Can Pour-Over Coffee Really Make a Difference?

Can pour-over coffee really make a difference in a coffee shop setting? Obviously the pour-over is trending as a way to truly experience the most subtle attributes of the coffee, but what does this do to the workflow of a shop? If a shop already has an espresso machine, an automatic drip machine, pastries and smoothies, might this only complicate things?

“I am pro pour-over,” said Alex Jeans, the resident barista at Stockton Graham & Co. “Coffee is just as culinary as anything else and pour-overs showcase the finer attributes of the coffee.” In addition to consulting with coffee shops on pour over programs he works with wholesale coffee accounts out of our Raleigh, N.C. coffee roasting facility.

There are many compelling reasons to turn towards the handcrafted pour-over coffee method if you are a coffee shop owner. Let’s take a look at four reasons why it is advantageous.

pour-over coffee1. Coffee is an experience, and even more of an experience when done by the handcrafted method of pour-over. No other method of brewing coffee has the potential to extract better flavor if done well. This is perhaps the signature mark of pour-over coffee. In fact, this is what pour-over coffee is all about – enjoying the full experience of quality, single origin coffee. The pour-over method enhances the tasting profile of the coffee you want to feature like no other method will. You and your customers may have to wait a little longer, but it’s guaranteed to be fresh since it will be ground and brewed to order.

2. Serving handcrafted pour-over coffee in your coffee shop will make you industry savvy. The third wave movement of coffee, which treats coffee like a fine wine or craft beer, embraces this manual way of making coffee. It has also made quite the comeback because of coffee aficionados. With the handcrafted pour-over method, making coffee becomes an exact science and an opportunity for your staff to shine. Not only will they be able to explain the process of the pour-over as they make it, they will also be able to teach the customer the steps involved, the equipment needed and knowledge about the coffee.

3. During the window of time it takes to make a pour-over coffee, your barista can suggest the customer to try the pour-over method at home. This is a great marketing opportunity to sell high-ticket items in a generally low-ticket item establishment. Selling whole beans is a desired sale in a coffee shop where your average ticket might be four dollars. Serving pour-overs will increase your opportunity to sell not only whole beans, but having the equipment for sale in your coffee shop could also work to your advantage, bolstering your bottom line with expensive tickets items.

pour-over coffee4. Hand crafted pour-over coffee is the freshest way to serve coffee taking approximately five minutes start to finish.

Manual, single-cup brewing equals greater control over flavor outcome. For coffee flavor connoisseurs, the primary advantage of the pour-over method is that it gives the barista more control over every variable. From dose to coffee grind to water temperature and distribution, nothing can top brewing coffee by hand, one cup at a time.

This is a significant difference when compared to the automatic drip machine where coffee might sit for up to two hours before serving. Automatic coffee is generally pre-ground, which certainly saves time, but results in a less flavorful brew. After a short 20 minutes, ground coffee will lose flavor, and after two weeks, it begins to go stale. Customers will naturally be enthusiastic about freshness and they can taste the difference of the pour-over method.

As a coffee shop owner, you know your customers best and will have to decide if it makes sense. Will they be willing to wait? Will they be willing to pay the premium price it may cost for the labor intensity of the made to order cup? Certainly there will be logistics to consider when choosing to do handcrafted pour-over coffee, but ultimately, the choice is yours.

“I don’t know that it makes sense for everyone,” Jeans said when referring to having pour-overs in a coffee shop. “It shouldn’t be an afterthought. It is a commitment and you have to be willing to commit. Not everyone wants to put that kind of time or labor into it. It has to make sense for you and you have to be willing to invest in it.”

For more information on implementing a pour-over method in your coffee shop, contact a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.

Build Your Business: Go Green This Spring!

Green-cupOne of the perks of spring is spending more time outdoors. To say “Thanks” to Mother Nature, do the responsible thing and make an effort for your shop to be a little greener. Nowadays, an ecofriendly lifestyle can be found almost anywhere, even in your coffee shop. “Green cafes” are increasing in popularity all over the country, and it is a great way to attract customers by showing them that you are making an effort to help make the environment better for everyone.

