Espresso Options: Single Origins & Blends

Basic Barista Certification espresso options from stockton grahamEspresso, the product of a preparation process that evolved in Italy over the first half of the 20th century, has experienced tremendous change over the past 100 or so years: from the dark, almost burnt taste of the original espresso, to the lighter touch of café crema in the 1950s and back around to dark, smoky Ye Olde World Italian style made popular in the 1990s.

As a result, it’s not unusual to find many different opinions on espresso and espresso options. You’ll find, for instance, that those who were introduced to it in the 1990s prefer espressos that are dark, deep and bold similar to the traditional Italian style beverage. While today’s younger, mostly urban consumers include brighter single origins with cleaner bodies among their favorites.

What’s Espresso Anyway?

Stockton Graham & Co.’s customers know that espresso is not a type of bean or a roast level, but rather a method of preparing coffee. In essence, espresso is created by forcing hot water under extreme pressure through ground coffee to extract the heart of the coffee’s flavor. To help develop standards, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) defines the beverage as “a 25-35 millilitre beverage prepared from 7-9 grams of coffee through which clean water heated to 195-205 degrees is passed through for 20-30 seconds.”

With that said, virtually any roasted coffee can be prepared as an espresso; although certain varietals, blends and roast levels achieve better results. And the coffee you use as your house espresso will depend to a great extent on your brand, your store concept and your customers’ tastes.

Stockton Graham Coffees Espresso optionsHere at Stockton Graham & Co., we understand that up to 40% of the profits you make at your store will come from milk-based espresso options like lattes, cappuccinos and frappes. And after roasting coffee for over 20 years, we know that no two business owners are alike in their espresso preferences. While some prefer the sweet, bright notes of a Latin America coffee others gravitate to rich, thick-bodied blends of Indonesian varietals.

What’s more, if your store tends to sell more milk-based espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll want to consider a coffee that is designed to maintain its flavor in large amounts of milk. However, if your customers tend to prefer single shots, then we would recommend a different coffee for your house espresso.

And, of course, if your store is organic, you’ll also want a coffee that is organic certified like our Organic Fair Trade Guatemala San Juan Utapa, our Organic Mexico Chiapas or our Organic Sumatra Mandheling Triple Picked.

That’s why we offer a broad range of espresso options from sustainable single origins to custom blends. Here are just a few of our more popular offerings:

Single-Origin Espresso

Papua New Guinea: This single origin espresso presents upfront flavors of dried plums and apricots, balanced by a syrupy body with a sweet and tangy finish. Papua New Guinea or PNG, as we call it, can be quite versatile allowing for a variety uses.  At a shorter volume this makes for a distinct fruit forward espresso shot, while longer pulls balance the fruity nature with a milk chocolate sweetness to complement in-house cappuccinos and lattes. We recommend you use 18-21 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2 ounce extracted shot.

Seda Dulce: A single origin espresso option that utilizes two roast levels of the same Brazilian varietal. Created with the straight shot aficionado in mind, this espresso produces a quick burst of honeyed acidity followed by layers of sweet milk chocolate that give way to a buttery smooth finish. We recommend that you use 18 grams of coffee for each 1 – 1.5 ounce extracted shot.

Espresso Blends

Midnight Lotus: Our flagship espresso. Proven to complement a wide variety of milk based drinks while pleasing even the most discerning straight shot fanatics. This blend balances dried cocoa and fruity tanginess with a creamy body that has been the foundation of many a successful coffee bar. Its versatility is unmatched. We recommend 17 – 19 grams of coffee for each 1.5 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Milano Blend: This is our take on the classic Italian style of espresso. Bittersweet gourmet chocolate finishes with hints of smoke and cedar. It is a smooth and complex blend with plenty of flavor to cut through even the largest to-go milk beverages. We recommend 18 grams of coffee for each 2 – 2.5 ounce extracted shot.

Organic San Remo Blend: An organic option that features ample crema loaded with caramel sweetness and rich dark chocolate flavors are balanced against a creamy smooth body. This coffee performs well in all sizes of milk-based drinks, as well as alone in a demitasse. Tasters comment that this espresso’s sweet and rich flavors linger with layers of sweetness long after the last sip. We recommend 17 grams of coffee for each 1.75 – 2.25 ounce extracted shot.

Your Own Blend

Our roastmaster Brandon Riggs and our sales representatives spend a great deal of time with new and current customers alike to understand your taste preferences and business needs so we can recommend espresso options that best suit your needs.

Cappuccino Latte Art espresso optionsFor most customers, one or two of our coffees will fit the bill. But there are times when a one-of-a-kind house espresso is more appropriate, and we work with customers to meet those unique needs. This often involves several meetings at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facility where you can taste multiple coffees prepared using various methods. We also travel to your business location to learn more about your equipment, level of barista training and customer base. This gives us the insight we need to create the best custom espresso option for you.

Of course, when our roastmaster develops a new espresso, he evaluates taste and flavor in accordance with standards developed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), The World Barista Championship (WBC) and The United States Barista Championship (USBC). These standards focus primarily on roast level, brewing procedure and flavor profile; for best results, we strongly encourage our customers to employ these methods of evaluation and brewing in your own store.

To discuss your store’s espresso options, call a Stockton Graham & Co. sales representative at 800 835 5943.




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.

The BEST Espresso & Chocolate Smoothie Recipe Using Caffe D’Amore

Get ready for summer with this treat that’s better than anything you can get in the chains!

Yield 1 – 16  oz. smoothie

2 scoops of Caffe D’Amore Vanilla Freeze
5 fl. oz. whole milk (we used Pacific Soymilk internally)
2 shots of SGC’s Midnight Lotus Espresso
1 oz. Monin chocolate sauce
16 oz. ice
1 whole banana, peeled

Pour ingredients into your Vitamix blender container. Blend 30 seconds, or until smooth. Garnish with whipped cream and Monin chocolate sauce drizzle.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.


Perfect featured flavor for February & Valentine’s Day

Torani’s new LIMITED-TIME-ONLY flavor is Cinnamon Vanilla. If your customers love SGC’s Snicker-Dandy flavored coffee, this syrup will be a tremendous hit in your cafe when added to lattes, steamers and more! Torani Cinnamon Vanilla balances sweet bakery cinnamon with creamy vanilla in a taste reminiscent of freshly-baked snickerdoodle cookies.

Torani also has some really attractive point-of-sale material to help sell this beverage (and others) as a part of their Winter & Spring marketing kit. If you aren’t already registered to receive these directly from the manufacturer, head over to & sign-up. This piece, which include recipes, promotional materials, latte art stencils, etc., is totally free of charge.

Sugar & Spice Mocha

1 oz. Torani Chocolate sauce
1/2 oz. Torani Cinnamon Vanilla syrup
8 oz. milk
2 shots Midnight Lotus Espresso

Add espresso to syrup & sauce in 16 oz. cup. Add steamed milk.
Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Serve.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.


Don't lose customers to New Year's Resolutions

January = New Year’s Resolutions. The gyms are packed and your cafe can be too. Here’s a recipe for the customers who are currently watching their waistlines:

Skinny Snowman Latte (16 oz. serving)

1 oz. Monin Sugar Free White Chocolate syrup
3/4 oz. Monin Sugar Free Almond syrup
2 shots Espresso Midnight Lotus
skim milk

Combine syrup & espresso in a 16 oz. cup. Stir ingredients while adding steamed milk. Garnish with slivered almonds and serve.

Custom point-of-sale materials are available for this recipe and others through Stockton Graham and Monin. Call 800-835-5943 to add this to your next order.