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Welcome back Los Cipreses from Marcala, Honduras.
Our commitment to organic agriculture has gotten stronger every year. We're working toward only buying organic coffees, and, in 2010, we were at 77 percent – data for 2011 should be ready very soon. We also recently launched the Save Our Soil campaign to encourage people to become advocates for organic agriculture. So, it is with particular enthusiasm that we welcome back Los Cipreses, which, in addition to being organic, is also in incredibly delicious coffee.
In the five years we've worked with Marysabel Caballero and Moises Herrera in Marcala, Honduras, for all of the experiments and the successes we have experienced together, one obstacle has remained: their farm, Dulce Nombre de Jesús (better known as Finca El Puente), is not certified organic. Strong encouragement for organic certification has become a regular feature of our conversations with them.
So, we were more than just a little surprised when they told us that they had been managing the highest area of their farm – a parcel called Los Cipreses after the cypress trees that grow on that portion of the farm – organically for the previous three years. Thankfully, an organic coffee cooperative in Marcala made it possible for the pieces to fall into place for Counter Culture to purchase the first-ever certified organic coffee from Dulce Nombre de Jesús last year. And, we're excited to offer it again this year.
Los Cipreses offers vibrant flavors of citrus and peach perfectly balanced by a juicy body. This is clean, sweet Latin American coffee at its best.
POSTED IN: coffee
Boston and Philly Training Center planning materials.
We're thrilled to announce the opening of new training centers next month in Boston and Philadelphia. The two new regional training centers extend our network of spaces dedicated to cutting-edge coffee education curriculum, wholesale customer support, and hands-on training for coffee and food professionals, as well as home coffee enthusiasts.
"Philadelphia and Boston are amazing cities with incredible coffee communities, and we are proud to be a part of each," notes company President and co-founder Brett Smith. "We look forward to sharing what we know and learn about coffee with the many talented folks who live and work there."
In welcoming local communities to these new outposts, each new Training Center will host a a Saturday open house in September.
The Philadelphia Training Center – located at 2149 unit B Catherine Street in Philadelphia – Open House will be held on Saturday, September 8, from noon to 4 p.m. RSVP via Facebook.
The Boston Training Center – located at 374 Somerville Avenue, in Somerville, MA – Open House will be held on Saturday, September 15, from noon to 4 p.m. RSVP via Facebook.
Look for additional details coming soon via Facebook and sign up to get emails about Boston or Philadelphia via our newsletter.
Pavement ist rad!
As a lot of folks already know, we don't operate Counter Culture Coffee shops. So, we rely on the people making our coffee and serving it to the public to ensure that the same level of attention to detail is given to brewing and serving our coffee as goes into sourcing and roasting it. (This is why we created our Counter Intelligence coffee education program , btw.) We're very grateful to the many high-quality shops, restaurants, and specialty groceries that serve and sell our coffees.
It's especially gratifying to have two of our friends and partners, Pavement Coffeehouse and Ultimo Coffee, be named the best coffee shops by Boston and Philadelphia magazines, respectively.
"One of the first places in Boston to offer pour-over and cold-brew coffees," noted Boston Magazine. "Pavement goes well beyond crafting lattes and cappuccinos (although these are fantastic here, too)."
Congratulations Ultimo!
And, of Ultimo, Philadelphia Magazine wrote: "The inviting staff, comfortable vibe and Counter Culture coffee would be enough to make Ultimo Philadelphia’s best. That the Newbold spot shares space with Brew-a beer store-makes it the ultimate for a 2 p.m. pick-me-up followed by a 4 p.m. happy hour."
We're very proud of both teams and want to thank their owners, management, and staff for their hard work!
POSTED IN: brewing
Welcome back Ndaroini.
As many of you may recall, we have bought coffee from the Ndaroini washing station in Nyeri, Kenya – as well as the other two washing stations of the Gikanda cooperative, Gitchathaini and Kangocho – in past years, and we couldn't be happier to have Ndaroini back in our lineup after a two year absence.
