Christmas & New Year’s Holiday Schedule

Stockton Graham & Co christmas new years holiday schedule
Wondering about our holiday schedule? Stockton Graham & Co. will be closed on Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 for the Christmas holiday.

Please note that most shippers, including FedEx and LTL, may NOT be moving freight from Thursday, December 24 to Saturday, December 26. To ensure that your business has enough product for the busy holiday weekend, please place your orders with our Customer Care Associates or orders@stocktongraham.com by noon on Monday, December 21. This will allow us to process your order and get it shipped to you before Christmas so you have product for the very busy holiday weekend.

If you pick up your order at our Raleigh coffee roasting facility, please place your order by 5pm on MONDAY, December 21. Please plan to pick up your order no later than 3pm on Wednesday, December 23.

PLAN AHEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS

As we move into the end-of-year holiday season including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we encourage all customers to order early and stock up, as normal shipping transit times are not guaranteed during this time of year due to tremendous increases in their overall package volume. Please also note that we are entering the season for snow and ice delays. Read our suggestions for winterizing your business here.

In addition, our roasting facilities will be closed, and we will not be processing orders on Thursday, December 31 AND Friday, January 1. That means final orders of the year will be ready for shipping or pickup by noon on Wednesday, December 30. Please plan your New Year’s orders accordingly.

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE SUMMARY
Thanksgiving CLOSED 11/26 – 11/30
LOCAL ORDERS by 11/23
SHIPPED ORDERS by 11/20
Christmas CLOSED 12/24 – 12/28
LOCAL ORDERS by 12/21
SHIPPED ORDERS by 12/21
New Year’s CLOSED 12/31 – 1/4
LOCAL ORDERS by 12/28
SHIPPED ORDERS by 12/28

To track your packages, head over to FedEx.com. All of us at Stockton Graham & Co. wish you a coffee-rific holiday season!

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. 

 

Introducing Costa Rica Tarrazu from the Don Roberto Estate

Costa Rica has set the standard for Central American coffees. Grown at high altitudes that receive much cooler overnight temperatures and in highly volcanic soil, Costa Rican coffees are known worldwide for producing an exquisite cup.

Tarrazu is the premier region of Costa Rica for coffee. While no single region can guarantee exceptional coffee year-after-year, coffees from Tarrazu consistently stand out for their brightness and clean cups, with hints of light berry and apple cider.Don Roberto Costa Rica Tarrazu Coffee

That couldn’t be truer of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Costa Rican Tarrazu, which was grown on the estate of Roberto Montero Castro, high in the mountains that are part of the Talamanca Sierra.

The Don Roberto estate is located at an elevation of 5,000 feet—an altitude that generates the trademark juicy citrus fruit flavor that characterizes the region. However, the bean from the Don Roberto estate is a bit more nuanced, with a complex sweetness that’s balanced with hints of spice. Some also taste a bit of cocoa powder and honey that can be enhanced through skillful roasting.

“With such high standards in Costa Rican coffees to start with, conscientious and frequent cupping generates rewards as we seek out the subtle nuances that makes our Tarrazu stand out among its peers,” Brandon Riggs, the roastmaster for Stockton Graham Coffees, explained.

ROASTMASTER’S NOTES

AROMA: Sweet Fruit and Vanilla, Hints of Spice
BODY: Cream, Silky
FLAVOR: Citrus Fruit, Sweet and Juicy
ACIDITY: Clean, Bright
AFTERTASTE: Lingering Balance of Sweet and Spice Notes

A Versatile and Reliable Coffee

“Our Costa Rica Tarrazu is a wonderful coffee that, if brewed properly, is a great fit for any occasion,” said Alex Jeans, a Customer Care Associate and SCAA-Certified Barista. “In fact, due to its complex and nuanced flavor, it is one of our top selling single origin coffees.”

Whether brewing Costa Rica Tarrazu with a commercial drip, French Press or Aero Press, the coffee’s clarity rings through. Just be sure to use the right ratio of coffee to water—roughly 1:16 or 1 gram of coffee per 16 milliliters/grams of water or in other words 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water—and the appropriate grind for your brew method. See our Brewing and Grinding Guide for specific measurements and grinds for your particular brew method.

“I personally enjoy it best when brewed through a V60, a method that  is optimal for bringing out the coffees nuances,” Alex Jeans said. “The V60 is the best way to achieve this coffees smooth creamy body and highlights the flavors of citrus fruit and spice. Such a well-rounded coffee is made to be enjoyed morning, noon and night.”

