Last week, Durham-based Counter Culture Coffee released their 2017 transparency report—a now annual tradition for the company dating back to 2010. The information-heavy report discloses prices paid for coffee, as well as digging deeper into what transparency and sustainability mean for the coffee brand, and the initiatives and metrics they use to assess these concepts. And for the first time, this year’s report coincides with the release of a limited edition coffee.
For those unfamiliar with transparency reports in coffee, they are essentially means for which a coffee roaster will show how much they paid for each of their coffees in a given year, usually represented by FOB (free on board), the “price of the coffee when it gets on the boat to leave the country or area of origin,” as Counter Culture defines it. We have reported on all manner of these reports in the past, including more straight-ahead documents like those from 49th Parallel and Tim Wendelboe all the way to Onyx Coffee Lab’s point-of-sale reporting, listing of the FOB price of each coffee on description/purchase page. Whatever the method, the goal of each transparency report is the same: to allow roasters to show what they pay for coffee in order to establish some sort of accountability, while simultaneously encouraging both consumer understanding and industry openness for how coffee is traded on a global scale.
The 2017 Counter Culture transparency report is the company’s most thorough and ambitious yet. Included in this report is a breakdown of their carbon footprint for the year as well as steps they have taken to offset it, quality initiatives like coffee variety testing and financial grant programs, along with contributions to the industry at large, and an interactive map showing FOB prices for each individual coffee roasted and sold by Counter Culture during the reporting year.
To coincide with the release of the 2017 transparency report, Counter Culture has also released FRANK!, a limited edition blend of 90% Ozolotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico and 10% Kushikamana, Embu, Kenya. FRANK! was created and released alongside the report to “[bring] attention to the average amount a coffee farmer makes versus an actual living wage,” per the press release.
There is so much information to digest in Counter Culture’s 2017 transparency report that a simple recap article doesn’t even begin to do it justice. To truly understand the level of detail provided—as well as the commitment to the complicated issued of sustainability—you really have to to take it all in for yourself, which you can do here. But be forewarned, this isn’t a one-page quick read. Best come prepared with a nice cup of coffee at your side.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.
Top image via Counter Culture
Disclosure: Counter Culture Coffee is an advertising partner on Sprudge Media Network.