You’ve requested an espresso sample…Now what?

So, you’re interested in receiving a sample of a new Stockton Graham espresso blend to evaluate with your customers. We try to base our suggestions on what your customers are looking for, so we tend to ask a lot of questions like, “Do you have a lot of straight shot coffee geek customers?” or “Do you tend to sell mostly mochas or flavored lattes?” These questions help us tailor the best solution for your business.

While not all espresso blends are created equal, here are some general questions you’ll want to ask when familiarizing yourself with an unfamiliar blend, assuming all equipment is clean, calibrated and in proper working order:

1. What is the volume of the shot?
SCAA standard is 0.75 oz. – 1 oz. for a single; 1.5 oz. – 2 oz. for a double.

2. How long is the extraction time?
The shot should run between 20 – 30 seconds.

3. What does the shot look like?
Your espresso should have the viscosity of warm honey with a thick, dark golden crema. When the volume and extraction time are correct, the visual characteristics will often follow suit.

Additionally, here are some things to keep in mind:

-Grind coffee to order
-Try sample 1-2 days after receiving it
-Use about 8-10 grams for a single; 18-20 for a double
-Flush your grouphead before inserting the portafilter
-Keep portafilter hot

It’s important to remember also that there are no hard and fast rules that can be applied to every espresso blend. In the cupping room at our roasting facility, we taste together once a week and your customer care associate would be happy to pass along tips and additional cupping notes for specific coffees to help guide you along the way.

And, as always, we appreciate your feedback, so be sure to take notes to pass along to us!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.