All About Fair Trade Organic Coffee

fair-trade-coffee-transfair-usaIn our series of posts on coffee, you’ve read about our culture’s obsession with coffee shops and easy-to-use at home coffee makers. You’ve also read the pros and cons of drinking coffee. Now we’re happy to bring you more information on a new popular coffee trend: organic fair trade coffee.

Fair trade coffee is coffee purchased directly from growers for a higher price. It is one of many fair trade certified products available around the world. The purpose of fair trade is to promote healthier working conditions and greater economic incentive for producers. The Fair Trade movement was started in the Netherlands in 1988 because farmers were earning less and less when the price of coffee suddenly dropped and they could barely cover the costs of growing and harvesting coffee.

Now in order to become certified by TransFair USA, the organization that oversees the Fair Trade movement in the U.S., a coffee purchaser must pledge to pay a minimum price per pound (currently $1.26), provide credit in the form of loans to farmers, and provide technical assistance including help with transitioning to organic farming. This helps farmers and their families to earn money from growing and harvesting coffee when they otherwise wouldn’t. Other reasons TransFair USA, the non-profit and third-party organization was created was to help organize independent coffee growers into democratically run Cooperatives, establish a fair “minimum price” that growers are paid for the coffee, to certify that the grower is paid the pre-established Fair Trade price by the Importer/Roaster/Retailer for the coffee, to assure that the additional funds raised by the growers are funneled back into their local communities, and to raise US awareness to the plight of the coffee growers around the world and create a market for “Fair Trade Certified” Coffees in the US.

According to TransFair USA, Fair Trade Certified products are offered at more than 20,000 retailers across the U.S. and in the U.K., £493 million ($803 million in U.S. dollars) worth of products were sold under the FAIRTRADE Mark. Wondering where you can buy Fair Trade coffee? Look no further than a local coffee shop or retailer. Places you can buy Fair Trade coffee are Breugger’s, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Einstein Bagels, Indigo Coffee, Noah’s Bagels, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Starbucks, Tully’s Coffee, Costco, Kroger, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Target, Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods Market.

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  1. I don’t understand why we would need established ‘fair prices.’

    Considering your previous articles which stated that world demand for coffee has expenentially increased over the last decade and that the majority of Americans are heavily addicted to the highly caffeinated beverage, why would these jacked up prices be necessary?

  2. I too am a fan of Fair Trade Coffee from Sam’s club. It is a real bargain and a delicious bean which I buy whole and grind per cup with my amazing little grinder from Walmart ($14)that anyone can afford. This coffee is far superior to grocery store brands and packaging and supports the growers in their economic difficulties. I highly recommend the French Roast for a superior cup of coffee!

    I am really appreciating your articles!

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