Discover the Long History and Unique Flavors of Sumatra Coffee

Sumatra Coffee map

The source of our Organic Sumatra coffee.

Most of us are familiar with Sumatra coffee today but it wasn’t until the late 17th century that the 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 near Batavia (now Jakarta) and several other locations. Some of the plants took hold and 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 taken over by the occupying Japanese. Even after Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, several plantations throughout the country were abandoned or taken over by the new government when original colonial plantation owners left the country.

Near the end of the 19th century, a leaf rust disease epidemic hit coffee plants in Indonesia.  Many plantations were wiped out, leaving farmers to turn to other crops such as rubber trees and tea. The Dutch Government responded by importing and planting Liberica coffee, however this strain of coffee plants was also soon affected by leaf rust. They next turned to Robusta coffee, hoping it would be more resistant to the disease. It proved successful and today Robusta makes up over 75% of Indonesia’s coffee exports, much of it from the southern end of Sumatra.

Sumatra coffee

The source of our Karo Highlands Sumatra Coffee

Coffees from Sumatra, the western-most island in Indonesia, have a distinctive bluish color at the green bean stage 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 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 northern Sumatra, which makes it a very desirable and often hard-to-find coffee.

We have tried numerous samples of Sumatra coffee and are excited to offer the ones we feel best represent the island. Try our Karo Highlands, Tunas Indah Organic or even our Sumatra Decaf and discover their unique flavors.

Nicaragua Selva Negra. Truly. Sustainable.

Nicaragua Selva Negra Coffee From Stockton GrahamWhen you step off the bus onto the Nicaragua Selva Negra coffee estate, you’ve reached an amazing place.

Lush rainforest landscapes are vibrant with mums, gladioli, lilies, baby breath, daisies and roses. Cows, goats, turkey, quail and chicken roam through grassy pastures. These are the creatures that Selva Negra’s 300+ year-round workers tend, cultivating them for meat, milk, cream and eggs for the estate’s restaurant and in the workers’ kitchens. Farm-generated methane and hydro-electric power from ponds fuel lights, stoves and classrooms.

“Our goal is to be self-sufficient in everything,” Eddy Kühl, who owns and oversees the estate along with his wife Mausi, told me. “We produce green coffee for export, roasted coffee, milk, cheese, hams, vegetables, poultry and eggs. We produce methane gas for cooking and have solar heaters. Our bottleneck was the expensive, national energy power, but recently we finished building our own hydroelectric power turbine, and we are looking forward to a wind-powered energy system.”

Selva Negra Coffee Community Foundation Stockton GrahamA leader in sustainable farming since 1975, the Selva Negra Estate is recognized for producing exceptional Rainforest Alliance coffee and for its work to spread sustainable farming practices around the world through its not-for-profit Selva Negra Community Foundation. The foundation, headed by Mausi Kühl, has been working with farmers in Nicaragua to reclaim land laid to waste by toxic pesticides, deforestation and unsustainable farming practices. To date, the Selva Negra Community Foundation has made a significant impact by providing free education, resources and on-site training. Visit selvanegracommunity.org to learn more.

Stockton Graham & Co. began working with the Selva Negra community several years ago. In 2013, our roasting team spent some time on the estate, where they explored organic farming, the estate’s milling process and the vast social, medical, educational, professional and cultural services Selva Negra provides estate workers and their families. During that visit, we provided estate management with insight on the US coffee market and consumer preferences, as well as donated computers, school books and more.

As we set our sights on Earth Day 2016, which is on Friday April 22, we’re appreciating truly sustainable coffees like our Nicaragua Selva Negra. “This is truly the most sustainable coffee farm I have ever visited,” said Brandon Riggs, roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffee. “The Kühl’s commitment to the land, their coffee, and their people is inspiring and serves as an excellent example of what coffee culture can be – both at origin and for the end consumer.”

Sustainability in Coffee Stockton Graham Nicaragua Selva Negra is Sustainable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truly sustainable coffee

Rainforest Alliance CoffeeIt is grown using time-tested pesticide-free native Nicaraguan growing methods and boasts a Rainforest Alliance certification. Because the coffee is shade grown in the Matagalpa highlands, it is also bird friendly although it does not carry the official certification. However, it has been recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association for its sustainability practices, has received a Q Auction rating and the Rainforest Alliance Cupping for Quality Award.

Nicaragua Selva Negra Stockton Graham Coffee RoastersStockton Graham & Co. directly imports the coffee through Atlanta-based JavaVino. This small, independent business is run by Eddy and Mausi’s daughter, Heddy, her husband Steve and two sons. As the name suggests, JavaVino specializes in coffee and wine; but it also runs a café that serves breakfast, sandwiches and desserts, as well as event space for meetings, weddings and parties.

