Update for December 18th: We had a chance to talk early expansion plans with Nathan Brown, who heads up the marketing department at Counter Culture Coffee HQ in Durham. There's rumors swirling – swirling! – about some of the stuff Counter Culture has planned for their Emeryville, California roasting works and training center, which will be only the company's second roastery to open in its nearly 20 year history. Nathan Brown was necessarily guarded with his answers – there's a lot left to still be confirmed – but we're sharing with you today to supplement the scant info we had for our original post. Here's our brief Q&A:
Sprudge: Tell us about some of the unique stuff you have planned for California:Nathan Brown: We have a lot in development for the West Coast, and there are still far too many things under consideration to offer anything meaningful – or even speculative – on this. We're looking forward to sharing details with Sprudge and the Specialty Coffee world as they come together.
Okay, that's cool. It's still early. But can you tell us more about the team that you have planned for CCCC? (The extra “C” is for California.)We're starting with a small team to staff a Training Center facility for coffee professionals and home enthusiasts, and we'll be building out from there the remainder of our team in terms of roasting, QC, etc. Allen Yelent joins us as our first West Coast salesperson. Georgia Cronin is heading west from Team NYC to join Allen in a customer representative role.
Okay, so we know this is all fairly theoretical at this point, but here's a theoretical question: Sprudge.com is based in Portland. Does your expansion to Oakland mean we'll be more easily able to drink your coffees where we live? Not that we're at home that much, but you get the point we're going for.
I don't have much to add beyond what Brett has already said (see below). We're definitely excited to have the chance to offer Counter Culture Coffee to folks on the West Coast from a closer location. Obviously, this is a big step for us. We wanted to acknowledge that this is happening prior to the news coming out elsewhere. So, thanks very much for giving us a chance to share what we have so far.
Originally published on December 16th: Breaking today via Sprudge.com unexpected PR email waiver wire, we've got news that Counter Culture Coffee will open its first-ever training center and roasting facility on the West Coast of the United States, located at 1329 64th Street in Emeryville, California. According to PR firm Michelle Lehmann Communications, the Durham-based roaster “is expected to open its training center during the first quarter of 2014, with coffee roasting following in mid-2014. This West Coast hub will enable Counter Culture to develop a local presence and to more efficiently supply West Coast customers with the freshest coffee possible, while cutting down on the company's environmental footprint.”
Counter Culture Coffee founder Brett Smith is quoted thusly in the press release:
“San Francisco has long been known for its enthusiastic coffee community, and since we opened Counter Culture in 1995, it's been a dream to have a home on both coasts.”
“We are thrilled to now have the opportunity to better serve our West Coast customers and coffee enthusiasts – in a way that cuts down on our environmental footprint – and to welcome both professional baristas and home brewers who are as obsessed with coffee as we are.”
The space itself is a 12,000 square foot facility, with interiors designed by Jane Kim, a Columbia University architectural design professor whose previous work includes Counter Culture's recently opened training space in lower Manhattan.
We're in contact with sources at Counter Culture and will be updating this post as more information is made available. DEVELOPING…