The Power of a Brand Story

What’s your brand story? Storytelling is a timeless tradition our ancestors used to pass down truths, myths and traditions through the years. It is an impactful craft for strengthening your customer engagement. And it’s a vital extension of your brand and a great tool for creating and retaining brand advocates.

Tell Your Brand's StoryIf you are new to the scene, here are some guidelines on how to start developing your brand story. And for established companies, take a second look and be sure your story has all the necessities. Good stories can strengthen your brand, engage your customers, and inspire your partners.

Who: Every business has one mastermind behind the whole operation. Or maybe there’s a group of folks that conceived your enterprise. Whichever the case, be sure to say who had the idea. A photo of the founder in action will speak volumes as well.

Richard Rosendfeld of Two Leaves and a Bud Tells his Brand Story

Two Leaves and a Bud great job of communicating founder Richard Rosendfeld’s story and how he saw a need and made it his mission to fill it.

“Founded in 2005, two leaves tea company™ began with a journey. Founder Richard Rosenfeld travelled the world on business, where meetings are synonymous with amazingly flavorful cups of tea. After returning to the states, Richard looked everywhere for a good cuppa’ tea…but had a hard time finding one.”

When: This can be as simple as when the company started or a more detailed timeline highlighting significant changes in your organization’s history. Established companies will have many milestones recorded. But if you are new to the scene your accomplishments are still important to share. Letting customers/partners know, encourages them to celebrate your success too.

MAHLKÖNIG coffee grinder Brand Story

Grinder manufacturer Mahlkoenig has a rich history. They feature it on their website with photos and stories about the original machines and how they evolved.

Iced Coffee and Chai company Big Train also does a great job telling customers ‘when?’.

“The name Big Train was chosen by the founding partners in 1991…For over 20 years, Big Train has established itself…In February, 2013, Kerry announced the acquisition of Big Train”

A Taste of Southern Season Raleigh StoreWhere: Where is your store, company, factory located? You may have several locations but every company needs to have a home base. Be sure to let your customers now your ‘birthplace’.  If your origin is a small town it’s okay to associate with the closest biggest city or align with the region. But it may be more intriguing to stick with your small town.

For almost forty years culinary mecca, Southern Season had one store in Chapel Hill, NC. In the past few years they’ve opened three new locations, with the most recent being in our hometown Raleigh, NC.

How: Your brand story should include how you got started and how you came to be what you are today (which could be the same as when you started). How your goods are made (without giving away trade secrets of course). Or how you provide the service you do.

David Rio Brand StoryDavid Rio started as one of many products in a Japanese language catalog.  The company, still run by founders Scott and Rio, achieves success through its perpetual commitment to customers, employees, vendors and creditors. Now they are one of America’s premier chai brands.

Why: This is your mission statement or your core values. “Why?” could change as your company develops and grows so be sure to update it when necessary.

Great Harvest Bread Company Brand StoryGreat Harvest Bread Co. in Greenville, NC uses the walls of their stores to help communicate their brand story. Shop owners, Gregg and Kim Green “have a passion for ministry, service, fellowship and great food.”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co our obsession is blending the art and business of coffee. We haven’t always been a specialty coffee roaster and wholesale beverage company. Seeking the American dream of becoming entrepreneurs, our founders thought the Raleigh market was ready for a coffee house concept that offered high quality coffees, and handcrafted espresso drinks in a comforting atmosphere. Read more about how we became who we are today.

Storytelling is an age-old concept that brings people together, keeps them engaged, and builds trust. It might take some time for you to cultivate this story. But when you do, get other people to help you tell it. Make sure every member of your staff knows the brand story, so they can share it with your customers. Get your team together and make sure they know your who, when, where, how and why. Have them take turns practicing telling it with excitement and passion. Following these basic guidelines will get your storytelling efforts rolling, engaging your customers and converting them to brand advocates.

Gourmet Tea Steeping Guide and Tea Recipes

With Two Leaves and a Bud founder Richard Rosenfeld visiting this week, we were inspired by the many gourmet tea options available to passionate tea drinkers. From Earl Gray to Tamayokucha or Chamomile, tea can be transformational.

