association show in May featured nitro coffee prominently and booths offering nitro coffee were packed.

It’s no wonder. There hasn’t been a alcohol-free beverage option in recent history that hit the sweet spot in terms of demand, profitability and ease of implementation. Here’s a break down of the business case for nitro cold brew coffee:

Profits: Roughly $1 in costs, which include coffee and nitrogen gas, can create a 12oz beverage that can sell at $4-$5. That’s a 400% profit.

Implementation: Simple nitro systems are readily available at craft beer supply and home brew supply stores. A basic system will cost roughly $1000, and will break even at 250 servings. Many independent shops are reporting sales of 5-10 gallons (or 50-100 servings) of nitro a day.

Differentiation: Nitro is a product that is becoming known to more customers but that is still generally difficult to find. “Shops that develop a nitro program now will be ahead of the curve, positioning yourselves as a destination for nitro even before the product becomes more available,” said Thom Swain.

Demand: Nitro appeals specifically to millennials, who according to a 2016 survey by TD Ameritrade, spend more money on out-of-house coffee than any other demographic. “Offering nitro will shore up this demographic and have this coveted demographic in your store morning, noon and night,” Thom said.

Our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Recommendation

Through our research we have found that consumers in the 18-35 age group grew up on soda and have an affinity for the sharp, fruity flavor of phosphoric acid that gives soda its “pop.”

Nitro CoffeeWith that in mind, we recommend using East African coffees tapped with beer gas. This summer, we are recommending our Tanzania Peaberry that features juicy citrus and berry flavors. The nitrogen brings out a cane sugar sweetness that’s reminiscent of good southern-style sweet tea.

For a crisper and more fruity brew, you might try our Ethiopia Limmu. This limited-edition, natural-process, single-origin coffee provides a clean, sweet mouth feel and pops with the flavors of strawberry, raspberry and rose hips.

Both Tanzania Peaberry and Ethiopia Limmu are roasted to order at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facilities.

When it comes to preparing and serving nitro cold brew coffee, a variety of systems are available. You may opt for a custom-made jockey boxes like the one we prepared for Café Helios at the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. There are also relatively inexpensive countertop coolers and more elaborate full kegerator beer tap systems. Either of these options are available at places like Home Depot, home brew stores and restaurant supply stores. The team at Stockton Graham & Co. can discuss options based on your business concept and traffic and provide step-by-step guidance on brewing, gassing and serving nitro coffee.

If you are in Dallas for Coffee Fest, stop by our booth #917 to meet the team to sample our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee or call us at 800 835 5943.

Implementing Your Iced Coffee Menu

Iced Coffee Menu Stockton Graham Raleigh NC coffee roasterBefore we talk about your iced coffee menu, let’s look at why iced coffee matters.

When the National Coffee Association presented its 2016 report on coffee in foodservice, coffee businesses around the nation had an “Ah-ha!” moment. The data showed that not only is coffee sales in cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and kiosks expected to increase at a respectable 5% per annum through 2017—but, importantly, the price customers are willing to pay for a quality cup of coffee is increasing too.

And when it comes to iced coffee, the numbers are even more promising. Sales of iced coffee at cafes and restaurants are expected to reach $9 million. Growth has been steady since 2010, increasing 339% through 2015, according to Mintel

Your Menu + Iced Coffee = Profits

Once considered an “urban” phenomenon, now iced coffee crosses geography and demographics. According to a national survey by industry researcher Packaged Facts, 32% of all Americans will purchase iced coffee at a restaurant or café in 2016. And, the survey showed, Americans are drinking more freshly made cold coffee more often than they are drinking the canned or bottled Ready to Drink variety found in refrigerated cases in supermarkets, deli’s and convenience stores.

As spring transitions into summer, many of Stockton Graham & Co.’s North Carolina customers have already started thinking about their iced coffee menu. Those with trend-forward cold coffee options can expect to see their summer sales increase by 15% or more over businesses that opt out of iced coffee. And know that you should be able to charge a 15% to 20% premium over hot coffee for the iced version.

When considering an iced coffee menu, Stockton Graham & Co. recommends:

Make it fresh
Your iced coffee will taste much better if you don’t use the morning’s leftovers. After an hour in an airpot, brewed coffee’s flavors start to break down and taste stale. That’s why we recommend freshly prepared cold coffee. If you are using the Toddy method, which requires coffee to “steep” for 12+ hours, brew it with water that’s room temperature.

