coffee with a purpose
Roasted in forest, va | since 2016
What is Fair Trade Coffee & Does It Matter?
Posted on May 04 2022,
Since we opened we focused on buying coffee lots that made positive impacts on those growing it and their communities around them. We believe that all people have been created in the image of God and deserve to be treated with love, get paid fairly, and be able to provide clean water, food, and a home for their family. Fair trade wasn't previously a priority because we have been paying farmers multiple times over fair trade prices and had better tasting coffees than we could often find with coffees that had certification.
What changed then, what made us start buying several FTO coffees this year? The change started with our new friends at Mighty Peace Coffee. Their incredible work at facilitating humanitarian aid and improving the lives of the Congolese farmers they partner with was a catalyst for us to find coffees that take care of the earth and farmers at a higher level than ever.
This is how Mighty Peace describe their "Peace Trade" coffees:
"Congolese farmers are full of vibrant optimism and hope for change. Your individual contributions will positively impact the lives of children, women, and men whom are dreaming of independence, freedom, and peace. Your purchase of Mighty Peace Coffee directly stimulates economic activity, raising the living standards of hardworking farmers, while ending the cycle of poverty, conflict, and injustice."
They focus on having the highest labor standards, fair trade certifications, environmentally stable farming, organic certifications, and they partner with local, national, and international agencies along with the U.N. to facilitate their humanitarian aid.
We currently have their Congo Mapendo on site, shelf, and it is on our pour over menu. Mapendo, which is Swahili for Love, is farmed in 16 separate lots by 4,200 farmers, nearly 40% of which are women. Mapendo farmers produce fully washed coffee that has been certified FTO since 2009. There is also a list at the bottom of this blog of all seven current Organic coffees and you will see organic stickers on these coffees if you grab a bag here on the site or in our shop.
Fair Trade and Organic certifications are not always the answer or even the best thing for farmers. It takes research, time, and money to get certified and Fair Trade is often not even that fair. Last year the minimum $/Lb set for Fair Trade was $1.40 / Lb for green coffee, in 2021 our average price per lb of green coffee was over 3x this minimum, no coffees bought were ever below or close to this minimum. For most coffee farmers $1.40 a lb is not even sustainable and far away from being fair.
For this reason we have never made it a point to buy coffees with certifications but rather find good companies working directly in country, paying farmers fairly, who prioritize traceability, and who make efforts to make the lives in coffee growing regions better. This doesn't change but now we have found coffees that are certified, score high enough for our criteria, and they directly and positively impact the lives of those growing our coffee. Our goal hasn't changed but rather we gained a new tool in the effort to seek Fair and Good coffees that taste good but more importantly do good across the world. Our goal is to continue building relationships from afar, travel when it is safe for us to do so, and ultimately find ways to share the love of God to all people in and through our coffee. This means more fundraisers, more focus on coffee producers, and eventually more trips overseas to visit farms and share God's love in person in and around the farms we source our coffee.
Current Fair and Good Organic Coffees:
Congo Katana - Fair Trade Organic (coming soon)