Featured Coffee: Our New Costa Rica Tarrazú

Costa Rica TarrazuThe coffee of Costa Rica has long been considered among the best in the world. When the last crop from the country ran out and it was time to select a new one, we tried numerous samples to find one that lived up to our standards. We are excited to share our latest discovery.

“For our new coffee from Costa Rica we selected this one from La Pastora mill in the famed Tarrazú region,” say Brad Kirby, our Director of Coffee. “Clean and sweet, it has a pleasant acidity and light body, while the aroma and flavor contain notes of fine Swiss milk chocolate. We roast it to a light-medium roast to best accentuate its delicate flavors and complexities.”

Cupping Attributes:
AROMA: Cocoa, Cherry
BODY: Silky, Well-Rounded
FLAVOR: Tart Cherry, Milk Chocolate
ACIDITY: Balanced, Bright
AFTERTASTE: Refreshing, Clean

Sourcing

This coffee originates from the region of Tarrazú, which is located in the central part of Costa Rica and just to the south of San Jose, the capital city. There, coffee trees flourish in volcanic soil on slopes facing the Pacific Ocean side of the country. Coffee is grown at altitudes of 1200-1900 meters and harvested from November to March.

This coffee is grown by a number of small farmers from eight communities in Los Santos area of Tarrazú. They bring their crops to the La Pastora coop mill, which is recognized among Costa Rican producers for its coffee of exceptional quality and has been in existence for more than 50 years. With stringent quality-control measures during processing, high-quality beans are wet-processed (washed) and achieve a standard of excellence that has few equals among Central American coffees.

Heritage

The coffee industry in Costa Rica dates back to 1779, when seedlings imported from Cuba were planted in the Meseta Central region. The industry grew slowly until the 1840s, when a British sea captain sent several hundred-pound bags of coffee beans home. This led to an appreciation of Costa Rican coffee and the British developed an interest in promoting it. They invested heavily in the country’s coffee industry and the U.K. becoming the principal customer for exports until World War II. Today, the popularity of Costa Rica coffee is evident by the country’s #15 rank among coffee countries, with nearly 1.5 million 60-kilo bags exported.

For more information about carrying our Costa Rica La Pastora Tarrazú or any of the other fine offerings from our Batch 0995 line in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

Stockton Graham & Co. Memorial Day Schedule

Stockton Graham & Co. will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day. Please make plans to place your Memorial Day weekend and Monday/Tuesday orders by Thursday, May 25. All orders reMemorial Day Scheduleceived after NOON ET on Thursday, May 25 may not ship until Tuesday, May 30.

Additionally, please allow an additional transit day as FedEx will not pick up or deliver on Monday, May 29. We invite you to head over to FedEx.com to calculate the transit days to your area from our ’27612′ zip code.

FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS:  All pick-ups must be made by 3:00 pm on Friday, May 26.

Stockton Graham & Co. hope you enjoy a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Store it Properly and Say Yes to Fresh Coffee

Fresh Coffee is the Beast CoffeeHave you ever wondered how fresh coffee can go stale? It is actually a complex process that involves a fair amount of science. It all begins when heat is introduced to the green beans. Inside the roaster the sugars and amino acids in the beans combine to begin what is known as the Maillard Reaction. This is what gives browned or toasted food its distinctive flavor and it was first described in 1912 by French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard. Many types of foods, such as cookies, breads, caramel and chocolate undergo this reaction. And, of course, it is what leads to the wonderful smell, taste, and color of coffee.

During roasting, carbon dioxide also forms inside the beans. As soon as the beans are dumped into the cooling of tray of the roaster, however, the release of this gas begins. In this process, which is called degassing and can last over a week, the carbon dioxide is slowly replaced by oxygen. Though oxygen is a very good thing in many situations, it can also be one of nature’s most destructive forces. When it comes into contact with some materials, such as organic matter and some metals, oxygen alters their molecular makeup. Known as oxidation, it is a process in which oxygen actually pulls electrons away from another molecule, making it unstable. The results are things like rusting, browning or staling. So, the processes that make a bright copper penny turn dark, a cut apple become brown or–yes–coffee become stale, are all related. In coffee, oxygen reacts with the oils and solubles that give the coffee its unique taste. As time passes, flavors become less pronounced, resulting coffee that tastes flat and stale. There is no getting around this natural process but it can be slowed; if at all possible, store your fresh coffee in an airtight container to prolong its taste. It will remain fresh until your next order arrives and allow you to serve customers the best beverage possible.

