For Roasters & Retailers

Bi-coastal roaster releases annual Transparency Report

Counter Culture Coffee gets FRANK! Bi-coastal roaster releases annual Transparency Report

Counter Culture Coffee released its annual Transparency Report on Friday. The independently-owned coffee company is the only roaster in the industry to provide this level of transparency into its sourcing model.

“Viewing our business through a lens of sustainability has been an important aspect to our success for more than two decades,” explained Brett Smith, founder and president of Counter Culture. “By sharing this report, we create accountability for ourselves—leading to a greater level of trust with our partners.” The report, published for its ninth consecutive year, provides information about each of the 354 coffee contracts the company made over the last two harvests

“Unlike many other roasters, we aim to buy all of our coffee through long-term partnerships with producers, which means we’re invested in the continued success of our producer partners as much as our own.,” explained Meredith Taylor, Counter Culture’s sustainability manager.

In 2017, Counter Culture purchased coffee from 67 different farmers and farmer groups. About two-thirds of those producers are existing partners, and the company is currently exploring long-term partnerships with 20 of the remaining producers.

Impressively, for this harvest cycle, 73.7 percent of the coffee purchased (by volume) came from partnerships that provide lot separations specifically for Counter Culture. This practice allows the coffee company to increase its purchasing volume from long-term partners, because these different lots gives more flexibility for where these coffees can be used among the company’s products. This is the first year the company is digging deeper into prices, with the goal of knowing the farmgate price—the price the farmer gets paid—for each one of its coffees. Thus, released alongside the Transparency Report is the company’s latest limited release: FRANK!

FRANK! Brings attention to the average amount a coffee farmer makes versus an actual living wage. “I hope that other roasters see FRANK! and are inspired to start asking questions about the prices paid to farmers in their own supply chains,” Taylor said. “I hope consumers become more aware of the fact that not all specialty coffee is created equal. The way in which coffees are purchased and the extent to which roasters work with their supply chain partners to address tough issues can have a big impact on farmer livelihoods.” The goal of releasing the Transparency Report and FRANK! is to empower consumers in their purchasing processes and enable producing-partners to feel confident in their partnerships with the company—and encourages its competitors to do the same.

The full transparency report can be viewed at For additional information, please contact Sustainability Manager Meredith Taylor via email at

About Counter Culture Coffee Founded in 1995, Counter Culture Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster dedicated to finding and bringing to market the most exciting and delicious coffees in the world. The company’s vision is to pursue coffee perfection by creating partnerships dedicated to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. Counter Culture has 11 training centers across the country including locations in New York, NY; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Washington, DC; Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Emeryville, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and its headquarters in Durham, NC. Served in some of the country’s top restaurants, Counter Culture Coffee is available in coffee shops, specialty grocers, and online at

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