Counter Culture Coffee logo

Counter Culture Coffee

Coffee Buyer

COFFEE · Durham, North Carolina
Department COFFEE
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Mid-level


                                                                                                                           CounterCultureLogoJobs_NEW (1).png

 Counter Culture Coffee was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Durham, NC, with regional offices in 12 major cities across the country.  Counter Culture Coffee has been continuously innovating in the coffee industry and we’re looking for passionate, dynamic, diverse team members to help us expand our efforts.

Counter Culture Coffee is:

Quality Coffee | We continue to cultivate relationships with growers and organizations around the world in order to build trust, improve quality, and foster transparency.

 Education | We believe the pursuit of coffee perfection includes educating ourselves, our partners, and our customers about the coffee supply chain and the best methods of preparation.

 Sustainability | Our commitment to affecting positive change in every community to which we are connected is driven by our belief that we can–and should–always strive to improve upon the present.

 Transparency | We are committed to sustainability and holding ourselves and our peers accountable for creating a more sustainable future of coffee.

Position: Coffee Buyer

FLSA Status: Exempt


Location: Durham, North Carolina


Coffee Buyer Job Overview:

Counter Culture Coffee is hiring for a full-time, experienced Coffee Buyer based out of our Durham roastery in North Carolina. The mission is to build and maintain coffee value streams that align with our core values and support the needs of our customers. Coffee Buyers manage green coffee contracts and logistics for green coffee purchased from selected countries for Counter Culture’s east and west coast roasting facilities. They also take the lead on managing specific producer partnerships and projects at origin. This individual must work closely with multiple departments––operations, sales, sustainability, marketing, and the other quality analysts and coffee buyers––to keep all of our purchases and information organized for the right timing and use.  They report to the Coffee Manager (based out of Durham, NC).

Counter Culture’s Coffee Buyers must be coffee driven with both a passion for and an extensive knowledge about coffee and it's origins. Coffee Buyers are expected to explore ways to improve existing partnerships and coffee quality as well as seek out new supply chains that align with our purchasing values. Our ideal candidate has a vast understanding of the specialty coffee industry and quality control protocols used in professional cupping settings.  

Job Duties: 

Producer Relations: 

Closing the loop from seed to cup

  • Communicating Counter Culture’s purchasing principles and sales practices with coffee producers and suppliers 

  • Domestic and international travel, possibly on weekends and holidays, for periods of a week or more to remote regions of the world.

  • Gathering and hearing the concerns of producers and advocating for solutions within our value streams

  • Working with Coffee Department to implement sustainability initiatives within value streams they manage

Purchasing Coffee:

Managing contracts, communication, and logistics with coffee suppliers in particular origins 

  • Initiating contracts with suppliers based on the Coffee Managers’ forecast

  • Communicating with suppliers regarding samples and approvals/rejections

  • Making our coffee better: compiling and communicating QA feedback (physical notes, cupping scores, roasted sales and downblend performance) to appropriate members of the supply chain


  • Providing reports/updates from travels and/or communications with origin to the department

  • Providing reports/information from travels to staff 

  • Creating marketing materials and copy for coffee products 

  • Organizing information for coffee product rollouts

  • Contributing to general CCC marketing needs


  • Evaluating coffee in a professional setting.
  • Being an excellent cupper: cupping daily and giving appropriate scores

  • Assisting in maintaining a database of cupping scores and notes

  • Calibrating regularly with other CCC Quality Analysts and Coffee Buyers


  • Organizing, verifying and communicating information
  • Tracking and verifying transparency (specifically regarding prices) in supply chains

  • Contributing to a database of information about coffees––prices, volumes, sales channels, etc––for use in the CCC Transparency Report


  • Managing coffee logistics from contracts to arrivals.
  • Reducing logistical costs through managing the most efficient shipping and destinations

  • Managing a coffee inventory position and database

Overall Requirements:

  • 5 years of specialty coffee industry experience, with at least 3 years as a coffee buyer

  • Cupping Skills 

  • Understanding the commodity of coffee and the specialty coffee trade specifically

  • Communication skills: ability to effectively communicate with all stakeholders in coffee supply chains

  • Ability and willingness to travel, domestically and internationally, possibly on weekends and holidays

  • Valid driver’s license and passport

Overall Preferred Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Language skills in Spanish, French, Amharic, or Swahili

  • Sample Roasting 

  • Understanding contracts and purchasing terminology including farmgate, FOB, FOT, NANS, SAS, PSS, Offer, Ex-Whse

  • Experience or familiarity with Counter Culture’s purchasing principles

Overall 90-Day Goals:

  • Become familiar with all CCC coffee sourcing projects: duration, volume, price, customer appeal, unique conditions

  • Become familiar with the company structure, policies, personnel, etc. 