Like coffee, tea tastes better when properly brewed, and there are many things that can influence a brew. This includes the tea varietal, tea quality, tea type (leaf, bag or powder), water temperature, steep time and even vessel type.Two Leaves TeaPot and Black Cup

As a general rule, we recommend steeping your tea in a ceramic vessel, but glass is also a great option as well. Metal is best to be avoided as it can give an unwanted taste to your teas. We suggest you use filtered water and avoid tap water. Tap water has chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine to treat it and those can alter the taste

A guide for steeping tea
Stockton Graham & Co Gourmet Tea Steeping Guide

Download steeping guide.

When deciding what you want from a cup of freshly steeped loose tea there are a few choices you will have to make. Choices such as what type of tea do you want. For a single serving you will use 1 to 1.5 heaping teaspoons of loose tea (hence the name teaspoon!).

Green tea: The most popular type of tea, some loose green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits. It can be re-steeped 3-4 times. Boil water to 175º F and steep for 2-3 mins.

Oolong: Also known as wu long, this is full-bodied with a flavorful fragrance and sweet fragrance. Can be re-steeped 3-4 times to get maximum value and flavor. Boil water to 195º F and steep for 2-4 mins.

White tea: The purest and least processed of all teas.  This loose leaf-tea brews a light color and flavor. These can be re-steeped 3-4 times. Boil water to 175º F and steep for 2-3 mins.

Black: Known for more pronounced flavors, and, when brewed appropriately, it has a higher caffeine content compared to other teas. Most will recognize this as the tea used for most iced teas. Boil water to 212º F and steep for 3-5 mins.

Pu-erh: An aged black tea from China prized for its medicinal properties and earthy flavor. This is a very strong tea with an incredibly deep and rich flavor, and no bitterness. Boil water to 212º F and steep for 2-5 mins.

Herbal: Does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, these are broken into three categories: rooibos teas, mate teas, and herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers, spices and fruits. Boil water to 212º F and steep for 6-7 mins.

A few “Mother, May I” tea recipesFriday Tea Recipes

Alpine Berry Tea Cosmo
1 oz vodka infused with Alpine Berry Tea from Two Leaves and a Bud
1/2 oz triple sec
1/4 oz Monin Lime syrup
1/2 oz cranberry juice

Directions: To infuse the alcohol, soak 3-4 Organic Alpine Berry Whole Leaf sachets from Two Leaves and a Bud for 4-8 hours (any more than 8 hours will make the alcohol bitter).

Remove tea sachets from infused vodka. Shake vodka, triple sec, lime and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.

Bourbon Blood Orange and White Peach Tea Punch
8 oz brewed Paisley Organic Tart Blood Orange Herbal Iced Tea
2 oz bourbon
2 oz Monin White Peach Syrup
1 oz Da Vinci Lemonade Concentrate
12 oz Ice
(Optional Sliced peaches to garnish)

Directions: Shake tea, bourbon, and syrups vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain over ice and garnish with a peach slice or muddle the peach slices into tea mixture, and serve.

Vanilla Honey Milk tea
16 oz brewed Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean
1 ½ oz Torani Real Cream Frappe base
½ oz honey
12 oz Ice

Directions: Shake tea, frappe base and honey together. Pour over ice and serve.

Green-Tea Cranberry Spritzer
8 oz chilled brewed Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical
1 oz Torani Cane Sugar Sweetener
3 oz chilled unsweetened cranberry juice
3 oz chilled seltzer
12 oz Ice

Directions: Shake Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical, cranberry juice and Cane Sugar Syrup vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain over ice and charge with seltzer and serve.

Watermelon and Blackberry Iced Black Tea
12 oz Ice
1 oz Monin Watermelon Fruit Purée
7 oz brewed Mighty Leaf Wild Blackberry tea

Directions: Fill serving glass with ice. Add remaining ingredients. Stir or transfer from serving glass to other glass and back. Garnish with fresh watermelon.

For more information on brewing tea or to place an order, call a Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943.

Add Spice To The Season With Oregon Chai Spicy!