For those who like the idea of going green but, think it will require a lot of extra time, effort and money, think again. Going green is not only beneficial to the environment, it can be done at little to no cost or extra effort to you. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep both the environment and your wallet green.

Offer Stockton Graham Coffees
Several of Stockton Graham & Co.’s coffees are roast-to-order sustainable coffees. Sustainable coffees are certified or verified by an accredited third party as organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance, shade grown and more. Our sustainable single-origin selection is a great way to start exploring green coffees to add to your menu. We also offer blends that meet sustainable certifications as well, including a great organic espresso blend: Organic San Remo. To learn more about Stockton Graham & Co.’s sustainable coffees or inquire about samples, call your Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943 today!

Switch to Paperless Invoices
Stockton Graham & Co. has been offering paperless invoicing for several years now, and it is a great way to cut down on paper use. We can send you a digital copy of your invoice, at your preferred email, with one click of the mouse. If you are not already signed up to receive your invoices via email, be sure to ask your Customer Care Representative the next time you place your order. They will be happy to update your information, and help you reduce your paper usage!

Keep your Equipment Clean
It may not be in your budget to purchase new high-efficiency appliances, but there’s no reason you can’t make sure the appliances you have are operating at peak performance. Keeping your grinders, blenders, brewers & etc. clean is not only safer, but it will allow your equipment to run much more efficiently. This also helps secure the longevity of your equipment, and to cut down on your power bill each month.

Reuse your Coffee Grounds
As a coffee shop owner, you know how much coffee grounds are left over every day. The question is, what do you do with them? If you are just throwing them away, you can make them useful! Coffee grounds happen to be very acidic, so they make for a great fertilizer for acid-loving plants. If you have plants such as roses or azaleas in or outside of your shop, coffee grounds will help your plants look better than ever! Let your customers know about these gardening benefits and see if they wish to pick up grounds from your shop. You can also use the bulk bags that your coffee comes in, as means to give grounds away to gardening customers. Coffee grounds in your garden are also an organic way to deter some types of plant-eating bugs.

Offer Recycling
With the amount of plastic and paper that you and your customers go through, make sure there are designated recycling bins in your shop. If you only have trashcans, you haven’t allowed your customers an opportunity to separate their trash from recyclables. Setting up recycling is extremely easy, and one of the most recognizable ways to show your customers that you’re doing your part for the environment. Make sure your recycling bins are clearly labeled so customers know exactly where to place their recyclables.

Have Discounts for Reusable Mugs or Tumblers
To cut back on to-go cup trash, encourage your customers to bring in their own to-go mugs for filling with your coffee. Offer discounts on beverages for customers who re-use. This not only cuts down on your cup costs and water usage, it also helps reduce paper cups making their way into a landfill. Go further, and offer tumblers with your logo on them for refilling. Customers will be helping the environment and sporting your brand!

Save Electricity
Consider replacing the light bulbs in your shop with more energy efficient LED bulbs. While they may seem pricey at first, these bulbs prove to last 25 times longer. This reduces your shop’s energy usage and time spent replacing old bulbs! These bulbs also contain no mercury or lead, so they are all around better for the environment. To save more energy, look into programming the thermostat in your store to save on HVAC costs. There is no need for comfortable temperatures when the store is not occupied.

Purchase in Bulk
Buying products in bulk is a great way to reduce cost and your carbon footprint. Instead of having your delivery truck make two deliveries, save all your orders for once and reduce the carbon that is released from the trucks. Stockton Graham & Co. encourages this by offering Free Freight on large shipments. Cups, straws and other shelf stable products are great products to purchase in bulk and take advantage of this great deal.