Growth of Tarrazu Region Coffee

The Tarrazu region is in the center of San Jose province, about 70 kilometers south of the Capital San Jose. The region’s unique location across the continental divide brings warm sunny days and chilly nights to numerous coffee farms across the mountainside. Paired with elevations pushing 2,000 meters above sea level, many of these farms have microclimates ideal for coffee growing.

Along the region’s northern border runs the Pirris River, which is dammed to create the very large Pirris Hydroelectric Plant. South of the river, the region is lush with dark foliage and mountains that yield crystal clear waterfalls into the Talamanca valley. Tarrazu’s capital, San Marcos, is located 1,400 meters above sea level, but is surrounded by peaks up to 3,000 meters.

Tarrazu was founded in the 1820s by inhabitants of the Central Valley who migrated to the southwestern town known today as Los Santos. Originally it was known both as Atarazú or Atarrazú, which led the current Tarrazú for phonetic aspect or a misspelled in ancient official documents spelling. In America, we simplify the name further by removing the accent on the final u. Tarrazu’s three provinces are named after saints: San Pablo de León Cortés (Saint Paul), San Marcos de Tarrazú (Saint Mark), and Santa Maria de Dota.

Tarrazu’s earliest residents were dedicated to growing basic foodstuffs, namely beans, corn and sugar cane. Local farmers started growing coffee in the highland valley in the 1890s. In the last hundred years, coffee production has become the region’s primary economic activity, and avocados are now the region’s second largest food crop.

The Art of Processing

Among all the coffee-growing countries of Central America, none compares to Costa Rica in terms of environmental and processing regulations. Beneficios (mills) are kept immaculately clean per the country’s standard, and every beneficio is obliged by law to respect a series of operating conditions to protect the environment.
These conditions are regulated by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment: the Coffee Sector must meet the 7 laws and 4 decrees that protect water, forests, biodiversity and disposal of residual waters. All mills must have a Ministry of Health permit, residual water treatment systems and control of their byproducts.Don Roberto Tarrazu Coffee Logo

With strict Costa Rican environmental laws, wastewater from the fermentation tanks is treated with natural bacteria to break down the acidity reducing the pH back to levels that are tolerable for the streams and rivers of the country. By using the wood from pruned old coffee trees, along with the parchment from dry milling, many beneficios are able to fire their mechanical dryers without destroying the natural forests. Some of the more inventive mills actually use the methane gasses produced when the bacteria breaks down the fermented pulp to fire the dryers. And, of course, sun-dried coffees are really just “solar” powered, further preserving the environment around the Pirris Hydroelectric plant.

To order our Costa Rica Tarrazu, call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943.

March Coffee College – What to Expect

SGC-COFFEE-collegeOn Friday, March 20th, Stockton Graham & Co. will be holding our monthly Coffee College training. Registration is happening now!

Coffee College is becoming even more popular in 2015, as our customers and their employees look to improve productivity, sales and customer satisfaction.  Registrations for February’s Coffee College are brisk, and it could be sold out this week!

Coffee College is a collection of training sessions we offer customers and their employees. It covers a variety of coffee topics from bean selection to brewing fundamentals to cupping and equipment maintenance. In the most popular class, Coffee and Espresso Basics (also known as Coffee College 101), attendees not only get a first-hand look into roasting coffee, they learn the journey of the bean from seed to cup. Attendees will learn to cup coffees, as well as, how to be able to identify the characteristics and nuances of the coffee. The more you know about the coffees you serve, the better you can apply the knowledge to what and how you serve your customers.

Attending Coffee College at Stockton Graham can carry more benefits than just increasing your knowledge of coffee preparation. A well educated staff can lead to more consistent and higher quality drinks, an increase in customer satisfaction and returning patrons.

One of the main concerns in cafes is having each barista perform and create menu items consistently and proficiently. We offer courses that can help shop owners be relieved of these worries, and reap the benefits of pleased customers that knowing they will always get the perfect drink!

Stockton Graham believes in a well-trained staff. Employees can make or break a business, particularly in the coffee world where the baristas are making the final product. Keep your baristas happy and educated with good training, and you are sure to see more repeat and loyal customers

“All of our associates trained in Coffee College and Basic Barista Certification, from upper management to shipping and receiving. We feel our team members are strongest totally immersed in the culture of specialty coffee. We have invested in staff training and that is why we have been successful,” explains Jeff Vojta, President and co-founder of Stockton Graham & Co.

Been in the Coffee industry for years? Our Coffee College Instructors can assist you, and your staff in sparking a newfound passion for coffee that you can take back your shop! Everyone needs a refresher now and then, or the opportunity to learn something completely new like: Specialty Beverage construction or how to create your own blends.