Oregon Chai logo  Guy  (2)Chai is a unique drink; Black Tea, Cardamom, Cinnamon, and other spices are blended together to create a unique taste unlike anything else. This versatile beverage can be prepared in a variety of different ways to bring out the different flavor profiles chai enthusiasts have come to love. Most coffee shops nowadays make chai lattes using a concentrate or powder.

Using liquid Chai concentrate is simple in your shop. With a 1:1 ratio of milk (or milk substitute) and liquid chai, you just steam and go. Or you can pour over ice and shake if you want an iced Chai. You can take it up a few notches to really make your chai stand out with the recipes included below. Most of these recipes can altered for hot, iced, or frozen.

If you want a balanced drink of spices and honey with a full body, Oregon Chai Spicy is the chai for you. This chai won’t be overwhelming for new tea latte drinkers, but will still be enjoyable for die-hard fans. Chai is a great option to warm up the colder winter months and is a popular specialty drink that is easy to make and enjoy.

Call us at Stockton Graham & Co. at 800 835 5943 to place your order today!

Chocolate Chaichocolate_chai
1 oz of Ghirardelli Chocolate Sauce
7 oz of Liquid Chai
8 oz of Steamed Milk
Stir together and add whip cream and chocolate drizzle and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Bombay Foglondon_fog
Taking the basic idea of a London Fog and adding Chai to it.
1 Black Tea Bag
5 oz of hot Water
8 oz of Liquid Chai
3 oz of steamed milk
Steep your tea bag for 3 minutes. Add the chai and steamed milk. I like to get a bit of foam on the top. Perfect for grey days full of reading your favorite book.

Chai Not to Smilechai_
2 oz. Torani Honey Vanilla
7 oz of Liquid Chai
7 oz of Steamed Milk

Mix together and top with whip cream, and honey drizzle.

Stockton Graham & Co. Fall Sale

SGC-$$$-signGet up to 20% off during the Stockton Graham & Co. fall sale! Save on over 40 select items from your favorite brands, including: Torani, Monin, Big Train, Cappuccine, Harney & Sons, Tazo, Greenware and Chinet Comfort Cups. Many essential items for your cafe are on sale, including; syrups, sauces, powders, cups and more! Stock up on savings today!

Call 800 835 5943 for a detailed listing of our fall sale!

BigTrain-WideTorani-Widemonin-Wide

You Have Great Coffee… What About Your Tea?

Tea guysPeople who open coffee shops or cafés are usually coffee enthusiasts who are passionate about their beans and their brews, but tend to not take tea seriously, leaving their tea drinkers with very few or low-quality options.

Although we aren’t “tea people,” we encourage our customers to offer premium teas that are on the same level of quality as their coffees. Being in the business of coffee, we hope our customers understand the importance of quality at all levels of the supply chain. The quality of coffee at origin will set the stage for its final taste. Hot Tea guyTea is similar to coffee in this way; the sourcing, processing and brewing of tea determines the flavor profile when it is brewed. Because of the similarities of the two products, the quality of tea reflects the overall quality of the business. Don’t neglect your tea drinkers.

A coffee shop with a full bar has all the equipment necessary to have a successful tea program. If you are a coffee shop with no tea program, you are missing out on business. According to the Tea Association of the U.S.A., over half of the American population is drinking tea on any given day. By catering to their tea drinkers, coffee shops drive more traffic and higher profits. If you are serving food options, iced teas helps up the average ticket price during lunch and afternoon day parts.

cold Tea guyWe have explored many different lines of tea and have assembled an all-star group of premium tea lines designed specifically for the specialty coffee business, including: Mighty Leaf, Two Leaves and A Bud, Paisley Brand and more. These brands are known for their quality and each offer an exceptional product to give options to the discriminating tea drinker.