Chill it
It’s best to keep brewed iced coffee refrigerated to preserve the flavors. Yet even chilled, coffee that’s more than 24 hours old should be discarded. Click here to few our Iced Coffee Brewing Guide.

Stockton Graham & Co. Raleigh Coffee Brewing Iced CoffeeMenu both regular and decaf
Coffee crosses over into the “healthy beverage” category more readily than many other beverage options; so if you offer a Swiss Water® Process decaf iced coffee, you’ll pick up customers who would otherwise buy their cold drinks at a health food store. And because cold is more likely to be purchased during the mid-day heat, offering a decaf option will please customers who are watching their late-day caffeine intake.

Rotate flavors
The iced coffee season is seven months long or more in most of the country; you can fight ennui by rotating flavors every three weeks in addition to your unflavored offerings. Flavors that sell well in iced coffee include vanilla, almond, hazelnut, coconut, blueberry, mint, mocha and cinnamon. Just add one pump of Monin or Torani syrup in a 16oz cup before pouring the coffee. Both brands also offer sugar-free options, which further appeal to active demographics.

Keep it simple
Too many menu options confuse customers and slow down service. Offer no more than four cold coffee options (unflavored, unflavored decaf and at least one flavored) at a time.

Sample flavors
Have some 4oz cups at the ready to sample your iced coffee flavors, especially after the morning rush. If your business serves lunch, that’s a perfect time to sample iced coffee. If customers don’t order your iced coffee on their first tasting, they are more likely to order it the next time they return.

Make it fun
One way to keep repeat customers engaged is to hold flavor contests. Ask customers to tell you what flavors they’d like to see in your cold coffee by voting on a piece of scrap paper. Every few weeks, select a flavor and put it on the menu as a Customer Favorite: Pam’s Blueberry Mint Iced Coffee or Charlie’s Caramel Cream Iced Coffee. As an added bonus, offer free small iced coffees to any customer with the same first name.

Promote it
Place photos of your iced coffee on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. And remember, because iced coffee is a bit of a novelty, customers are just as interested in seeing how it is brewed as they are in seeing it in a serving cup. In a few weeks, take your social campaign up a notch by asking customers to post their iced coffee on their social networks.

To learn how iced coffee can enhance your menu or to order our Signature Iced Coffee, call our customer care team at 800 835 5943.

Introducing our Signature Iced Coffee

By popular demand, Stockton Graham & Co. is introducing our new Signature Iced Coffee a bit earlier this year.

Stockton Graham Signature Iced Coffee Cold BrewThis season’s Signature Iced Coffee is a result of all the tremendously enthusiastic feedback we received from last year’s Iced Coffee Blend. Customers loved the vibrant freshness of that blend and requested a coffee that would work well brewed over ice either as a commercial drip or Chemex format. So our coffee roasters and baristas got to work early.

The roasting and barista teams sampled several different single origin and blends in March; they tried different roast levels and various brew methods from toddy to drip. Based on feedback from the internal team and select customers, this year’s Signature Iced Coffee was born.

“This is a very refreshing and sweet iced coffee,” said Roastmaster Brandon Riggs, who oversees our Raleigh coffee roasting facilities. “When you serve this coffee on ice, the berry notes are a little more juicy, and you can really taste the sweetness.”

It’s no wonder. Brandon created an iced coffee that offers a Jasmine floral aroma, juicy berry flavor and a fresh, bright aftertaste that you’ll find in only the finest peaberries from the Rift Valley region of Tanzania.

“The acidity is nice and bright,” explains Alex Jeans, our lead barista. “It has a very pleasant after taste that’s light and delicate. It’s a perfect coffee on ice for a hot day.”

Iced Coffee vs. Cold Blend
You’d be hard pressed to read a copy of Coffee Talk or BusinessWeek for that matter without stumbling across an article on cold brew coffee. And other publications like The Specialty Coffee Chronicle, Beverage Industry, Restaurant Business and FoodService Director feature articles on iced coffee. So, understandably, there may be a bit of confusion in the cold coffee arena.

Stockton Graham & Co. Raleigh Coffee Brewing Iced CoffeeThere are basically two ways to brew coffee that’s put over ice:

Cold brew is a toddy where coffee grounds steep for 12+ hours to create a coffee concentrate. After a time, the grounds are filtered out of the liquid. That concentrate is served with equal parts water, milk and often Nitrogen, which creates a beer-like drink called nitro coffee.

Iced coffee is created by passing hot water over a filter of ground coffee — mostly in a commercial drip machine or in a Chemex — and the hot coffee drips over cubes of ice. When brewed coffee is cooled quickly like this, flavor and acidity is locked in. This undiluted coffee is served over ice.

