August 31 • Coffee Producers
Who wants to drink a boring cup of coffee?
Life’s too short to drink lousy coffee – or so the cliché goes. Life’s too short to do anything half-hearted, so I’m going to assume that you like your coffee to be nice, not crap.
As I’ve come to find out, there is coffee, and then there is coffee. The latter is the type of coffee is the kind that will knock the feet from underneath you and make you want to come back for more, time and again.
Now, if you’re a part of the millennial generation, there’s a good chance that you care about the environment. It’s an entirely relevant topic that needs addressing, even when it comes to admiring the art of coffee drinking.
This is why more and more coffee companies these days are pushing themselves to the brink of transparency and honesty when it comes to their brew.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m pretty confident when I say that you not only want to drink your coffee and love it, but you also want to know where your coffee has come from, too.
No longer do we sit around happily turning a blind eye to the ways of the world. Now, we want to expose them and are encouraging our most loved companies to do the same.
Counter Culture is a coffee company that rolls everything into one, delectable package. Not only do they care about the environment and where their coffee beans come from, but they also had the forethought to include public coffee tasting sessions. There’s nothing a millennial likes more than an invitation to an exclusive coffee tasting, am I right?
The trailblazing of Counter Culture might have even coincided with the year you were born. 1995 was a good year for North Carolina, which up until then only had Waffle House to rely on for a regular brew.
In 1997, Counter Culture revealed that they had a secret bird obsession, launching a line of bird-friendly coffees called Sanctuary Coffee. Believe it or not, they are so obsessed with birds that they led the way, and became one of the first roasters to sell shade-grown coffee.
In 2002, North Carolina finally accepted that some of its residents might want to drink organic coffee and Counter Culture paved the way again, introducing the first certified-organic coffee roaster in the state.
You’ll love the other tradition beginning on this day, too. Counter Culture has held weekly Friday public cuppings in each regional location since this memorable year.
Now, let’s address the environment. You’ll be happy to learn that it didn’t take Counter Culture too long to address this issue, either. This was most likely before you’d even heard from them.
2003 was the year of the tree when Counter Culture introduced codification to ensure that their dedication to social and environmental sustainability was real.
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for – the day that Counter Culture lifted the curtain and invited customers to visit their coffee farms in Nicaragua.
We know that there are many coffee companies out there who provide videos and interviews about their sources – but there aren’t that many that bridge the gap between source and customer to this extent. We know this impresses you.
In case you weren’t sure whether we knew you or not, let us bring you to the other moment you’ve been waiting for – the moment that Counter Culture launched their single-origin line of coffees. This was in 2007, and they haven’t looked back since.
If you’re someone who really cares about the environment, this Counter Culture is only going to taste better and better. 2010 was a year where they really upped the ante, introducing their Environmental and Education at Source program.
This meant that they focused on contributing financially to other projects in the area of their source. These projects were related to the coffee process, but not necessarily coffee itself.
Counter Culture has their fingers in many different pies. You’d be well within your rights to ask about the quality of the coffee. I mean, it’s all very well having a rap sheet of all the things you’ve done right over the years. But what’s the product like?
On that note, let’s get down to brass tacks. We’ll attempt to cover as many brews as we can here. Just know that Counter Culture has done a damn good job of covering all the bases. Let’s get into it.
Apollo: you are forgiven for thinking of astronauts and rocket ships when hearing the word Apollo. The lesser-known namesake, however, is found cultivated in the summer of 2010 by Counter Culture.
This floral, organic coffee originates from Ethiopia. Ethiopia is what some would consider being the coffee capital of the world – so you know it’s going to be good. Like the Apollo, this Counter Culture coffee lead the way regarding single-origin. In fact, they didn’t think it would stick, as it hadn’t really been done before. Fast forward eight years, and you’ve got a silky, floral coffee with a citrus kick that’s stood the test of time.
Big Trouble: it’s somewhat fitting that Counter Culture’s next brew is called big trouble, considering one of its two origins is Mexico, a well-beaten track of Pablo Escobar. Don’t worry, though – you won’t be supporting the drug trade when you try this dark, rich roast.
Big Trouble is 35% El Salvadorian and 65% Mexican. Like Pablo, Counter Culture actually had a bit of trouble in the beginning. Working out how to supply Big Trouble to all of its adoring fans was no easy feat, considering the small-scale farms it came from could be elusive.
So, what can we take away from this one? That it’s easy to brew but challenging to source. You’ll discover chocolatey, nutty flavors in this low-acid coffee that is reminiscent of caramel.
You can also rest easy knowing that Big Trouble has moved away from its original sources, settling for just one in Nicaragua. So, really it’s now small on trouble, but big on flavor.
We’re being told to cut soon, so we’ll leave the coffee descriptions at that. Just know, though, that there are many more flavors and varieties to explore from Counter Culture. If they’re all as good as the two we’ve tasted, then we know who our new favorite coffee company is.
We haven’t forgotten how much you love the environment – and neither has Counter Culture.
When you wake up in the morning and open that fresh bag of brew, you can go back to peaceful, restful nights knowing that there’s a coffee company out there advocating on your behalf.
July 15 • shots
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
August 11 • Cork
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We often hear this for things that are the industry standard...
August 12 • Soil & Minerals
Does chardonnay really taste like a river rock? The term minerality has been tossed around quite a bit in the sommelier’s vocabulary. In fact, it pervades all aspects of wine; found in wine descriptions and on the lips of winemakers...