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. 

 

NEW! Stockton Graham & Co. Now Offering Paisley Brand Tea

PaisleyCatalog_headerTwo leaves tea company™ recently announced its new brand, Paisley Brand Tea — traditional paper tea bags packaged in vibrant colors that are “hotter than the average tea bag.” We love the concept and decided to offer our customers these beautifully packaged and great-tasting organic teas.

INTRODUCTORY SPECIAL!
Case of 6 retail boxes – $21.99
Regularly $24.60/case
(Expires 11/30/2013)

Paisley-Org-ChaiThe Certified Organic and Fair Trade tea is positioned to be an attractive, high-quality tea at an accessible price point. Paisley Brand Tea is a more accessible entry for two leaves tea company ™ which is known for its whole leaf, organic tea sachets. The company calls Paisley “two leaves’™ slightly hipper, younger sister” that will appeal to a broad swath of tea drinkers.

The new line has tea lovers’ wallets at heart: Paisley proves that great-tasting tea can be an indulgence without being expensive. Tea drinkers will enjoy being able to affordably sample these new varieties before finding favorites.

Paisley Brand Tea comes in eight varieties that are most in-demand in foodservice and cafes, including its flagship Organic English Breakfast, that brews up dark and strong, standing up to milk and sweeteners. Other varieties currently available are Decaf English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Chai, Ginger Green, Sencha Green, Peppermint and Chamomile. Each box of Paisley comprises 20 individually wrapped traditional paper teabags, and is certified Organic, Non-GMO and Fair Trade. More flavors are planned for the line to debut in 2014.

Paisley brews up fast and strong, particularly in a smaller cup (8 to 12 oz.) with a lower water temperature than full leaf infusions.

Call 800.835.5943 to learn more about this great new product line and place your order today!

Click here to learn more about Paisley Brand Tea from two leaves™ Tea Company!

PaisleyCatalog_footer

 

Earth Day Promotions for Your Cafe

EarthdayThe spring season brings beauty to our surroundings, creating a sense of renewal, restoring color and life to plants and livening spirits. Show your appreciation for nature with some environmentally friendly promotions this Earth Day: Monday April 22nd!

If you don’t already offer discounts for people who bring in their own mugs or other reusable beverage containers, Earth Day is a great day to consider doing this promotion. Not only does this decrease paper waste but it also saves you money on the cost of cups! Have a sale on your personalized tumblers or ceramic mugs to promote decreasing your waste output. This also gets your brand more exposure as your customers continue through their day.

Offer discounts on coffees, signature beverages or smoothies for cyclists who visit your cafe during April. This could range from your road-riders to your daily commuters who choose to be environmentally conscious, and reduce their carbon footprint! Make sure you let your customers know about these promotions with flyers and a social media campaign.

Collaborate with your roaster to promote an organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance or other specialty coffee in your cafe. Not only does this benefit the environment and coffee farms, but it would also give you an opportunity to educate customers on the significance of these coffee options. Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we offer a few sustainable coffees that your customers would love!

Contact your local ecofriendly groups and see if you can sponsor one of their Earth Day events with your coffee! This is a great way to show your community, not just your customers, that you are helping out. Many groups do park and river cleanups, planting trees events and educational festivals to promote environmentally friendly thinking. Your coffee would be a welcomed contribution, and could open the doors to new customers for your shop!

Coffee is a plant that needs a healthy environment to grow strong and produce the delicious beans we brew into our cup. Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we encourage you to make this delicious beverage available for years to come by helping to take care of our world. Promoting your environmentally friendly ways within your community can bring in new ecofriendly customers into your shop and give you a sense of joy for doing good. It’s not easy being green, but taking care of our environment will offer so much more in the long run. If you are looking for more ideas to celebrate with this April 22nd give us a call at 800.835.5943 and our Customer Care Associates can discuss more options with you!

Check out other things you can do in your shop to be more “green”, in this blog.

