This weekend is moving time for the twenty-one year old fiercely independent roasting powerhouse Counter Culture Coffee. The company, a friend and partner of this publication since 2010, will move move its roastworks, offices, and lab space from their deep Durham forest bungalow to a spacious new facility designed by architect Matthew Konar.
Konar and Counter Culture teamed up to convert a grain manufacturing plant into a high tech coffee hub in the center of an up-and-coming area in downtown Durham. Their neighbors include Triangle Brewing and Seeds Community Garden, and the new space is spitting distance from Durham mainstays like Fullsteam Brewery, Motorco Music Hall, Cocoa Cinnamon, and Geer Street Garden.
In a press release, Counter Culture Coffee President Brett Smith said of the location: “We have always called Durham our home, and since we roasted our first pound of coffee 20 years ago, we have wanted to be downtown. After many years of searching, we are incredibly excited to finally have found a new home in East Durham. The facility will accommodate our rapid growth and house a world-class training area for our customers and consumers. The new headquarters will also help Counter Culture accomplish a long-standing goal of being a larger part of the Durham community.”
The folks at Counter Culture Coffee have been keeping busy in recent years. The company opened a new West Coast division in Emeryville, California last year with 2012 US Barista Champion and Quality Control manager Katie Carguilo leading a team of roasters, wholesale trainers, and customer service representatives. Counter Culture opened its tenth training lab in Charleston, South Carolina last summer.
Counter Culture Coffee is one of very few wholesale-only operations in the United States. Its training centers are the closest they get to a retail brick and mortar, and are more a gentle mix of wholesale customer coffee craftwork and deeply involved educational courses. The centers are sprinkled across the country with facilities in New York City; Chicago; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Asheville, NC; Atlanta; and the aforementioned Emeryville and Charleston spots.
The roasting area at their new Durham HQ will feture a brand new Loring Smart Roast roaster, as well as two vintage Probats. The packing production area has been enhanced, and the green coffee is now stored in a massive climate-controlled area.
The new training space in Durham will be the company’s largest. Architect Konar worked with Counter Culture Wholesale Training Manager and training center developer Jesse Kahn to create a space with sustainability sourced materials (reclaimed wood bleachers, anyone?) and energy-efficient fixtures. The lab will also feature a brand new component: a kitchen-counter set-up to allow for home users to train with world class coffee professionals, like sitting US Barista Champion Lemuel Butler. There’s also a generous outdoor area for post-coffee-tasting chill outs and designed with events in mind, with ample room for food trucks to sidle up and start cookin’.
This coming Saturday, Counter Culture will host a party at the space and welcome the public into their new digs. Slug down a cold one, sling shots with barista champions, and cheers to Counter Culture Coffee’s new Durham digs.The new Counter Culture Coffee is located at 812 Mallard Avenue. The grand opening party is this Saturday, April 30th, from 10am - 4pm. There will be tours and tastings, food from Chef Ashley Christensen, local beer and entertainment.
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge.com. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.
Photos provided by Counter Culture Coffee.