"I'm pretty sure that I've never been as impressed with Ndaroini as I am this year," notes Coffee Buyer and Sustainability Manager Kim Elena Ionescu. "A deep, Concord grape quality underpins the savory and citrus flavors that we revere in great Kenyan coffees. This fine specimen rolls out on Monday, so jump on it!"
POSTED IN: coffee
Back from Rwanda.
Buyer & Quality Manager Tim Hill recently returned from a trip to Bolivia with the newest member of our Coffee Department, Hannah Popish, whom some of you may recognize from her work as an consultant on an enlightening study of how coffee farmers value microlots earlier this year.
In Bolivia, Tim and Hannah met with a company called Agritrade and Virmax, our exporting partners from Colombia, to taste coffees and work out the logistics of organizing improved quality Bolivian coffee with more prompt shipment. And, of course, they visited some farms, as well. Read Tim's report and peruse photos curated by Hannah in this flickr set from their trip to Bolivia.
Prior to Bolivia, Tim traveled to Rwanda and Burundi, and made his first, very brief visit to the Congo. Check out our Coffee Department trip reports for each of Tim's photosets from his trip to Africa in June with full annotation. And, stay tuned ... Tim head's to Papua New Guinea in just a few weeks.
Reducing our paper use by 41, 000 pieces starting here.
Starting today, we are significantly reducing the amount of paper we print / recycle each day in our Durham production facility.
For the last two years, we've been printing multiple pieces of paper for each wholesale order to get the right coffee into the right box – all but one of which got recycled every day. With a newly implemented bin system, we are now printing only one page per order! That's a big reduction!!
To put this into context, for production wholesale orders in 2011, we printed close to 63,000 pieces of paper. That's 126 reams of paper! And, while we recycled 41,000 pages of that, we no longer print extra pages that need to be recycled.
I'd like to point out all the hard work that Tom Burns, Ryan Stickles, and Jeff McArthur have done to make this happen. I'm really excited we're not using so much paper now!
-Thomas Nickles
IT Manager
POSTED IN: sustainability
Coffee Farming, Soil, and Organic Agriculture
Coffee education, quality, and sustainability are interdependent. Because we strive to be leaders in sustainable coffee and combine our commitment to buying the highest quality coffee with respect for the natural environment, we feel a responsibility to share what we learn with everyone. So, we're especially excited about a new addition to our Counter Intelligence coffee education lineup: an hour-and-a-half workshop called Coffee Farming, Soil, and Organic Agriculture, which debuted today in Durham.
The workshop introduces the concepts of agriculture as they relate to coffee farming, using organic certified Finca Nueva Armenia in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, as a case study. Participants learn about the agricultural intricacies of coffee production, explore organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers, and take away a seedling to nurture at home. As much about agriculture as it is about coffee, Coffee Farming, Soil, and Organic Agriculture s a great workshop for those in the coffee industry, but you don't have to be a coffee person to attend. Gardeners, foodies, agriculture scholars, organic activists are encouraged to participate. Stay tuned to our Counter Culture Coffee facebook page for future editions of this and other workshops.
Note: Our deliver carriers will not be operating Wednesday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. No packages will be delivered that day, and packages in transit will not be moved toward their final destination. We will als be closed Wednesday. Orders received after midnight tonight through midnight Wednesday will be roasted, packaged, and shipped on Thursday, July 5.
POSTED IN: organic
"I am not a gardener," admits Atlanta Wholesale Regional Representative David LaMont. "At best, my thumbs are the pale green of dead grass."
That lack of aptitude didn't stop David from applying for Counter Culture's employee matching "Green Fund" program to build raised garden beds in the yard of his Sugar Hill, GA, home with the goals of spending more time outdoors with his kids and growing a bit of their own food.
In 2011, our Sustainability Committee introduced the Counter Culture Employee Green Fund, which offers each employee the opportunity to apply for up to $500 a year in matching funds toward a personal sustainability-related project. Other projects have included gym memberships, a high-efficiency washing machine, a rain-water garden irrigation system, home fitness equipment, and more. In its first year, the Green Fund contributed $2,266.01 in matching funds.
Read about David's Raised Garden Bed project on facebook and look for more Green Fund stories coming soon.
POSTED IN: sustainability