To learn more about the best ways to store your coffee, call 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

Three Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Increase Sales

Three Easy (and Cheap) Ways to Increase Sales

Even if you don’t have extra cash to advertise, there are always other things you can do inside your café’s walls to make things happen for your business. In addition to old fashioned elbow grease, try these simple (and cheap) ways to increase sales.

Be there

Equate your business to a child needing a parent. It can’t grow and thrive without your steady hand to guide it. Being there behind the counter also lets you build instant relationships with regular customers. They will feel connected with you (and dedicated) in a way they would never feel in a more corporate store.

But while being there is very important, a good owner will also know when not to be there. If you need a break, take one. If you need a day off, take one. A stressed-out owner is not going to provide the incredible customer service that is needed. The staff will thank you, too. Trust them to handle things. A mental health day will go a long way in keeping the head clear and can actually benefit the business.

easy way to increase sales in your cafeBus the tables

You can learn an amazing amount while cleaning up. Getting out in the store is a great way to start conversations with customers but it can also be a way to get vital feedback. Find a couple full cups? Maybe there is a problem with the coffee or equipment you were not aware of. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to ask the customer, have the barista make the same drink especially for you and pinpoint what might be wrong.

Chatting up customers as you clean is the key. Have a guest set up a small office and not buy a single thing? Go over and make a sale. Start the dialogue: “Can I get you anything? We have a great new mocha.”

Sample, sample, sample

Want to increase sales on higher ticket drinks? Sampling is the most effective method, by far. In almost every instance, if you give away samples and make one sale from your efforts, you’ve covered the cost of the sample and possibly made an exclusive drip coffee customer an occasional $4.50 smoothie customer.

Diversifying your menu is almost always a good idea, but many times after new additions are made, owners wonder why new drinks don’t move. Chances are, the customer hasn’t been made to want the drink at all, much less know that it has been added to the menu. New products, no matter how appealing in both concept and flavor, must be sampled to prospective customers if a business expects to sell them in higher volumes.

For more information about successfully running your café, call us at 800-835-5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

A Simple Money Saving Tip: Barista Training Equals Reduced Milk Waste

Try an experiment: have your barista save all of their leftover milk during a shift (with the goal of reducing milk waste). You’ll probably be shocked at how much it is–then think about how much that milk cost you!

Coffee shops waste a lot of milk. No one should re-steam old milk, which tastes burnt, doesn’t foam right, and is just plain disgusting. Therefore, you need to use fresh milk.  The key is to manage its usage through proper training of each barista. A good one should be able to steam a perfect latte with zero waste.

Sometimes milk wastage stems from overstretching the milk, sometimes it is as simple as overfilling or using a steaming pitcher that is too large.

Says Alex Jeans, Stockton Graham & Co.’s resident barista trainer, “Always be sure to use the right pitcher for the job. Knowing which pitcher corresponds to which size drinks is always extremely helpful.”

Barista Pouring MilkTo prevent that problem, don’t let baristas use the same pitcher for a 6 oz. cappuccino that they would for a 20 oz. latte. Pouring milk and making beautiful and elaborate designs on top of coffee drinks is always an appreciated skill, but a barista should also focus on consistently stretching the right amount of milk to the exact amount needed. It makes them much more efficient as they work and no time is spent trying to figure out what to do with leftover milk.

From a training perspective, if you or your baristas are not starting and ending with the right amount of milk, it’s just not being done correctly. Training for it from the very beginning is the best. If baristas need help hitting the mark with milk, have them join you for an extra training session. Milk waste and the associated costs can definitely be greatly reduced with just a little practice!

 

Introducing Limited-Edition Kenya AA Ruera Estate

Kenya AA is the darling of specialty coffee, considered as one of the world’s finest premium cups and beloved by coffee connoisseurs worldwide. So when we brought in our new limited-edition Kenya AA Ruera Estate, we knew it would be special.Kenya AA Ruera Estate from Stockton Graham Coffees

Yet on the first tasting of our freshly roasted beans, we were ecstatic about the cup.

Our delight began with the aromatics. “To me it’s a full-on citrus aroma like when you cut into a fresh-from-the-orchard grapefruit, releasing a sweet citrus smell that permeates the entire room,” said Stockton Graham Coffees roastmaster Brandon Riggs.

Imagine that aroma spilling out from your storefront each morning and beckoning customers into your shop or enticing patrons at your restaurant to “make room” for coffee and dessert after a full meal. Great coffee like our new Ruera Estate can do wonders for your bottom line: drawing in new customers and increasing average ticket size by $2 – $3.