A Guide to Understanding Sustainability

In today’s world, there are several different sustainability certifications, especially in terms of coffee. A specific type of coffee can be classified under one or many categories, including, but not limited to Organic, Kosher, Fair Trade, Bird-Friendly, Shade Grown, and Rainforest Alliance. Due to the fact that there are several different certifications, trying to remember or distinguish them can become very confusing, so consider this to be a guide of labels and definitions in the world of coffee sustainability certifications!

Organic: Organic products are developed with an approach that views the farm as an integral part of the global ecosystem. Emphasis is placed on recycling, composting, soil health and biological activity with the goal of long-term protection of the farm environment. Synthetic chemicals are rigorously avoided. In accordance with the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act, effective October 21, 2002, the US Department of Agricultural regulated which products can be labeled “organic,” “made with organic ingredients” or “100% organic.” Only products that meet the organic foods, production, processing and handling criteria are eligible to be labeled as USDA Certified. Stockton Graham & Co. is a certified organic handler per the USDA National Organic Program and we are inspected annually.

Kosher: There are many different kosher certification agencies whose principal objectives are to ensure the ingredients used in a product; the processing methods; and handling of the product meets strict Jewish dietary guidelines. Kosher certified products offer assurance to the consumer about the purity of the ingredients used to make it. Stockton Graham & Co., based upon an annual inspection and records review, maintains a kosher certification on our coffees through the Atlanta Kashruth Commission.

Shade Grown: A coffee that is shade grown is one considered to be grown in the canopy of taller, shade trees. These trees can be a variety of species and with a variety of sparseness and heights. Not only does coffee thrive in shaded areas, but the acidic soil that the coffee plant grows in also acts as a natural fertilizer for these trees which provide ideal habitats for several native birds, bats and insects.

Bird Friendly: Coffees produced in a shade canopy that offers habitats for native and migratory bird populations are considered Bird-Friendly™. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) has developed a set of strict criteria for evaluating shade coffee farms. An independent, third party inspector determines whether a farm meets these criteria or not. Only those farms that also meet organic certification standards are eligible to be certified as “Bird-Friendly”™ companies.

Fair Trade: In its simplest form, Fair Trade means that the producer of the coffee receives a price sufficient to cover their costs of production, and provides a reasonable return on their invested capital. The words “fair-trade” are used by several different organizations that may or may not be governed by FLO (the Fair Labeling Organization International) which provides guidance and audit trails to ensure the price paid to the producer is indeed fair.

Rainforest Alliance: The Rainforest Alliance (“TRA”) works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. The Rainforest Alliance works with people, whose livelihoods depend on the land, while helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, TRA involves businesses and consumers worldwide in efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily.

Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we offer a selection of sustainable coffees in our NCompass line which contains coffees with one or more of the above certifications. With these coffees, your customers can feel good that with their purchase, they will help support a healthy environment and enhance the worldwide ecosystem. For more coffee information, please give us a call at 800-835-5943, and we’d be glad to assist you!

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.

Coffee Certifications-EXPLAINED!

There are quite a few coffee certifications out there.  A coffee can be one or many of them, including, but not limited to Organic, Kosher, Fair Trade, Bird-Friendly, Shade Grown, Utz Kapeh and Rainforest Alliance. Add to these the specific farms, auction lots, single lots, and it can be quite confusing.  Consider this your guide through the maze of labels, symbols and definitions.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that a particular coffee can carry one or more of these designations.  Given the history and economics of coffee production, not all methods or designations are able to be obtained in all countries or may not be practical for a particular growing region.

Organic:  Organic products are developed with an approach that views the farm as an ecosystem. Emphasis is placed on recycling, composting, soil health and biological activity with the goal of long-term protection of the farm environment. Synthetic chemicals are rigorously avoided. In accordance with the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act, effective October 21, 2002, the US Department of Agricultural regulated which products can be labeled “organic,” “made with organic ingredients” or “100% organic.” Only products that meet the organic foods, production, processing and handling criteria are eligible to be labeled as USDA Certified.

