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Breaking here today via purloined French Wifi on the SCAE show floor, the team at Denmark’s Coffee Collective have announced that they will beginning printing FOB prices on their roasted coffee retail bags. Hardcore coffee buyers and longtime professionals are already stunned, but for the casual Sprudge reader, we’ll explain why this is a remarkable and newsworthy move for the Copenhagen-based roaster.

What is FOB?

FOB is a trade term requiring the seller to deliver goods on board a vessel designated by the buyer. From Wikipedia: “FOB specifies which party (buyer or seller) pays for which shipment and loading costs, and/or where responsibility for the goods is transferred. The last distinction is important for determining liability or risk of loss for goods lost or damaged in transit from the seller to the buyer.”

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Why does this matter? 

Printing the FOB price on bags of retail coffee reveals exactly how much Coffee Collective has paid each exporter per pound. There are certainly other fine coffee purveyors who are printing green prices online, including Tim Wendelboe and Counter Culture Coffee, as well as green coffee importers who are transparent with their buying practices. But Coffee Collective’s decision to print on retail labels is the first of its kind, and will necessarily provoke direct reaction and conversation from the coffee drinking public in Copenhagen and beyond.

In a specialty coffee milieu in which Direct Trade is bandied about to the point of Orwellian meaningless, this is a direct representation of buying practices unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Best of all, this transparency is being printed clearly and concisely for public consumption.

Coffee Collective’s new labels include the following information:

  • The FOB price in $/lb.
  • The percentage this price is above market price
  • Years of established relationship with producer

Bags 3 is breaking this story, but Coffee Collective will go public on their new program in a matter of hours, revealing a great deal more detail on how and why they’re implementing this remarkable new approach to retail labeling.

We invite you cruise on over to the Coffee Collective blog for more information as it breaks.