The care that everyone puts into growing, processing and importing Nicaragua Selva Negra Estate Coffee shines in the taste. Right from the start, brewed coffee emits the mouth-watering aroma of honey and caramel. Drinking the coffee is just as pleasurable. The cup’s creamy body is the perfect foundation for its milk chocolate flavors. As the coffee cools in the cup, you’ll begin to taste the depth of flavors from toasted caramel to sweet berry undertones.

Cupping Attributes: Nicaragua Selva Negra

Aroma: Honey, caramel
Body: Medium, creamy
Flavor: Sweet, chocolate, toasty
Acidity: Mildly bright, balanced
Aftertaste: Pleasant, sweet, smooth

Grounds for Health Blend Stockton Graham & CoThis fine example of Nicaraguan coffee is also featured in our Grounds for Health Blend, which raises money for vital healthcare for women who work on coffee farms in Nicaragua, Peru and Ethiopia. Created in partnership with Grounds For Health, money raised from sale of the blend will provide cervical cancer screening and treatment to 15,000 women worldwide.

Download the one-pager on Nicaragua Selva Negra.

To order Nicaragua Selva Negra or Grounds for Health Blend, please call 800 835 5943.

Clean Labeling & Your Coffee Shop Menu

Natural and organic foods have been touted for over two decades, but 2016 is bringing in a natural food sea change of epic proportions. The shift is toward clean labeling, which translates into food and beverages that are less processed and more nutrient-rich. And importantly, clean labeling means offerings that are void of extra salts, sugars, colors, flavors, hormones, antibiotics or any other additives.Clean menu clean labeling coffee shop stockton graham organic coffee roaster

In fact, clean labeling as it is called has become so important that it is transforming big manufacturers like Mondelez, Kellogg and Heinz Kraft. And FoodBusinessNews named clean labeling the #1 menu trend of the year.

“Big Restaurants are all-of-a-sudden dumping some artificial (and other bad-for-you) ingredients from their menus,” reported international food and restaurant consultants Baum+Whiteman. “We’re looking at the ‘healthification’ of fast- and fast-casual food.”

Food industry observers are quick to say that the clean labeling trend is not a fad, but rather a long-lasting shift in consumer attitudes away from highly processed foods, especially among the coveted baby boomer generation. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 76% of baby boomers look to clean label or unprocessed products due to concern about their health while 69% of Millennials also site health concerns as the reason they would buy clean products.Smoothies, Stockton Graham & Co., Breakfast

Now’s the time for coffee businesses to get in front of one of the biggest food trends that can impact your business in 2016 and beyond. Here are some ideas from Stockton Graham & Co. to help you lean into the clean label trend.

  1. Assess your customer base
    If your store is on a college campus, in a college town or near a university, in a high-tech corridor or near an active adult retirement community, chances are your customers will gravitate toward clean labels. If in doubt, do an informal survey of your regular customers. One approach, “We’re thinking about adding a small menu that focuses on clean ingredients – that means we’ll look at beverages without added salts, sugars, flavors and the like. Is this something you’re interested in buying from us?”
  2. Know that “clean means clean”
    Replacing “artificial” additives with “natural” additives means you are still using additives: “natural raspberry flavor” shares no genes with real raspberries and customers know it. If you’re committed to a clean menu then look for products that are 100% fruit or ones that contain no added flavoring or preservatives. Click here for simple Green Menu recipes for your coffee shop.
  3. Start with your coffee
    Adding organic coffee to your menu is a simple, inexpensive way to lean into the clean menu trend. Plus, its a simple way to gauge your customers’ affinity for clean labeling. Raleigh coffee roaster Stockton Graham & Co. offers several organic single origins like Organic Fair Trade Guatemala, Organic Mexico Chiapas and Organic Sumatra. We also offer roast-to-order organic blends and espressos.
  4. Buy local
    Let’s face it, in foodservice avoiding all additives can be nearly impossible. And until you see how your customers will react, there’s no need to completely switch your menu over to 100% clean. You can take small steps across the board by implement more natural ingredients, like pesticide-free organic produce or foods with no added chemicals or hormones. One trick is to look for local suppliers of milk, cheese, butter, meats, vegetable and breads: when you buy local, foods get to your business faster so there is less need for preservatives or chemicals to maintain freshness on long cross-country journeys.
  5. Add USDA-certified OrganicMonin Organic Vanilla Syrup
    According to Food Navigator, 81% of American families purchase organic foods at least some of the time, and this is a good place to start. Plus, the price differentials between USDA-certified coffee, milk, soy milk, syrups and sauces and non-certified products are now fairly minimal. In addition to offering several USDA-certified single origin coffees, espressos and blends, Stockton Graham & Co. carries a wide variety of USDA-certified Organic and clean labeled products for your store.

If you’d like to discuss options for your menu, feel free to call us at 800 835 5943.