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“Direct Trade Coffee Infused with Generosity and Excellence”

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Why Direct Trade Coffee Is So Important

In May of this year (2019), coffee prices on the stock market fell to their lowest point in more than a decade.

As an end user in the coffee chain, you likely didn’t notice a price decrease in your morning cup of joe. This is because the retail price of coffee is not often closely linked to the price being paid to coffee farmers. So, a sharp decline in the global coffee market is not going to have a quick impact on your monthly coffee drinking budget (yes, for some of us it needs to be a separate budget category).

For MILLIONS of families around the world, however, this decline makes a big difference on their ability to support themselves with basic living needs. Globally, the coffee industry supports over 21 million families. That is a lot of people being negatively impacted by a decline in the coffee industry. Many coffee farmers this year likely were not even able to break even from their coffee harvests.

Much of this decline in price is due to a surplus of coffee coming out of Brazil (the world’s largest exporter of coffee) in the past two years. According to this article, coffee farmers globally are feeling the effects from this surplus and many of them are being forced to abandon their farms to try to find something more sustainable to support their family. This could potentially wreak long-term havoc on the global coffee industry.

The struggles of coffee farmers ring true to us here at Javataza Coffee. Since we have people on the ground in coffee growing countries that have direct communication with coffee farmers, we are always hearing first-hand the strain that coffee farmers face.

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The Solution: Direct Trade

Jose Sette, the executive director of the International Coffee Organization has a suggestion for how to counter this global strain on coffee farming. He says that “a promising approach for, at least the specialty coffee sector is to foster direct relationships between growers and roasters.”(source)

That is called the direct trade model of coffee sourcing.

That is the passion that we operate out of.

What is Direct Trade Coffee?

Direct trade coffee is a mutually beneficial model of sourcing coffee in which roasters buy directly from individual coffee farmers. This relationship cuts out the middle man buyers and sellers and often other organizations that control certifications, etc… As a result the farmers are able to be paid a sustainable rate for their coffee that is well above industry standards. The roaster is also able to be much more involved in quality control and often works directly with the farmers to implement sustainable farming practices and improve the quality of the coffee being grown.

We will never be able to completely eliminate the global rise and fall in coffee prices due to supply and demand. But we can make a difference. As more and more coffee is sourced through a direct trade model, the vulnerabilities that plague so many coffee farmers will be diminished, resulting in sustainability. This year many of our coffee farmers were paid more than 50% more than many of their fellow coffee farmers received for their coffee. We are never worried about not having enough coffee farmers to supply us with coffee. And, because of a sure income, our farmers don’t have to worry about having enough income to provide a living for their family this year.

This is why direct trade coffee is so important. It really does change lives.

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