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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
In recent years, we've increased our focus on coffee seasonality to the point that we roast each year's harvest of a coffee for about 6 months after it arrives, then eagerly await it next year. With the return of Finca Nueva Armenia a few weeks ago, coffees have begun to arrive from the northern hemisphere, and the next few weeks and months will bring an incredible influx.
Coffee Buyer & Quality Manager Tim Hill posted an update about upcoming coffees along with relevant photos on flickr, sharing his unique insight into coffees as varied as a Finca El Puente Yellow Catuai Microlot from Honduras to a Thiriku Peaberry lot from Kenya. These northern hemisphere arrivals reflect the amazing breadth of coffees (sometimes from a single farm) made possible by the long-term relationships our coffee department works to strengthen each year, as well as by their persistent pursuit of new and exciting coffees.
Perennial favorites like Finca Mauritania and Idido Natural Sundried are on their way, along with soon-to-be favorites like Las Milpas and a tiny 400 pound lot of Santa Elena Kenya Type Microlot. Read Tim's coffee update on flickr for details.
POSTED IN: coffee, seasonality
Do microlots mater to producers?
Coffee Buyer and Sustainability Manager Kim Elena Ionescu and Independent Evaluation Consultant Hannah Popish worked together on an enlightening study of how coffee farmers value microlots.
The information presented in "Do Microlots Matter to Producers" derives from a study conducted by Counter Culture Coffee and published in March 2012 titled, "The Social Impacts of Microlots: A Coffee Cooperative Case Study in Ihuamaca, Peru." The study aimed to measure the social impacts of microlot selection on members of the CENFROCAFE cooperative in five Peruvian communities where Counter Culture Coffee has purchased coffee over the last five years.
Read more about the microlots study and see the results in the Sustainability section of our website.
We're honored to have won the 2012 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year Award.
The Institute for Sustainable Development chose Counter Culture as its 2012 Sustainable Enterprise of the Year out of the more than 200 companies that participate in the Green Plus triple-bottom-line certification program across 15 states. We were one of the first businesses to sign up for the then-brand-new Green Plus program in 2008, and we have come a long way since then, so it feels especially good to receive this public recognition for our efforts.
Last week's launch of our first-ever advocacy campaign, Save Our Soil, is a great example of how we continue to push our industry and communities to pursue real sustainability.
I am grateful to and appreciative of the role that each of my co-workers has had in making our initiatives successful over these past four years and excited to continue our journey! Go team!
Kim Elena
POSTED IN: sustainability