An emerging iced coffee brew method is called Hot Bloom Cold Brew. In this method, coffee grounds that have been placed in a large glass or plastic jug are “bloomed” with a small amount of boiling water for about 60 seconds. Ice water is then added to the vessel. The mix is swirled and placed in a refrigerator for 12-15 hours to steep. The grounds are filtered out before serving.

Although our Signature Iced Coffee will work fine using either method, it does well with the Hot Bloom Cold Brew method and virtually sings when brewed over ice in a Chemex or commercial drip brewer. Click here to view our Iced Coffee Brewing Guide.

“That’s because the coffee’s delicate flavors are enhanced when brewed over ice,” Alex explains. “Brewing over ice will retain the coffee’s inherent brightness, so you really experience the fresh acidity of this coffee. As a contrast, the toddy method is designed to take some of the acidity out of the coffee, resulting in a much different tasting experience.”

To sample Stockton Graham & Co.’s Signature Iced Coffee, contact a Customer Care Associate at or 800 835 5943.

Heat Up Your Menu with Cold Brew Drinks

Cold Brew RecipesLevi Andersen, the Beverage Product Specialist at Kerry Foodservice, sent over some fresh recipes for luscious springtime drinks featuring cold brew coffee.

As we were testing Levi’s recipes, our friends at Monin pointed out that iced coffee’s share of all coffee on menus at U.S. restaurants and coffee houses continues to jump, indicating that consumers’ interest in cold brew beverages spans all four seasons. What’s more, the National Coffee Association’s 2014 Coffee and Ready-to-Drink Coffee Facts report notes that a full 15% of coffee drinkers prefer iced coffee.

“The last three summers, I have seen more and more excitement about cold brewed coffee,” Levi Andersen from Kerry FoodService reports. “There is a lot of opportunity to debut (or day-brew) new menu items.”

In experimenting with Big Train Vanilla Smoothie, Levi learned that adding cold brewed coffee (ratio of 5 oz of coffee to 2 scoops of mix) lets him create frappes with various coffee varietals with unique flavor profiles. Custom-blending like this allows your shop to develop a bespoke frappe flavor to suit your (and your customers’) coffee preferences.

When it comes to cold coffee, Stockton Graham & Co. prefers our own Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend. It’s a blend of sweet and bright coffees featuring our exquisite Brazil Alta Mogiana Peaberry.

Packed with flavors soft and sweet, our Alta Mogiana Peaberry is 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. And this creates a terrific base for Levi’s ice brew recipes!

Vanilla Cold Brew Whipped Cream

1 oz DaVinci Gourmet Single Origin Madagascar Vanilla Syrup
4 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend (view recipe)
11 oz heavy whipping cream

Directions: Add syrup to cold coffee and then add cream. ISI charge or hand whip until frothy. Pour and serve.

Turkish Hazelnut Cold Brew Frappe

2 scoops Big Train Vanilla Smoothie
0.5 oz DaVinci Gourmet Single Origin Turkish Hazelnut Syrup
5 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend (view recipe)
12 oz ice

Direction: Place Big Train Vanilla Smoothie in blender jar. Add coffee and syrup. Top with ice. Blend until smooth, pour into cup and serve.

Turkish Hazelnut Cold Brew Frappe

2 scoops Big Train Horchata
5 oz brewed Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend
12 oz ice

Direction: Place Big Train Horchata in blender jar. Add coffee. Top with ice. Blend until smooth, pour into cup and serve.

Download DaVinci’s March 2015 Thirst Trends for Levi’s recipes and call a Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 to order Stockton’s Cold Brew Blend from Stockton Graham Coffees.

Iced, Iced Coffee

There’s a time every year when the world changes. It’s the time when the entire population seemingly switches from hot drinks to cold drinks. And it’s the time of year that your store should be brewing iced coffee.

In North Carolina, where Stockton Graham & Co. is located, that time of year typically comes in mid-April when temperatures suddenly rise out of the comfortable 70s. In the Northwest, Iced Coffee Season can start as late as Independence Day weekend. But rest assured, it will come. And it will transform your business for a stretch of four to six months.Ice Coffee

What will your business do when Iced Coffee Season begins?

Stockton Graham & Co. roastmasters, baristas, brewmasters and coffee afficionados tried several beans and roasts, brewed in multiple formats, to craft the perfect iced coffee blend. Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend is a blend of sweet and bright coffees featuring our exquisite Brazil Alta Mogiana Peaberry.

A departure from other Brazilian varietals, our Alta Mogiana Peaberry 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.

A bean with this finesse requires care in brewing. Our Stockton Graham & Co. tastemakers recommend brewing the coffee over ice, which preserves its flavor profile and allows you to refine the extraction.

Iced coffee brew techniques—whether you choose a pour-over method or an airpot brewer—generally call for the same coffee-to-water ratio: 1 part coffee to roughly 15 parts filtered water.New Ice Coffee Blend

The brewed coffee is then immediately introduced to ice, which stalls the oxidation process and preserves the flavor that was created when brewed hot.

These are our two recommended brewing techniques:

Pour-Over Method (20 oz Serving)
20 gr coffee: 180 gr water: 100 gr ice

Brew Method
1. Weigh 20 grams of Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend.
2. Grind fine (about the coarseness of table salt).
3. Fold filter, place it into filter holder, pre-wet it and discard wetting water.
4. Add coffee to filter and tare.
5. Weigh approximately 100 grams of ice and place in carafe on which the filter can rest.
6. Using water just off a boil, add approximately 60 grams of water to the coffee grounds, allowing them to bloom and begin to drain. Slowly add water in small increments until total weight of water reaches 280 grams.
7. Brew time should be approximately 3.5 minutes.
8. Swirl mixture until all ice is melted to ensure uniform dilution.
9. Pour coffee over ice in a 20 oz cup and serve.

Airpot Brewer/Double-Strength Method (3.8 Liters/1 gallon)
250 gr coffee: 2400 gr water: 1500 gr ice
Yield: 1 gallon

Brew Method
1. Weigh 250 grams of Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend.
2. Grind slightly finer than drip setting.
3. Add coffee to filter basket.
4. Weigh approximately 1.5 Kg of ice, about ½ gallon and place in 1 gallon container.
5. Place container under coffee brewer.
6. Brew coffee on ½ gallon-batch setting (1.9 liters, adjust recipes weights and volumes according to your brewer).
7. Once brewing has stopped, add clean, fresh and filtered water to mixture until total volume reaches 1 gallon.
8. Swirl mixture until all ice is melted to ensure uniform dilution.
9. Store in refrigerator to maintain optimal flavor. Discard daily.
10. To serve, pour over ice.

To discuss brewing techniques with our master brewers or to order Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend ($7.95/lb.), call 800.835.5943.

Cold Brewed Irish Coffee-tini

Who said St. Patrick’s Day coffee has to be hot? Sure, we don’t mind a stiff Irish Coffee in March; but we also quite like this cold coffee version as well. What’s particularly nice about this recipe is that you can cold brew the coffee ahead of time, which cuts down on the fuss when it’s time to mix and serve.

In terms of bean origin, we’ve tried all the usual suspects—Brazilian, Ethiopian, Colombian, Sumatran. They all work well, but we prefer a blend of Colombian and Sumatran, roasted medium. It seems to hold up to the vodka without overwhelming the tongue.

  • 3 oz cold brewed coffee
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 3 ozCoffeeTini vanilla-flavored vodka
  • 3 oz cream liqueur
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Sprig of mint, cinnamon stick and/or cocktail sugar

Pour coffee, vodka, simple syrup, simple syrup and vanilla extract (if using) to a cocktail shaker. Add ice to the shaker to above the level of the liquid and shake for 3 seconds. Strain the mixture into tall glasses containing ice cubes. Garnish with mint or cinnamon stick.

Cold-brewed Coffee Recipe

  1. Place the coffee grounds in a 2-quart pitcher, add the water and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let steep at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
  2. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a standard coffee filter and fit it over a medium bowl. Working in batches, slowly pour the coffee into the filter until all of the liquid has passed through the strainer (the coffee will pass through in a slow stream; don’t force it through); stop when you reach the solids at the bottom of the pitcher (don’t pour them in). Discard the grounds and the contents of the strainer.
  3. Wash and dry the pitcher. Transfer the strained coffee into the pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.


Beat The Heat And Grow Sales By Incorporating Iced Coffee In Your Summer Menu!

Iced Coffee

With the rising temperatures, it’s about 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.  One of the unique benefits of iced coffee is that it has a lower acidity than that of normal coffee, and also has a lower amount of caffeine (especially appealing to the late night coffee drinker in all of us)!  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. 

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.) 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!

Below are some links that may be of use when starting to get into the brewing processes:

Why Toddy? You Tube Video Series

How To Brew Toddy

Recipes Using Toddy