Stockton Graham & Co. is a certified organic handler per the USDA National Organic Program and we are inspected annually.

Kosher:  There are many different kosher certifying agencies whose principal objectives are to ensure the ingredients used in a product; the processing methods; and handling of the product meets strict Jewish dietary guidelines.  Kosher certified products offer assurances to the user about the purity of the ingredients used to make it.  Stockton Graham & Co., based upon an annual inspection and records review, received a kosher certification on our coffees by the Atlanta Kashruth Commission.

Sustainable: This is a term that does not have a widely acceptable definition. For coffee agriculture and resource development, the term implies concern for the laborers’ working conditions, for trading practices and land tenure systems that do not impoverish the workers, as well as sensitivity to the environment, minimization of pollution and independence from non-renewable energy sources.

Sustainable coffees do not have to be Fair Trade certified or organically produced, but they should exhibit the characteristics described above to ensure responsible production methods for both the environment and the farmers/laborers.

Shade Grown:  A coffee that is shade grown is one considered to be grown in the canopy of taller, shade trees. These trees can be a variety of species and with a variety of sparseness and heights. Shade grown coffees do not have to be organically produced.

Bird Friendly: Coffees produced in a shade canopy that offers habitats for native and migratory bird populations are considered Bird-Friendly™. These coffees, generally, are organically produced.

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) has developed a set of strict criteria for evaluating shade coffee farms. An independent, third party inspector determines whether a farm meets these criteria or not. Only those farms that also meet organic certification standards are eligible to be certified as “Bird-Friendly”™ companies.

Fair Trade:  In its simplest form, Fair Trade means that the producer of the coffee received a price sufficient to cover their costs of production and provide a reasonable return on their invested capital.  The words “fair-trade’ are used by several different organizations that may or may not be governed by FLO (the Fair Labeling Organization International) which provides guidance and audit trails to ensure the price paid to the producer is indeed fair.  Each organization can define their criteria for certifying.

Rainforest Alliance: The Rainforest Alliance (“TRA”) works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.  The Rainforest Alliance works with people, whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, TRA involve businesses and consumers worldwide in  efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily.

Utz Kapeh: UTZ CERTIFIED is a world-wide coffee certification program. (UTZ means “good” in a Mayan language). UTZ CERTIFIED’s mission is to set the world standard for socially and environmentally responsible coffee production and sourcing. The UTZ CERTIFIED program answers two important questions:  where does the coffee come from and how was it produced.  They provide a means for transparency of production and distribution while promotion sustainable farm practices from environment, social and economic perspectives.

For any coffee information, please give us a call at 800-835-5943. We’d be glad to answer any additional questions. Special thanks to the organizations for providing material on their certifications.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

New Product Alert: The Chai Company

Stockton Graham & Co. is proud to introduce a new member to our family of allied products: The Chai Company’s Authentic Chai!

As the name implies, their focus is on chai. Every batch is handcrafted by their Brewmaster in a state-of-the-art micro brewing facility. Additionally, the chai is certified Fair Trade by TransFair USA – ensuring that it meets international standards for Fair Trade. It contains over 80% Certified Fair Trade ingredients – more than any chai on the market today.

The Chai Company focuses on one thing – crafting the perfect chai. It’s truly a premium product at a reasonable price.

The Authentic Chai is available in 12 – 32 oz. aseptic cartons per case. Please contact us for pricing!

*Information adapted from Chai Company’s website

Fair Trade October

Hi all!

October is National Fair Trade Month. In the world of specialty coffee, it is important to shine a light on issues that impact our industry, and fair trade is always on the agenda.

Check out www.fairtrademonth.org/ every day of the month to learn 31 ways to support fair trade. Also, contact Jonathan or I to hear our current selection of FT/organic coffees. Personally, I recommend our Organic/FT Guatemala Chajulense Co-op. Nice and bright. Very tasty!

Mike Adams
www.stocktongraham.com
800.835.5943