Counter Culture Direct Trade


Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification is the world's first 3rd-party certified Direct Trade coffee standard, representing the clear set of principles that guide our paradigm-breaking approach to sustainable, exceptionally delicious coffee.

Setting the Standard for Fair & Sustainable Coffee

The search for high-quality, sustainably produced coffee has become a little confusing lately. And those yearning to somehow engage or learn about the people who produce their coffee as they might with their favorite vendors at the farmers’ market must first navigate a sea of seemingly similar brands and marketing claims. We think it’s time for more clarity, directness, and peace of mind.

Establishing a new standard for supply chain transparency, Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification represents the clear set of quality-driven principles that guide our paradigm-breaking approach to sustainable coffee.

We spend an unprecedented amount of time with our grower partners on their farms, engaging in the kind of personal, direct communication that builds trust and lays the groundwork for long-term, mutually supportive relationships.

Personal & Direct Communication

We spend an unprecedented amount of time with our grower partners on their farms, engaging in the kind of personal, direct communication that builds trust and lays the groundwork for long-term, mutually supportive relationships. Such direct collaboration allows us to: 

  • Work side by side with farmers to improve quality
  • Encourage ecologically responsible cultivation methods
  • Assess social practices and working conditions
  • Learn more about the cultures and people who produce great coffee

These direct relationships, and the quality, sustainability, and learning they foster, are the essence of the Counter Culture Direct Trade model.

Fair & Sustainable Prices Paid to Growers

Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification guarantees at least $1.60/lb. for our green coffee purchases, a minimum price that exceeds the Fair Trade Certified floor price by 19%. While $1.60/lb. sets a new, higher standard for green coffee purchases, we pay more than this minimum price for most Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees, not including the additional financial premiums we pay for exceptional quality.

We partner with quality-focused coffee farmers who share our passion to produce the best coffees in the world.

Exceptional Quality & Grower Incentives

We partner with quality-focused coffee farmers who share our passion to produce the best coffees in the world. All Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees must score at least 85 on a 100-pt. cupping (cup quality) scale. We also build quality-based financial incentives into our coffee purchases and reward the most exceptional coffees with the highest prices. Most Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees, however, score higher than 85 and therefore receive more than the minimum price.

100% Transparency

All Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees are purchased via transparent transactions that recognize each individual’s role in the supply chain. We collaborate with grower partners to determine the price they receive first, and only then negotiate for other services such as processing, export, and import. This way, all parties clearly understand their responsibilities and compensation. We take this transparent approach to everything we do and are committed to sharing our financial information with everyone from growers to consumers.

All Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees are purchased via transparent transactions that recognize each individual’s role in the supply chain.

3RD Party Certification

Counter Culture Direct Trade Certified coffees are guaranteed 100% compliant with the following standards:

1. Personal & Direct Communication:
Counter Culture has visited grower partners on a biennial basis, at minimum.

2. Fair & Sustainable Prices:
Counter Culture has paid at least $1.60/lb. for green coffee. This exceeds the Fair Trade Certified floor price by at least 19%, not including quality-based financial incentives paid to growers.

3. Exceptional Quality:
Coffees have scored at least 85 on a 100-pt. cup quality scale.

4. 100% Transparency:
We take a transparent approach to everything we do and are committed to sharing our financial information with everyone from growers to consumers. Counter Culture maintains direct communication between buyers, sellers, and any intermediaries. All relevant financial information is available to all parties, always.

We partner with Quality Certification Services (QCS) to verify our compliance with Counter Culture Direct Trade Certification standards. QCS is a USDA accredited certifier of food and craft products. QCS certifies Farming, Wildcrafting, Livestock, Processing, Packing, and Handling operations.

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