And wonderfully vibrant aromatics are just the beginning. The Ruera Estate boasts a full syrupy body that envelopes the tongue and carries the entire tasting experience. “The body is a platform, of sorts, to show off the coffee’s perfectly balanced flavors that meld the sweet, earthy essence of raisins and dates with the tang of tangerine and a spicy zing,” Brandon said.

Kenya AA Ruera Cupping AttributesAn Exceptional Single Estate Coffee

Stockton Graham Coffee’s Kenya AA is a single estate coffee, which makes it particularly unique and limited. Estate coffees are a specific type of single-origin coffees that are generally grown on a single farm that might range in size from a small plot to a large plantation. This lot was grown one of the oldest coffee farms in Kenya, and because all the beans come from this one farm, only a limited quantity of the Ruera Estate coffee is available every year.

The Ruera Estate is located about 24 miles from Nairobi in a town called Ruira, which is practically dedicated to growing, harvesting and milling specialty coffee. Those who visit the estate immediately surprised by its unique landscape, which is relatively flat. Although most coffee farms around the world tend to be situated on the hilly inclines of mountains, the Ruera Estate is located on a flat plateau 5000+ feet above sea level, which is an extraordinarily high elevation for Kenya.Kenya AA Ruera Map

Rainfall at this elevation is almost 35 inches per year, spread over two rainy season that results in two overlapping crops each year. And these are ideal conditions for coffee. For a coffee tree to flower, it requires a couple of months of dry weather followed by drenching showers. The dry season on the Ruera Estate is seldom hotter than a European summer and never drops below 35F. It’s a temperate environment that make coffee trees and coffee farm workers, alike, flourish.

At least five different varietals of coffee grow on the Ruera Estate, each in its own plot: SL-28, SL-34, Ruiru 11 and Batian SL and K7. Fruit from all of these trees is harvested between November and April. Berries are washed, de-pulped to remove the fruit from around the bean, fermented, washed again and dried on specially built raised beds. Then they are screen-sorted into one of seven sizes or grades, with AA being the best.

Kenya PlateauIncorporated in 1950, the estate is one of nine farms that are part of the Kofinaf coffee mill. Most specialty Kenya coffee is grown by small scale farmers and co-operatives and then consolidated at the mills and testing by the Coffee Board of Kenya. The Kofinaf mill is was the first-ever UTZ-certified mill in the world. It is Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Registered and has been verified to sell 4C compliant coffee since 2008. That means all mill operations are environmentally sound and audited annually for compliance with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to meet strict standards for sustainability.

This commitment to quality is perhaps one of the reasons why the Ruera Estate produces a superior coffee and why the beans are limited in their availability. To order, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 or email

It’s Pumpkin Palooza – Fall Coffee Review

Fall officially arrives September 23, but the pumpkin lovers got a head start!

The flavor is already showing up in coffees, chai teas, lattes, smoothies, muffins, yogurt and cookies in coffee shops, restaurants and cafes across the country. In fact, the flavor is so popular this year that industry observers expect U.S. sales to reach $400 million in 2015, with a 15%+ increase over 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Stockton Graham & Co. Pumpkin

At Stockton Graham & Co., orders of pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie flavored coffee, syrup, sauces and latte mixes are flying out of the warehouse at a record pace.

Part of the allure of the flavor is that it is both comfortable and comforting so it appeals to Millennial and Boomers alike. “It’s a flavor line that’s appealing across all age groups,” says MaryAnne Drake, a professor of sensory analysis and flavor chemistry at North Carolina State University. “It transcends demographics.”

So whether you operate a small coffee kiosk or a multi-unit specialty retailer, offering pumpkin spiced anything will help sweeten your fall profits.

For the Love of …

Our combined love for everything flavored with pumpkin go back to Medieval times. That’s when cooks and primeval culinary luminaries waxed poetics about cinnamon spiced and sweetened pumpkin slices baked in pastry like a calzone.

Le Vrai Cuisinier FranciosThe first-ever recipe for pumpkin pie can be found in 1651. Francois Pierre la Vareene, a famous French chef and author of one of the first celebrity cookbook authors, included a recipe for Tourte of Pumpkin in his quintessential French recipe book Le Vrai Cuisinier Francios (The True French Cook).

La Varenne, the foremost member of a group of chefs who codified French cuisine for the court of Louis XIV, published a pie recipe that started with boiling pumpkin fruit with milk. The fruit was then passed through a strainer and mixed with an abundance of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter and baked in a pastry shell.

Pumpkin Pie Comes to America

Across the pond, settlers in the early American colonies relied on the fruit’s long shelf life to keep them alive during the brutal northeastern winters. It was such an important element of the pilgrims’ diet that several Odes to Pumpkin Pies were written such as this:

“For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.”
Pilgrim verse, circa 1633

The early American settlers were also known to make a thick pumpkin beer. In large barrels, they fermented pumpkin, hops, maple sugar and persimmons to make this early colonial brew that provided some of the requisite calories and revelry needed to survive some mighty bitter winters.

