Why You Should Buy Fair Trade Coffee

Why You Should Buy Fair Trade Coffee

 

“I don’t think I knew how going to Ethiopia would affect my life, through a very simple choice of buying fair-trade coffee, we can take part in change.”
– Hugh Jackman

 

Can you imagine being completely at the mercy of just any company/corporation willing to purchase your product, even for next to nothing, just so you can support your family and satisfy their most basic needs?!  Having no say in what you sell your goods for.  Being forced between practically giving it away or making NO money at all.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  All opinions are my own.  Please read our disclosure policy for more information.

 

Cheated

 

Coffee farmers are among some of the most diligent, hard-working people in the world.  And as a whole, they are being cheated.  There’s no easy way around it.

 

What do you think about that?  How would you feel if this were you?  All you want is to be able to work hard and provide a good life for your family.  This is truly all they want!  Don’t we owe them that, at the very least?  We have the ability to easily change the lives of so many people around the world!

 

Fair trade coffee is starting to take over, in grocery stores and coffee shops all around the U.S.  But do you really understand what the term means?  I recently watched a documentary called Dukale’s Dream, which shows how the actor, Hugh Jackman, felt that he needed to make a difference in the way he lives, and in the lives of those at the mercy of the coffee industry in Africa.

 

Authentic Fair Trade Coffee

 

He took a trip to Ethiopia with World Vision to visit some of the coffee farms, and while he was there, met a young farmer named Dukale.  I don’t want to spoil the film for you, so you’ll have to watch it to see for yourself.  Trust me, you won’t make it to the end before you feel like you should be doing a small part to help make a difference as well.  The documentary is available here.

 

 

If you watched the preview, I’m sure you are just dying to see the whole film.  I know I was!

What is Fair Trade Coffee?

Now you’re probably asking yourself, what in the world is fair trade coffee?!  Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you.  The short and simple answer, is that it is coffee, which is produced and sold at a fair price for the farmers.  The farmers participate in a cooperative, which then goes out and searches for buyers, who are willing to pay a slightly higher price for the beans.

 

So how does buying fair trade coffee help the farmers, or benefit me?  When you buy fair trade coffee, you are supporting the farming communities who are working hard to provide you with the highest quality coffee that your money can buy.  Fair trade coffee has a base price, which is set by the International Fair Trade Organization.  They are the people working to make sure that the farmers are getting paid enough, and the consumers aren’t paying way too much.  It’s pretty much a win win for everyone involved!

 

Buying fair trade coffee helps the families of the farmers so that they can live comfortably, and have money for food, shelter, and clothing.  I watched another documentary called Back Gold.  The farmers in this particular film were not involved in the fair trade cooperative, and they were struggling to survive and provide for their large families.

 

 

If they were lucky, they were getting 23 cents for a kilogram of beans, which is roughly 2.3 lbs.  Think about how many cups of coffee 2.3 lbs of beans can make (it’s roughly 80).  So when Starbucks sells that coffee for $3 a cup, that comes out to about $240 worth of coffee that can be sold.  It doesn’t make sense that some of these large coffee organizations couldn’t give a little more to these farmers.  Most of the farmers in this film even said that all they needed to earn in order to support themselves and their families was 57 cents to $1.10 per kilogram.  That’s still so cheap!  I would love to buy coffee for that price!

 

Finally, you should buy fair trade coffee because it is good for the environment, and for your health.  Fair trade coffee is produced without the use of harmful pesticides, which pollute the earth with toxic chemicals.  Most companies producing non fair trade coffee require the farmers to spray the trees with these pesticides, but they provide little to no protection or training to them in how to use them.  The farmers and their families end up getting extremely sick with diseases caused by these chemicals.  If it makes them sick, why in the world would we want it in our dang coffee!!

 

Direct Trade Coffee

 

If you’ve heard of fair trade coffee, chances are, you’ve also heard of direct trade.  And you’re probably also wondering what the difference is.  If you thought they were the same, it’s ok, I did too until I did a little research on it.

 

Judging by the name, you can probably guess that direct trade coffee is coffee that is purchased directly from the grower, by the roaster.  This method is great for the grower, because it cuts out all the middlemen involved, and the farmers don’t have to pay to be involved in a cooperative.  Which means you get an excellent bean, at an even better price, and the farmer doesn’t have to pay a percentage to a cooperative.

 

Like fair trade, direct trade also ensures that the farmers are receiving a fair price for their beans and that they are producing them using environmentally friendly practices.  When I start selling my own line of coffee, I will probably buy them directly from the farmers.  I want to have a personal relationship with the people growing my coffee beans. Wouldn’t you?

 

Which One is Better?

 

When it comes down to deciding whether you should buy fair trade or direct trade coffee, I don’t think there is a right or wrong choice.  Either option is better than buying the brands that our parents and grandparents always drank. (Unless they drank fair trade)  The days of Folgers and Maxwell House are coming to an end, and it’s time for us to start doing our part.

 

These big name brands are only causing harm to the coffee producers, and lets face it, their coffee really doesn’t taste good. (have you drank Maxwell House lately?  What did they put in there?  It’s like an ashtray!)  But I digress… Maybe some day those companies will wake up to what’s going on and decide to change as well.

 

After visiting Ethiopia, Hugh Jackman decided that he needed to do more than just speak out and encourage people to buy only fair trade.  So he started the Laughing Man foundation.  He has multiple coffee shops in New York City, which sell only fair trade coffee, and 100 percent of his profits goes back into the community and to helping farmers like Dukale.

 

So, now that you know a little more about fair trade and direct trade, it’s time for you to do a little thinking, and decide whether you should change how you look at that coffee you drink each morning.  Are you going to help the big businesses that don’t care about anything but making an extra buck?  Or are you going to help these small farming cooperatives, and buy fair or direct trade coffee?  I’ve added a few excellent fair trade coffee brands below to help you if you don’t know which brands to buy.

 

 

I would love to know what my readers think about this subject, so please leave a comment or shoot me an email.  And tell me, what will you do to make a difference?

 

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