Coffee College courses include: Coffee & Espresso Basics, Brewing Fundamentals, Cupping for Coffee Shop Owners, Cafe Equipment Cleaning & MaintenanceExploring BlendsSpecialty Beverage Basics and Basic Barista Certification. These courses cover key areas of your coffee & specialty beverage program with hands-on lessons. Coffee College will help you support your great drinks with the know-how to set you apart from your competition!

Most importantly your Coffee College session is based on your needs. Our staff is willing to give you the information your need to help your shop flourish for years to come. To learn more about Coffee College and other certification classes, click here or call 1-800-835-5943 today to register!

The Stockton Graham & Co. Story: 20 Years and Counting

The year was 1994… back then, cell phones were bigger, gas was cheaper, and Classic Coffees had just opened its doors for business. The quaint little shop off of Six Forks Road in Raleigh, NC was founded by two friends looking to own their own business. Little did they know, twenty years later the small business would still be an adventure never anticipated.

stockton graham & co. turns 20

It all started with a bag of beans. While working as an accountant, Jeff Vojta, co-founder and CEO of Stockton Graham & Co., received a bag of gourmet coffee as a gift. After sipping a cup of the gourmet brew, Jeff was astonished to find that the coffee actually tasted good, better than he ever thought coffee could taste! So when he and a friend started talk of going into business together, they decided to go into the business of coffee. The pair chose to open their own coffee shop, not only because of the profitability of coffee, but because coffee is something that people are passionate about. They felt that coffee brings people together, not only in cafés, but as a globally traded commodity. Jeff has said, “Coffee is a unifying force, bringing people of all cultures and backgrounds together to do business and create something special.”

stockton graham & co. turns 20

 

In May 1994, Classic Coffees was a 744 sq. ft. store that featured local artists’ work, gourmet desserts, and of course, specialty coffee. The dream was to become a national retail store. After asking customers, friends and family what they liked and disliked about coffee, the business partners realized the market demanded craft-roasted, specialty offerings. In 1996, the founders opted to expand the original store to nearly 2,000 sq. ft. to include a 12 kilo Petroncini roaster. Jeff roasted the first batch and learned by trial-and-error what worked and what didn’t. He even remembers setting the cooling tray on fire! They eventually got the hang of roasting after going to lots of trade shows, trading knowledge with other roasters and experimenting in their shop.

During the next several years, the company expanded into four retail locations operating in Raleigh and landed wholesale accounts throughout North Carolina and Virginia. They began selling their coffee to other coffeehouses, gourmet specialty stores, fine dining and other establishments wanting to serve craft-roasted coffee. Due to the high demand of wholesale coffee, Classic Coffees Roasting Company was created as a wholesale roaster and distributor.

While running their growing business, the partners had to find the right products to satisfy their café customers’ demands. The specialty beverage industry was growing, and customers wanted unique, tasty drinks. Jeff remembers, “This was back before Starbucks had frappes. It was summer time, and we were wondering where all our customers had gone.” They realized they needed cool and refreshing beverages to drive traffic during the warmer months, so they started offering blended beverages and iced drinks. As they diversified the products they offered, they ran into a new challenge: tracking down the right product mix. Twenty years ago, securing product included a lot of time on the phone with multiple vendors and a lot of hassle. The entrepreneurs had to jump through hoop after hoop to make sure they had the quality product they wanted for their business. They started buying products in bulk and would sell what they didn’t use to other stores in the area that wanted the same high quality products.SGC

Thus, the wholesale business was born. By mid 1999, the four “Classic Coffees” retail locations were sold to focus shifted to the the growing wholesale coffee and specialty beverage product business. In 2001, the name of the company was changed to Stockton Graham & Co and the company settled in at the 4320 Delta Lake Drive address in Raleigh.

Today, the company owns the entire building and the roaster is a bit bigger. They upgraded to include 30 and 60 kilo Ambex roasters to provide artisan roasted coffees to customers across the United States. Stockton Graham & Co. has also assembled a team with over 100 years combined experience in the coffee industry that offers business advice in addition to providing high-quality coffee and beverage products.

photo 33While the company has grown in size and capabilities, the core values and vision remain focused on offering customers the highest quality specialty coffees, knowledge and tools. This enables our customers to offer superior hand-crafted espresso and specialty, made-to-order drinks. Stockton Graham & Co. prides itself on blending the art of coffee roasting and drink preparation with the business of coffee including: consultation, equipment, advice and specialty products to help build superior and successful coffee businesses.

Jeff’s “Keys to Success” After Twenty Years in the Business of Coffee:

  • Listen to your customer.
  • Surround yourself with a good team.
  • Treat your staff and customers fairly, and work with people with the same goal.
  • Stick to your values and quality of product.
  • Business is about people. Keep them at the heart of your decisions.