The Accomplisht CookA generation later, in 1685, chef Robert May published his more-savory version of pumpkin pie that resembles something you might find on the menu at IHOP. His best known cookbook, The Accomplisht Cook (sic), published in 1660 featured this pie recipe:

“To make a Pumpion Pie.
Take a pound of pumpion and slice it, a handful of thyme, a little rosemary, and sweet marjoram stripped off the stalks, chop them small, then take cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and a few cloves all beaten, also ten eggs, and beat them, them mix and beat them all together, with as much sugar as you think fit, then fry them like a froise … Take sliced apples sliced thin round ways, and lay a layer of the froise, and a layer of apples with currants betwixt the layers. While your pie is sitted, put in a good deal of sweet butter before your close it. When the pie is baked, take six yolks of eggs, some white-wine or verjuyce, and make a caudle of this, but not too thick, … stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpion be not perceived, and so serve.”

POMPKIN PIE

Over a century later, American Cookery, the first known cookbook written by a chef born in America, featured two recipes for Pompkin Pudding baked in a crust. Each of Chef Amelia Simmons pudding recipes were resplendent with artery clogging and waist bulging butter, sugar and molasses, poured over dough and baked in an oven until set.

Pumpkin Pie Becomes Big Business

Pumpkin-flavored beverages have become the American consumers’ most sought-after fall indulgence. According to DataSsential Menu Trends, sales of pumpkin-inspired limited-time offers (LTOs) were up 234 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Market Research company, NPD Group, tracked the pumpkin-inspired beverage purchases at an undisclosed major chain last fall and winter. NPD found that a vast majority of consumers — about 72 percent — purchased the beverages at least once during the offer period. About 20 percent of customers purchased the item twice, and about 8 percent made three or more purchases during the offer period.

NPD Group reported that customers who purchased a pumpkin spice latte spent an average of $7.81, compared with an average check of $6.67 for those who ordered non-pumpkin items.

According to several analysts in the food industry, the flavor’s staying power should be attributed to its association with comfort food in the minds of consumers. And what’s more, there is no evidence of it losing steam.

“In our current culture, in which there’s been a loss of traditions, people are seeking out forms of comfort and security that they had as children,” writes Beth Kowitt of Fortune Magazine who reported a spicy hypothesis of Alan Hirsch, founder and director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. The smell of pumpkin spice brings them back to those moments.

Pumpkin Options for Your Business

Stockton Graham & Co. offers the following options:

STOCKTON GRAHAM & CO. COFFEE

Stockton Graham Pumpkin Spice CoffeePumpkin Spice: With spices like nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, this 100% Arabica coffee is the perfect pairing for chilly evenings and crisp autumn air

Pumpkin Cream: This 100% Arabica coffee features the traditional spicy sweetness of pumpkin pie enveloped in a thick French vanilla

Pumpkin Cheesecake: Cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves combine with sweet pumpkin in this 100% Arabica coffee

Pumpkin Hazelnut: Like the name implies, this 100% Arabica coffee combines spicy pumpkin with rich hazelnut flavors

Monin Torani DaVinci Pumpkin

MONIN

Pumpkin Spice Syrup: Authentic pumpkin pie aroma and taste with a spiced touch – predominant nutmeg

Pumpkin Pie Syrup: A scrumptious combination of pumpkin and baked pie crust flavors accented with nutmeg and cinnamon

TORANI

Pumpkin Pie Sauce: Cinnamon and nutmeg spiced, creamy pumpkin wonderland

Pumpkin Pie Syrup: Nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices murmur softly in the background of a creamy pumpkin pie

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup: The same flavors as the regular syrup, but sweetened with Splenda®

Pumpkin Spice Syrup: A version of pie with more spice like ginger and cloves in a robust pumpkin-flavored syrup

DAVINCI

Pumpkin Pie Syrup: Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger and is reminiscent of the popular holiday dessert.

Pumpkin Pie Sauce: Delicious blend of pumpkin and spices, tastes just like a slice of pie

BIG TRAIN

Pumpkin Pie Chai Tea Latte Mix: Delightfully delicious blend of honey, creamy pumpkin, black tea and exotic spices

Pumpkin Spice Blended Iced Coffee: Artfully blended mix of Arabica coffee, pumpkin and spices
For recipes featuring pumpkin sauces, syrups and coffee, visit our recipes center. To order, call a Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943.