These are just a few ways that you can make your café a little “greener”. To many people, a green business is a responsible business and those are often the establishments they choose to offer their loyalty to. With little effort and cost, you can really make an impressive change that will allow you to feel better about making a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line. We have implemented many of these practices and more at Stockton Graham & Co. to help reduce waste and our carbon footprint. Contact us at 800.835.5943 to learn more about cutting down on your normal costs, and bringing new customers in the door!

Check out our other blogs on being green:
Earth Day Promotions for Your Cafe
Energy-Efficient Espresso Equipment

Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras Promotions for your Coffee Shop!

heart2With the annual celebration of both Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, February could prove to be a very festive month for your café! The first step in getting ready for these occasions is decorating accordingly! Be sure to put up hearts and other Valentine’s décor to get people’s hearts racing from something other than your coffee drinks! For Mardi Gras, bring your shop to life with colorful decorations and even have some carnival Mardi Gras masks laying around for photo opportunities! In addition to decorating, here are some promotional ideas from our customers to run during the festivities!

Valentine’s Day – Thursday February 14, 2013
To make sure you include all of your customers in your shop promotions, aim towards just celebrating love, over Valentine’s Day. Why not show your customers some love and offer discounted specialty beverages all day! Or have a small “treat” ready to show your appreciation, for example a small chocolate for each customer or a free flavor shot.

Create a Valentine’s mailbox, every purchase gets their name and email on a “valentine” to drop in. The idea is to draw a name for a prize, maybe a bag of your retail coffee! Ask guests if you can add their email address to your coffee shop’s newsletter or internet promotions listing. Make sure to mark who says yes or no, so you are not spamming and alienating any customers.

Encourage those who have significant others to make visiting your shop part of their date night, by offering a buy-one-get-one deal on drinks. Dim the lighting to set the mood for couples dropping by after dinner. The romantic coffee shop setting is always fun after dining out!

Team up with your community to offer great Valentine’s Day promotions. Your chocolatier or bakery could assist you in creating coffee and chocolate gift baskets for Valentine’s day! Incorporate a local florist to make flower arrangements that you could display and sell, or let them display in your shop with their sign and no cost to you! Really branch out by setting up a sampling station at the flower shop for customers to taste your coffee, while picking up their flower arrangements. This way, you are getting people to sample your coffee that may have never done so otherwise.

Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday is February 12, 2013 but Mardi Gras celebrations begin weeks before.
Contact your baker and have them create a signature Mardi Gras King cake of cupcakes for your shop! Cupcakes are very on trend right now and portion sizes are easier to maintain. For a “café twist” on this classic tradition replace the baby figurine that is customarily hidden in the cake with a chocolate covered coffee bean, making all of your customers a King or Queen! Keep it classic and offer a free beverage to the customer that purchases the “good luck” cake with the baby figurine inside!

If you have the accommodations bring in a live band to entertain your customers with a Mardi Gras party! Consider operating under extended hours and offering drink specials if your café serves alcoholic beverages as well as coffee. This could be especially popular on Fat Tuesday!

Host Mardi Gras happy hour with signature drink specials from 4pm-7pm to increase some afternoon traffic! If you have a strong morning crowd, apply the “happy hour” concept from 7am-10am or whenever your busiest time is!

Perhaps bring in Stockton Graham’s Banana Foster or Pralines & Cream flavored coffee for the week as a special Mardi Gras treat. It’s something new for your customers to try, directly related to the holiday!

Holidays are a great way to connect with your customers and learn more about them. Take advantage of these two celebrations to learn more about your guests and have fun! If you would like more suggestions on coffee event planning, or have any other questions please give us a call at 800.835.5943.

Check out our other Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras themed blogs!:
Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras coffee drink recipes
Valentine’s Day Drink Ideas To Steal Your Heart!
Great Valentine’s Day Recipe: Cinnamon Twist White Mocha
Torani’s Bananas Foster Syrup Is Just In Time For Mardi Gras
Featured Seasonal Coffees for the 1st Quarter of 2012