Fair Trade Coffee ensures that small coffee farmers get a fair price for their coffee. The primary aim of Fair Trade Coffee is to provide the world’s coffee producers a fair price for their harvest. This will allow farmers to maintain a decent living wage. Fair Trade guarantees to poor farmers organized in cooperatives around the world a minimum price per pound regardless of the volatile market.
Fair Trade is an attempt to level the playing field between consumers in North America and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Fair Trade Certified coffee is the first product being introduced in the United States with an independently monitored system to ensure that it was produced under fair labor conditions.
Fair Trade Coffee got started in the US in 1986. An Equal Exchange was established to import Nicaraguan coffee as an expression of solidarity with the people and revolution of Nicaragua. Fair trade coffee is designed to assist poor coffee farmers that often produce high quality gourmet coffee in organic conditions.
Fair trade coffee is designed to rectify one of the biggest inequities in the coffee economy. Coffee is one of the three most traded commodities in the world and is vital to many country’s economies. However, in recent years the price of coffee beans has dropped significantly. Despite the lowered cost of coffee, retail coffee prices remain high, which means that corporations are becoming wealthier at the expense of the small coffee farmer and the consumer. A drop in coffee prices means that many small farmers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean may face poverty.
The best condition for coffee to be grown in is in a coffee plantation full of shade trees. Shade-grown coffee slows down the maturation of the coffee bean, which allows the coffee bean to develop more natural sugar, less caffeine, and a better flavor. Fair trade coffee is designed to support the small coffee farmer that employs shade-grown coffee growing techniques. Shade grown coffee growing techniques do not have an adverse affect on the soil and water on coffee farms. The shade growing coffee conditions produce organic coffee, which have been praised by coffee lovers for having a superior taste.
Across the country, there are over 100 companies that have licensing agreements with TransFair to offer Fair Trade Certified coffee. Major roasters include Starbucks, Tully’s, Peet’s, Equal Exchange, Diedrich, and Green Mountain, serving over 7,000 retail locations, with volumes rising every day.