Peaberry Coffees

peaberryWhat we call coffee beans are really the pits of the coffee cherry. The “beans” are stripped of the fruit and dried before they become the green beans we use for roasting. The standard cherry has two coffee beans inside its fruit. Coffee trees produce a few undersized berries as a result of low sunlight and various other factors, and these berries have only one coffee bean inside. These smaller pea shaped coffee beans are called “Peaberry” beans.

Every coffee producing country grows peaberry coffee, as they normally appear at the tips of coffee tree branches. A special screen separates the standard berries from the peaberrys and they are collected for processing.  Since a peaberry has only one bean where there is normally two, that one bean absorbs all the flavor. Stockton Graham & Co. Roastmaster Brandon Riggs says, “There is so much flavor packed into the one bean. You will normally find intense and bright flavor notes in your brewed peaberry coffees.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co. we offer several varietals of peaberry including: Tanzania, Kenya and Brazil. The Tanzanian Peaberry was selected because of its strong level of acidity. The fragrance of this brewed coffee, brings sweet honey like notes to you senses and entices one to enjoy this cup. The enhanced flavor of the peaberry makes the acidity and citrus notes amplified. With it’s bright flavor and creamy body, this coffee will delight a seasoned coffee connoisseur and intrigue your general coffee drinkers. The Kenya Peaberry has bright and peppery acidity, which adds a unique liveliness to your cup. The aroma of this coffee is full of berry notes and spice. This exceptional cup of coffee is smooth and has a long lasting aftertaste. Kenya produces some of the world’s best peaberry beans and this Kenyan is no exception.

If you are looking for an explosion of natural flavor in your coffee, we highly suggest sampling one of our peaberry options. Since peaberry is selected so carefully you can expect to have quality beans in your cup. A premium coffee, there is nothing to compare to the intense flavor notes that a peaberry will offer you. Because peaberrys are round they must be roasted with the utmost delicacy since they tend to roll around more in the roaster and here at Stockton Graham & Co. we are proud to be able to offer these elite and rare varietals of coffee to our customers. Contact our Customer Care Associates or your Sales Representative at 800.835.5943  to request samples to try these coffees in your coffee shop.

Understanding Espresso

espressoWhen Jeff Vojta and his partners started their first coffee shop in 1994, he knew espresso preparation and quality would make or break it. Looking to find the perfect espresso for his customers, he began the art of roasting coffee and exploring creating his own. This was the humble beginnings of what we now call Stockton Graham & Co., and espresso quality is still at the forefront of what we strive to offer our customers.

To better understand the importance of espresso in your shop, let’s discuss what it is. Espresso is a drink made from an process that  quickly extracts the essence of the coffee flavor from the grounds by applying pressure. The ground coffee is pressed with steam through an espresso machine. This machine was created in the twentieth century by Italian inventors experimenting with perfecting coffees made with steam.

According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the proper espresso brewing ratio is defined as a shot of espresso (25 – 35 ml) prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee. Since the coffee is brewed so intensely, it only takes 20-30 seconds to get it right. There are many factors that go into good espresso besides the coffee. The machine, the grinder and the barista are the main contributors to perfection.

Some believe espresso beans come from a special “espresso” coffee plant, but this is untrue. The coffees used, in general, for espressos are regular coffee beans. Some single origins don’t make great stand-alone espresso, but when they are blended with others to bring out nuances, you can find success. Our most popular espresso blends are our Midnight Lotus, and Milano. Don’t be mistaken, there are a few single origins finding success as espressos, including our Papua New Guinea.

Our Roastmaster, Brandon Riggs, explains what makes Papua New Guinea single origin work, “The balance of sweet and acidic makes this coffee unique. It is wet processed, which is different for Indonesian coffees and makes for a good quality shot of espresso. As with any espresso, balance is key.”

Espressos are constantly evolving, and here at Stockton Graham & Co. we know our pursuit to have great quality is never ending. Our roasters put a lot of time and energy into continuously perfecting our espresso options, and always evaluate them based on SCAA standards. To get the best out of any espresso, you should strive to brew in accordance to these regulations. Our Basic Barista Certification Program teaches you how to prepare espresso within these specifications so you can serve accurate, consistent espresso shots in any specialty coffee shop.

To succeed in the world of specialty coffee, quality espresso is important. At Stockton Graham & Co., we offer the experience and dedication to assist you in finding the espresso and espresso machines best suited to your needs. To learn more, read our espresso philosphy, browse our espresso options and call 800.835.5943 to discuss more with our Customer Care Associates.

Save instantly on Torani Real Fruit Smoothie: Strawberry Lemonade

In honor of National Lemonade Day on August 20th we are offering this great special on Torani Real Fruit Smoothie Mix – Strawberry Lemonade! Made with real, sun-ripened fruit, this mix offers a genuine fruit flavor. Just pour over ice, blend and serve for a smoothie that will have customers coming back for more!

Receive $6 off a case (6-64oz bottles). Full cases only.
Offer expires September 30, 2012.
Supplies at this promotional price are limited, so call us at 800.835.5943 today to place your order!

Strawberries and lemonade are a classic combo, and there is a reason! The sweetness of strawberries plays off the tartness of lemons in a way that thrills the taste buds. Use this frozen drink to help your customers remember summers past and as a welcome refreshment on hot days.

Exploring the Aroma of Coffee

Ed. 8: There is a point in every learning process when the student must leave the classroom and venture in to the real world. Doctors do not become doctors the moment after they have read every biology and anatomy book on the planet. There is something essential to the idea of being an expert that requires experience. Matt and I have learned quite a bit about growing regions and brewing methods for coffee, but until we begin to taste coffee, we haven’t done much more than move some beans and water around. In order to understand the way coffee tastes, we must learn how to categorize and communicate our thoughts as we experience various stimuli.

Understanding flavor and taste is much more scientific than I perceived, and I feel that a comprehension of this science opens the door for anyone to develop an acute pallet for coffee. The most fundamental idea regarding the science of taste is flavor profiling. Profiling simply breaks taste in to five main categories; aroma, acidity, body, flavor, & aftertaste. Although wine connoisseurs and gourmet chefs use a similar system for profiling, one should employ this system only in regards to coffee. Over the next few weeks, Matt and I will cover each of the main topics regarding flavor, but we will begin this week by discussing aroma.

As science has developed, aroma has revealed itself as such a large part of taste, because in a sense aroma and taste are the same thing. Taste and aroma both originate in the same way, but our bodies break down various experiences in to water soluble and non-water soluble chemicals. Water soluble chemicals are perceived as taste, while non-water soluble chemicals are perceived as smell. Spicy foods, for example, taste spicy, but because oily spices do not dissolve easily in water we perceive spice in an olfactory manner (we smell it). This of course implies that many of the things we consider to be attributes of taste are actually smells and vice versa.

With this concept in mind, we approach smell with our mouths open, literally. This is to say, when you smell coffee, wine, or any food it is important to leave your mouth ajar in order to allow air to flow over your taste buds. Have you ever noticed that you can’t taste very well when you have a cold. This phenomenon can be qualified by the fact that your olfactory nerves which are used for smelling are blocked. When these are blocked, all non-water soluble chemicals in the food or beverages you consume are unperceivable.

When smelling coffee, there are a few key points to look for. All smells can be broken down in to three major categories namely enzymatic, sugar browning, and dry distillation. Enzymatic aromas include citrus and flowery smells; i.e. lemonade or apple pie. Sugar browning aromas cover a wider array of smells which include caramel, chocolate, and nut scents. Examples of these can be found in both chocolate and vanilla ice cream as well as peanut butter. Dry distillation aromas, our third major category, include spices like pepper and combustive aromas such as a campfire or tobacco. It is quite common for coffee reviewers to write things like, “…this Central American varietal has a citrus-like acidity.” These sorts of comments are pointing out that the coffee is brighter in taste much like an orange or a lemon.

The acidity portion of this comment, however, refers to another topic completely which will be addressed in next week’s edition of, “What Do You Taste?”

Reid Jackson
Stockton Graham & Co.