Introducing Costa Rica Romelia from the Palmichal Region

When spring rolls into town, our roasting team turns their attention to the new crops of Costa Rica coffee so that we can begin offering them to customers in July. This year, as usual, we cupped several offerings from the historic coffee region of Tarrazú and its surrounding farms.Costa Rica Coffee

We began by cupping the Tarrazú from the Don Roberto estate, which we featured last year, with a few others from the region. The winner in terms of flavor was a coffee from a producer just outside Tarrazú proper and bordering the Palmichal rainforest: Romelia.

The coffee from Romelia performed so well that it has become our go-to Costa Rica coffee for 2016. Today, the Romelia is a popular bean at our Raleigh, NC coffee roasting facilities.

“The coffee from Don Roberto and Romelia are very similar, as to be expected, because the coffee varietals and growing conditions around Palmichal and the Santa Ana and Escazú mountains are very similar,” said Brad Kirby, Director of Coffee for Stockton Graham & Co. and Dilworth Coffee.

“As we discussed the coffee around the cupping table, we were drawn more to the Romelia beans because they produced a bit more of an interesting sweet, orange aroma and flavor,” Brad said.

Costa Rica Coffee“When you first brew the Romelia coffee, you notice the aroma of sweet orange zest and honey,” Brad said. “These are two delicate notes that define the coffee in terms of fragrance, flavor and aftertaste. We roast the Romelia coffee a bit lighter to preserve these delicate notes.”

Like most Costa Rica coffees, the Romelia is washed and drum dried. That’s because high humidity in Costa Rica prevents patio drying. This processing method creates a vibrant, yet well-rounded cup.

History of Romelia Coffee from Palmichal

Romelia is named after the sister of one of the first families to plant coffee in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica. That family was the decendents of the beneficiaries of the first land concession granted to José Miguel Cascante Rojas in 1826 just after Costa Rica gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1821 and Mexican rule in 1823.

The land was granted by Costa Rica’s first elected Chief of State, Juan Mora Fernandez, who is considered the grandfather of Tarrazú coffee by giving free land grants to farmers that knew how to grow Costa Rica coffee.Costa Rica Coffee

Amid decades of power struggles amongst Costa Rica’s coffee elite, Don José and his son Don Manuel Rojas Arias built a formidable coffee business in the Palmichal region on the western slopes of the Escazú Mountains. In addition to the coffee farm, Don Manuel founded Beneficio Palmichal, a processing coffee processing plant that allowed him to control the quality of his coffee from seed to roast.

Many farmers observed the success Don Manuel had with coffee and followed his lead in converting their sugar plantations into coffee plantations. When Don Manuel passed away in the mid 1900s, he left his farms to his only sister, Romelia, who worked tirelessly to sustain the quality of her family’s coffee.

Doña Romelia had no children to inherit the farm and so she sold it to coffee visionary Don Roberto Montero Castro. As a result, today’s Don Roberto Tarrazú and Romelia from Palmichal are twin branches in the rich history of Costa Rica coffee.

To order our Costa Rica coffee, please call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com

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.