Microlots and Quality Incentives
Sourcing and roasting coffee of the highest quality is the core of our business, and we believe that promoting quality—in partnership with both our grower and customer partners—is the foundation for real economic sustainability from farm to cup. We make every effort not only to find great quality coffee for the benefit of coffee drinkers, but also for the benefit of coffee growers. We always communicate our cupping scores and quality assessments to our grower partners, that they might exercise greater control over their premium product. By providing information about and incentives for improving cup quality, Counter Culture can help growers sustain and improve quality in all areas: of life, of the environment, and in the cup.
Microlots are small lots of special coffees that Counter Culture selects to provide the best taste experiences to the consumer and to recognize coffee growers that produce extraordinary quality. A microlot may come from one grower within a community or co-operative of small growers; or a microlot may represent a small lot separated from a larger farm's lot. We identify microlots by cupping many small lots of coffee, which have been hand-separated and catalogued by our grower partners, and selecting the very best, often tiny lots based on cup quality. Each microlot is processed, roasted, and sold separately from the larger, still very high quality lot of coffee that we purchase from the same farmer or group. Our microlots are often among our most expensive coffees because we pay higher prices to the growers for these special lots to demonstrate that quality is important to us and our customers, and that we will keep working to find a market for the best coffees we taste.
It is important to note that some of our grower partners do not have the resources to manage the often-complex processes that result in microlots. Providing these growers with hands-on assistance and incentives to encourage quality development is just as important to us as working with farmers with well-established microlot-level quality. Therefore, we contribute to a number of training and capacity-building programs with farmers and communities that lack the lot separation necessary for microlots. Please visit our Origins page, which has up-to-date information about the progress of our current microlot and quality development projects around the world.
Click here to browse our selection of microlots coffees.
SCAA 2012: Do Microlots Matter to Producers?