Interview with Peter Guiliano, Director of Coffee and Co-Owner of Counter Culture Coffee, the best coffee ever!


What is Counter Culture Coffee’s food philosophy?

We believe that since food is one of the most basic ways we interact with the world, that food production, consumption and trade represent an amazing opportunity to interact with and experience the natural environment, the craftsmanship of talented artisans, and the intrinsic beauty of flavor. As consumers of food, we have the opportunity and responsibility to support the sustainable production of amazing, nutritious, delicious, wholesome food; and support the farmers and craftspeople who bring this food to us. We’re lovers of traditional foods, and we relish the opportunity to support small farmers at home and throughout the world.

Working in coffee gives us the opportunity to extend this food philosophy to places as far away as Ethiopia, Peru, and Sumatra. Farmers and food artisans there are creating amazing produce the same way farmers and food artisans are in the Southeast United States. It’s our mission to present coffee in this light, as a crafted food product with the same integrity as estate wine, artisanal cheese, or delicious local produce.

2. Tell me what sets Counter Culture Coffee apart from other coffees?

Well, the biggest difference is that our coffees represent a collaboration between the farmer and us (the roaster), with the goal of producing the highest quality coffee flavor experience we can. We believe that this collaboration creates coffees that have a flavor unparalleled by any coffee available in the marketplace. Deepening that experience is a knowledge of the origin of each coffee, which is available on our website and through extensive farm and tasting information on each bag of coffee we sell.

3. What qualities should one look for in a really good coffee?

Coffee is the most aromatic food there is, it has twice as many aromatics as the second runner-up, red wine. So, look for a coffee that smells good; many of those aromatics will wind up in the cup and bring flavor and complexity to the drinking experience. Aromas of fruit, butterscotch, chocolate, spice, and nuts are all good indications of a delicious coffee. When drinking coffee, sweetness indicates that the coffee was perfectly ripe when picked, and cleanness (the absence of any off flavors like mustiness), indicates the coffee was well processed. Most of all, the coffee should have a distinctive balance of flavors. Often, East African coffees will present intense fruity flavors, while Indonesian coffees will present spicy, earthy characteristics. Latin American coffees are known for their clean, gentle chocolate sweetness. We offer weekly coffee tasting instruction, at our “cuppings” at our training center at the King Plow Arts Center, which help consumers understand more about what to look for in great coffees.

4. Anything new on the horizon from Counter Culture?

The wonderful thing about working in seasonal produce like coffee is that we are constantly experiencing new surprises from our partners at origin! This fall, we’re excited about a special holiday roast from our friends in Dolok Sanggul, Sumatra; a collection of special coffee preparations from Aida Batlle’s Finca Mauritania in El Salvador, and a new crop from Kuta in Papua New Guinea, one of the most exciting coffee discoveries of the year! In Atlanta, we’re thrilled to be a part of the largest gathering of coffee professionals in the world, the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference. We’ve got a number of new classes and events brewing at our training center, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out more about those!

Julia’s tasting experience:
This coffee knocked my sox’s off. (Yes, I am from Boston and that’s how we write “socks”)
I was privileged to taste Counter Culter’s Gayo Aceh, Sumatra. I was truly amazed at this coffee’s balance and complexity. Simply rich, with a deep smooth lasting finish that did not burn. I was delighted to finally taste a coffee that had big weight and yet was still silky.
No wonder Counter Culture was just featured in the October issue of “Saveur” in the article “9 Great Coffees” on page 23. This coffee is definitely worth getting out of bed for!

For more information on Counter Culture Coffee please visit their web site or call Harris & Clark to purchase this finest coffee, Counter Culture is simply the best-

Posted by Julia L. Hurwitz


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