  • Understand the CCC buying philosophy and strategy

  • Become calibrated with the cuppers in the CCC laboratories

  • Strong understanding of Counter Culture’s vision, mission, values, and plan

  • Lead in managing value streams within assigned origins or partnerships 

  • Identify key flavor characteristics of each of Counter Culture’s coffee offerings  

  • Evaluate any coffee using the CCC cupping form and scoring system

  • Demonstrate proficiency with the basics of coffee purchasing contract terms: FOB and FOT, fixed and differential, SAS, NA/NS, Ex-warehouse, hedging, futures, volume/cup quality/price relationships

Physical Aspects of this Job:

The physical activity of this position: 

Balancing: maintaining body equilibrium to prevent falling and walking, standing or crouching on narrow, slippery, or erratically moving surfaces. Stooping: bending body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist. Crouching: bending the body downward and forward by bending leg and spine.  Reaching: extending hand(s) and arm(s) in any direction.  Standing: particularly for sustained periods of time.  Walking: moving about on foot to accomplish tasks, particularly for long distances or moving from one work site to another.  Pushing: using upper extremities to press against something with steady force in order to thrust forward, downward or outward.  Pulling: using upper extremities to exert force in order to draw, haul, or tug objects in a sustained motion.  Lifting: raising objects from a lower to a higher position or moving objects horizontally from position-to-position.Fingering: picking, pinching, typing or otherwise working, primarily with fingers rather than with the whole hand as in handling. Grasping: applying pressure to an object with the fingers and palm. Feeling: perceiving attributes of objects, such as size, shape, temperature or texture by touching with skin, particularly that of fingertips. Talking: expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word, those activities in which they must convey detailed or important spoken instructions to other workers accurately, loudly, or quickly. Hearing: perceiving the nature of sounds at normal speaking levels with or without correction; ability to receive detailed information through oral communication, and to make discriminations in sound. Repetitive motion: substantial movements (motions) of the wrists, hands, and/or fingers.

The physical requirements of this position: Light work. Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects.

Visual acuity requirements including color, depth perception, and field vision: Employee is required to have close visual acuity to perform an activity such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading; visual inspection involving small defects, small parts, and/or operation of machines (including inspection); using measurement devices; and/or assembly or fabrication parts at distances close to the eyes. Employee is required to have visual acuity to determine the accuracy, neatness, and thoroughness of the work assigned or to make general observations of facilities or structures.

The conditions the worker will be subject to in this position: Employee is subject to environmental conditions. Protection from weather conditions but not necessarily from temperature changes. Employee is subject to noise. There is sufficient noise to cause the worker to shout in order to be heard above the ambient noise level. Employee is subject to hazards. Includes a variety of physical conditions, such as proximity to moving mechanical parts, moving vehicles, electrical current, working on scaffolding and high places, exposure to high heat or exposure to chemicals. Employee is subject to atmospheric conditions; one or more of the following conditions that affect the respiratory system of the skin: fumes, odors, dust, mists, gases, or poor ventilation.


Benefits: Currently, the offered benefits include: group health (medical, dental and vision), available the first of the month after 30 days of employment; Flexible Spending Accounts for Healthcare and for Dependent Care; short- and long-term disability; life insurance; 401(k) program; paid time off; six company holidays. 


Counter Culture Coffee is an Equal Opportunity Employer in both policy and practice.

Counter Culture Coffee assesses candidates for employment based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job for which they are applying and without regard to any non-job related category as protected by federal, state or local law.


Finalist candidates for employment will be required to pass a reference check process, successfully complete a post-offer/pre-employment criminal background check, and demonstrate USA employment eligibility (per federal and state law, Counter Culture Coffee participates in the federal E-Verify program).


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  • Location
    Durham, North Carolina
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience