Make your business more kid friendly this summer

With the summer fast approaching, we draw closer and closer to that date that make all parents a bit nervous—the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation. This mass exodus of children from school will inevitably mean one thing—more kids in your store while mom and dad stop in for a caffeine fix. By making your business kid-friendly, you’ll bring in more customers and increase sales.

coffee shops with kidsUnsurprisingly many parents feel the need to get out of the house every once in a while, sip caffeine after all of those sleepless nights of rambunctious kids while simultaneously trying to wear out said kids. While getting some work done or just relishing a few quiet moments to themselves parents are often looking for a place that will keep little ones entertained and safe.

It has been proven that children not only influence the family’s restaurant choice but around 69% of parents will let their child choose their own order. These children are more likely to order a fun and flavorful dessert or specialty beverage than any other menu item.

Debra Dolan, Business Development Representative for the Northeast Region, has many family-friendly customers including large theme parks and small independent coffee shops throughout the country. She’s helped many store owners craft specialty beverage menus with options for younger patrons and successful family-friendly businesses.

A few points of advice based on her years of experience:

Modernize your menu 

  1. Caffeine-free beverages
    When deciding what to serve to your pint-sized patrons, there are many options to consider from milk shakes to frappes and smoothies. Stockton Graham & Co. recommends a base menu of chocolate and vanilla frappes or milk shakes plus some familiar fruit flavored options such as strawberry and banana, orange cream, grape and peaches and cream.
  2. Kid-friendly flavors
    Enhance your base menu with shakes or frappes in fun flavors such as Bubblegum, Cotton Candy, Hot Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Cake Batter and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Big Train has a child-friendly drink mix called Kidz Kreamz® with new flavors such as Wild Berry Burst and Banana Splitastic. If you want to offer a healthy twist, add some Dr. Smoothie 100% Crushed Fruit or yogurt before you blend.
  3. Healthy options
    Parents are increasingly concerned about the health of the food and drinks that their children consume. Beverages that are low in sugar and calories, but high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber are big sellers. Up the health quotient by adding a bit of protein with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter. And of course, make sure mom and dad know about these health upgrades!
  4. Smaller portions
    Smaller portion sizes will be easier for younger customers to drink and will cut down on spills. Consider adding a 4 ounce cup for the summer months, in addition to an 8 ounce and 12 ounce cup.
  5. Child-centered snacking
    Adding child-friendly snacks such as cookies or rice crispy treats, as well as veggie trays and yogurt for moms, can help raise average ticket sales and keep the entire family happy.

Keep the kids occupied

  1. Coloring books or pages
    A good idea is to have coloring books or colorable picture pages and boxes of crayons handy to keep grabby hands occupied. Many shop owners frame the art projects of their young customers, which can add to the hand-crafted ambiance of your store.
  2. Puzzles, dolls and toys
    Keep a couple of simple puzzles, plushed animals, toy trucks and dolls on hand for parents who find themselves with fussy kids. If you’re shop is small, you can keep them behind the counter for emergencies. Or if you have room, set up a small “play area” in a corner away from your serving areas and doorways so parents can keep an eye on the kids while they relax nearby with a latte or iced coffee.
  3. Books
    Books and coffee shops go hand-in-hand. Experiment with a small lending library of teen books, graphic novels and popular fiction to entertain the older kids (and older kids at heart). Don’t be surprised to find regular patrons donating their own best-sellers to your little community library.
  4. Kids’ Events
    Hosting a Saturday morning story time or some type of weekly afternoon kids entertainment (maybe a balloon artist or mime) is a great way to get the community involved—and that will help boost your sales.

Make service child-proof

  1. Patience is key
    We all know that working with customers comes with its own set of tests—and younger patrons, in particular, can be an adventure. When training your baristas and service personnel, be sure to remind them that young customers can sometimes have a short attention span and a lot of energy. The key is keeping cool when the temperature rises.
  2. The cleanup
    Little hands don’t always have the best aim when it comes to getting food into mouths, and parents juggling bags, cups and kids are prone to spill. Talk to your staff about taking the time to quickly wipe up any mishaps as soon as they happen. You also may consider hiring a local high school student during your busy hours to help with foot traffic and keep your store in tiptop shape.
  3. Talking the talk
    Talk to your baristas and staff about small ways they can help make a visit to your store fun and stress-free for parents with young children. For example, counter staff can hand-deliver coffee to the table of an overwhelmed mother instead of asking her to manage a hot cup and a squealing kid. Or, why not print mini-menus featuring drink pictures to help school-agers make up their minds quickly?

Create an family friendly atmosphere

  1. Designated child’s area
    Creating a child-themed area will give the kiddies a place to expend energy and socialize. Designated play areas allow the adults without children a reasonable amount of peace.
  2. Keep it light
    Keeping your shop lighted with brighter colors is more inviting for the younger set. This decorating theme also signals to parents that children are welcome. They will be most likely to patronize your shop with little ones in tow.
  3. Make them sing
    Whether music is a part of your store’s brand or not, it goes a long way in making your business kid-friendly. Although childhood favorites like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” “The Hokey Pokey” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” may not be to your liking, there are other options. Consider “For the Kids,” a compilation of kids’ songs by adult-friendly artists like Darius Rucker, Cake, Wilco, Tom Waits, Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.

Healthy Kids Menus













By including children in your summer business plans you can both make sure your customers are happy and boost your sales.

For more information on how to kid-proof your business, to speak directly with Debra Dolan or to order kid-friendly ingredients, call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943.


Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend Now with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Stockton’s newest Iced Coffee Blend now features our delicious Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, a coffee bean with a blend of sweet and bright notes that is perfect for those hot and humid peak summer months.

“The Yirgacheffe is a lighter roast that has a sweet floral taste with refreshing lemon notes,” says Alex Jeans, Customer Care Associate and resident barista here at Stockton Graham & Co. “This makes it a refreshing treat for those hot days. This is such a versatile bean with its complex flavors that it is great for both hot and cold beverages.”

YirgacheffeOur obsession with finding the finest beans to make your coffee taste even better pushes us to try new blends and brews. Using our passion, we set to work on finding the perfect coffee for the climbing temperatures coming soon.

At a recent tasting, our roasters, baristas and coffee enthusiasts tried several beans and roasts, brewed in multiple formats, and decided that the Yirgacheffe was a better bean to craft the perfect iced coffee selection for the hot, humid summer.

Our previous Iced Coffee Blend, introduced in March, featured the Brazil Alta Mogiana Peaberry. This is a great coffee with a sweeter finish that is perfect for those early spring days. It’s also a great transitional choice as customers move from hot coffee to cold coffee throughout the day.

“Fine coffees, like fine wines, carry flavors and other attributes that seem to be more enjoyable in certain seasons, and so we wanted to focus the flavor of our Iced Coffee Blend for the summer season,” said Brandon Riggs, Roastmaster for Stockton Graham & Co. “The Yirgacheffe was chosen for its lighter floral taste that we thought would be more refreshing for the coming warmer months.”

The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe has a soft body with a zesty lemon note that is combined with a nice floral taste. This makes it perfect for iced coffees because of the light nuanced flavor.

A lot of the flavor of the coffee has to do with how it is processed. Ethiopia Yirgacheffe is processed using the wet method. After the fruit is sorted, the berry covering the bean is removed with water before it is dried. This leaves a bright, crisp flavor.

As coffee drinkers are looking for more diverse flavors, demand is being filled with more specialty roasts from all over the world. This has caused Ethiopian coffee to become even more popular. Ethiopia is the fifth largest coffee producer in the world with a production capacity of 379,500 tons exported a year. The government intends to quadruple that number within the next four years, making this special bean more easily accessible than ever before. And this is good news for the coffee drinkers!

A bean this special requires care in brewing. Our Stockton Graham & Co. tastemakers recommend brewing the coffee over ice, which preserves its flavor profile and allows you to refine the extraction.

The brewed coffee when immediately introduced to ice, stalls the oxidation process and preserves the flavor that was created when brewed hot.

These are our two recommended brewing techniques:

Pour-Over Method (20 oz Serving)
20 gr coffee: 180 gr water: 100 gr ice

Brew Method

  1. Grind 20 grams of Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend fine (about the coarseness of table salt).
  2. Fold filter, place it into filter holder, pre-wet it and discard wetting water.
  3. Add coffee to filter and tare.
  4. Place 100 grams of ice and place in carafe on which the filter can rest.
  5. Using water just off a boil, add a small amount of water to the coffee grounds, allowing them to bloom and begin to drain. Slowly add water in small increments.
  6. Brew time should be approximately 3.5 minutes.
  7. Swirl mixture until all ice is melted to ensure uniform dilution.
  8. Pour coffee over ice in a 20 oz cup and serve.

Airpot Brewer/Double-Strength Method (3.8 Liters/1 gallon)
250 gr coffee: 2400 gr water: 1500 gr ice
Yield: 1 gallon

Brew Method

  1. Grind 250 grams of Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend. Grind slightly finer than drip setting.
  2. Add coffee to filter basket.
  3. Get ½ gallon of ice and place in 1-gallon container.
  4. Place container under coffee brewer.
  5. Brew coffee on ½ gallon-batch setting
  6. Once brewing has stopped, add clean, fresh and filtered water to mixture to 1 gallon.
  7. Swirl mixture until all ice is melted to ensure uniform dilution.
  8. Store in refrigerator to maintain optimal flavor. Discard daily.
  9. To serve, pour over ice.

To discuss brewing techniques with our master brewers or to order Stockton’s Iced Coffee Blend ($7.95/lb.), call 800 835 5943.

Please Help Us Support The Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund In March

Selva Negra (11)We’ve grown a strong personal relationship with the Kuhl’s, the family that runs the Selva Negra farm in Nicaragua from which we source our beans. Over the past 15 years, we’ve visited the farm several times, donated books and clothing, and spent many fun times together at regional coffee events. On February 17th, one of the Kuhl family homes was destroyed by the fire, and a family member, Cody Anderson, did not survive. We would like to support the family in this very difficult time, and would encourage you to help them out, as well.

The family has setup the Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund to help honor Cody’s life, and to help create many wonderful opportunities out of this tragic accident. In addition to a corporate gift we will make to the fundwe will donate $5 for every 16 oz. retail unit of Selva Negra single origin coffee we sell on any of our online stores in March:

Stockton Graham & Co.
Click to buy at

Dilworth Coffee
Click to buy at

threeSelva Negra runs a private elementary school with 90 students, which Cody attended when he was a child. The goal of the scholarship is to assist in covering the educational costs at the farm associated with improving the school and sending their students on to high school and college. Supporting the children of Selva Negra, supports the circle of friends Cody had as a child, as well as their children.

To learn more about the Cody Anderson Scholarship Fund, please visit

Thank you in advance for helping us support this wonderful cause and keeping our friends of Selva Negra in your thoughts through this difficult tragedy!