What is single-origin coffee?

Single-origin refers to coffee from a specific farm, estate, or processing mill. Emphasizing source to this degree highlights the characteristics found in coffees from different countries, regions, towns, and farms. It demands quality and transparency and respects everyone who had a hand in getting it to your cup.

How long is fresh-roasted coffee fresh?

Coffee remains fresh for about 2 weeks with peak flavors occurring 3-10 days after roasting. Each variety and roast is different, but this is a good rule of thumb. It won’t taste bad if brewed on the 15th day, it’ll just begin to lose some of the qualities we worked so hard to showcase. No big deal.

How should I store my coffee?

In an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Our zippered, foil-lined bags work well. Mason jars are also a good choice. Refrigeration is unnecessary and can lead to moisture problems. Try a dark cupboard instead.

Do you sell ground coffee?

Ground coffee stales very quickly. Roasted coffee kept in whole bean form and ground only when ready to be brewed will taste significantly better. Investing in a quality burr grinder is a good step towards better tasting coffee, although any old grinder will work. That said, we do not offer ground coffee for online sales but if you pick up a bag in the shop we'd be happy to grind it for you.

Why don’t you indicate roast levels?

Coffee roast levels are a bit subjective and an unfair assessment of roast development and flavor. We roast to best hightlight each coffees inherent flavors. That said, we usually keep things between in the medium to medium light range (City and Full City) for most beans.

How do you source your coffee?

We work with an importer who shares our values of quality, fairness, and transparency. Working with someone who has developed close relationships with farmers and whose sole job is finding the world’s best coffee allows us the freedom to focus on roasting it. That’s our job.

Do you sell certified Fair Trade coffees?

The idea of Fair Trade coffee is great. It is, however, another step between the farm and your cup. Very little of the price markup associated with this certification goes to the people growing and harvesting the coffee. Our importer works directly with farmers whenever possible, offering prices that are almost always above what they would receive by selling through a Fair Trade program and always above those offered by coyotes.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review offers a thorough explanation in its 2011 article The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee and an equally thoughtful counterpoint.

Do you sell certified organic coffee?

Labeling a coffee as organic runs into some of the same problems as Fair Trade. Yes, it’s good, but it’s not always practical or possible for a small farmer to obtain this certification. The use of herbicides to grow specialty-grade coffee is generally much less prevalent than with commodity-grade coffee or other agricultural crops. We'll let you know if a particular coffee is certified organic, though.

If I like one of your roasts, will it be around forever?

Each coffee we carry is the product of a seasonal harvest. What’s good one year may not be as great the next for a number of reasons. If we find a real winner, we’ll try to have it around for awhile, but there’s no guarantee we’ll have it next season.

And speaking of seasons, coffees from different growing regions are harvested at different times (see Counter Culture's map). While unroasted, green coffee has a pretty long shelf life, we like to rotate new coffees into the lineup to showcase the latest crops.

Where do you get the names for the coffees?

The coffees are named after the farm, mill, or region they are sourced from. This keeps things simple (if not always simple to say). No fancy names or marketing schemes, just the facts about the coffee and our thoughts on it.