Read more about our tea offerings below, and give your Customer Care Associate a call at 800 835 5943 if you are interested in receiving a sample:

 MightyLeaf-Wide
Mighty Leaf Tea is passionate about creating the most incredible handcrafted tea blends found anywhere and globally sourcing the finest ingredients available. Mighty Leaf Tea offers selections of the finest teas, including black, green, white, and herbal varieties, many of which are mélanges of fruit, spices and fragrant blossoms.
 TLAB_Kettle_300 Founded in 2005, Two Leaves and a Bud creates high-quality, single-origin teas. Their whole-leaf teas are handpicked and provide the fullest flavors possible with no fillers. Two Leaves and a Bud offers black, green, white and herbal varieties with unique selections like Alpine Berry, Organic Orange Sencha and White Peony.
 PaisleyCatalog_header Meet Two Leaves and a Bud’s “slightly hipper, younger sister.” Each box of Paisley tea includes 20 traditional paper teabags full of flavorful tea that brews up bold and fast. Good lookin’ and good tasting — Paisley is high-quality tea that you can afford! This range of 8 flavors has something for everybody, every day. Not to mention, Paisley Brand Tea is Organic, Fair Trade, Non-GMO, and Kosher. It’s one “value-able” tea!

Have a Sweet Ending to the Summer

As summer winds down, enjoy these delicious seasonal flavors from MONIN!

Peach Pick Iced Tea

peach.teaIngredients:

  • Ice
  • 3/4 oz. MONIN Peach Syrup
  • 1 oz. Jet Arctic Lemonade
  • 2 oz. Two Leaves and a Bud black iced tea

Preparation:
Fill serving glass with ice. Add remaning ingredients. Stir well, or transfer from serving glass to other glass and back. Garnish with a lemon wheel and peach wedge.

 

Blueberry Cream Soda

Ingredients:blueberry.cream.soda

  • Ice
  • 1 oz. MONIN Blueberry Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Monin Vanilla Syrup
  • Sparkling Water

Preparation:
Fill serving glass with ice. Add remaining ingredients. Transfer from serving glass to other glass and back. Garnish with blueberries and whipped cream.

 

Berry Pear Punch pear

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 3/4 oz. MONIN Pear Syrup
  • 2 oz. apple juice
  • 2 oz. pinapple juice
  • 2 oz. ginger ale

Preparation:
Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into serving glass and garnish with fresh fruit.

Tea Lattes Can Help Drive Non-Coffee Drinkers Into Your Shop

Everyone is vying for the coffee addict’s dollar, but what about the tea drinkers? Just over half our population drinks coffee daily, while the rest are left with a paltry and mediocre selection of processed or sugary options. A great way to drive more traffic among non-coffee drinkers is improving your tea options.

The tea latte category has been quietly growing for quite a while, with chai lattes as the leader. But, tea lattes can be made with all types of tea: black or green, and even exotic options like rooibos and matcha. The basic concept of a tea latte is very simple… Instead of espresso, use a concentrated tea mixed with milk. Tea lattes can be made hot, iced or frozen.  All forms offer the same health benefits as traditionally brewed tea and are great alternatives to coffee.

TeaLatteMasala Chai is the most popular tea latte.  It is made with black tea that is brewed with traditional Indian Spices, sweetened with honey, and mixed with milk.  The popularity has led to several different applications.  Chai can be found in a powder form, as a liquid concentrate, or a shop can make it from scratch, which allows the shop to cater the sweetness and spice level to their customer base.

946-1111_matcha-posMatcha and Matcha lattes may very well be the next big trend in tea.  Matcha is a powder made from the leaves of shade-grown tea bushes.  These leaves grow slower and are much higher in chlorophyll, accounting for the bright green color.  The antioxidants are equivalent to drinking many glasses of regular green tea, and dozens of times higher than blueberries and other so-called superfoods.  A matcha latte is best enjoyed sweetened with simple sugar, vanilla or complementing fruit flavors to balance its intense and distinct flavor.

redespressoRooibos is a red “tea” made from the leaves of the red bush of South Africa.  One popular adaptation of rooibos tea is red espresso®, which can be extracted similarly to a typical shot of espresso. A shot of red espresso® offers more antioxidants than a regular cup of tea, is naturally caffeine free and helps soothe digestion.  Rooibos tea has a pretty neutral flavor and can be used to create endless combinations.  Red lattes are a hit with tea lovers, especially when enhanced with different syrup options.

Contact a Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Service Associate today at 800.835.5943 to learn more about offering tea lattes in your shop!