hey yafnaro - check your personal messages as Ive sent you a recomendation.
Trying to find somewhere - either in Adelaide or on-line - where I can get fair-trade coffee - preferably canopy grown. Can anyone help me out? I do like my coffee, but I also want to try to live an ehtical life and ensure that those who grow my coffee are paid a fair price for it.
hey yafnaro - check your personal messages as Ive sent you a recomendation.
I worry about fair trade:
1. Fair Trade guarantees a price to the grower (often not significantly more than that regular coffee- which may well come from the same crop but goes to market as non FT- *but not to the employees (plantation workers) who are often paid extremely poorly
2. Fair trade spend much more on marketing Fair Trade than what is returned to Fair Trade growers
3. There is little guarantee of quality, unlike RFA and Cup of Excellence
4. Retailers rip off consumers by charging prices often in excess of $10/kg more for brown bean fair trade when their buy price can be the same or similar to regular wholesale prices (in the case of bgd, per kilo variations were less than 80c per kilo- decaf went down, regular organic went up). Fair trade green is not significantly more expensive.
5. Cafe owners sometimes charge a premium 30-50c per cup for Fair Trade. Unless this is going back to growers this dishonesty preys on gullible customers. I smell more rip offs here....
As usual, employ caveat emptor....
I believe that there are huge holes which need to be closed in the FT process.
Its the latest marketing buzzword.
I agree with 2MCM.
I agree with ethical practice, though it seems to me that the ethics stop once past the grower.
Well said 2mcm. Also
1) Fair trade is a brand name, it is not the only fairly traded coffee. Also, it is a co-op growing scheme, and not the only one out there. Most of the importors are part of other growing co-ops, run by coffee people not humanitarians. It is run by Oxfam, an extremely political organisation with track records of being expensive to run, how much gets back to the farmer?
2) There are very few exceptional fair trade coffees. If the coffee was good it would demand a better price by its quality.
3) Explore better alternatives. I support Rainforest Allience. They go in to teach growers about sustainability, and using the rainforests to get a better bean due to things like shade grown and forest decompisition. The better bean then demands a better price.
As another point. How funny is it that many people who ask if the coffee is fair trade will then have a soy (rainforest cleared, GE modified, breast cancer could be causing) latte.
Absolutely, PR!Originally Posted by Pioneer Roaster link=1170413898/0#5 date=1170483243
Interetsting to see that FT is now supposedly being audited- to ensure that roasters do the right thing (pay mega US dollars for the right to buy, roast and sell FT) etc...There is no audit process on retailers to ensure that they act ethically, nor on growers who continue to pay pickers at under the "agreed" rate....
Where are those beach houses and ferraris *:-?? People are being ripped off here.....
Its a shame that the knockers of FairTrade coffee dont deal regularly with my supplier, who is very reputable and produces excellent quality coffee, both FT and otherwise.
Its a shame also that many within the industry probably have not had the opportunity to speak to the same coffee growers that I have, who have nothing but the utmost praise for FT certification, and the impact that this has had on their community.
And its a shame also that a couple of dodgy operators bring the entire industry into disrepute.
And yes, FT may be the latest buzz word in coffee circles, but dont let that blind you to the good things that are happening here.
Treating each roaster and the product that they provide, regardless of whether they are FT certified or not, makes more sense to me.
"Dont let em grind you down" - anon :-/
Opps i meant to say treating each roaster "on their merits"
But Im sure you get the picture...
While were exploring this, what about the Utz Kapeh beans that we had in the poll a few months ago?
The price was very competitive which is relevant as noted above with the FT beans.
The info that I saw appeared to be promising, but has anyone any more experience to verify(or otherwise) the claims about workers welfare etc?
I am not knocking fair trade beans, only knocking the way the price always seems to go through the roof on these things as soon as they become trendy.
I believe wholeheartedly in fair trade and the grower getting a fair price on everything, not just coffee beans including Australia.
Agreed, and even though FT apparently spend an inordinate amount on marketing, if this is what is needed to draw attention to the plight of the farmer - then so be it...
Also, it could be argued that FTs disproportionate spending provides an opportunity for other excellent (ad)ventures, like Cup of Excellence, and Rainforest Alliance, to step up to the plate!
Fair trade not only applies to growers in 3rd or 2nd world countries.
Many supermarket chains here in Oz use terrible tactics on growers in this very country to keep prices down that are NOT reflected on the shelf. Many farmers get a pittance for their producethat barely covers their own costs.
Which is why I never buy produce from supermarket chains (besides which it is awful quality tasting)
Im not sure if this is allowed so mods, delete it if it is infringing any rules.
This is Alan Frews latest emial newsletter which I thought was relevant:
"Cause based coffees, that is coffees sold with the imprimatur of various
organizations such as Transfair, the Rain Forest Alliance etc., have been
getting a good run in the media lately. Some of this good publicity has come
about as a result of the film "Black Gold", which graphically displays the
plight of Ethiopians in the Oromia coffee farming region and contrasts it
with the price affluent consumers pay for coffee drinks at Starbucks.
As a polemic for Fair Trade and against the World Trade Organisation the
film works remarkably well, with maximum emotional impact. It emphasises the
rotten deal that Africa gets in terms of trade overall, and decries the
evils of Big Coffee, commodity trading, WTO farm subsidies etc.
What it doesnt do well is explain that the major reason for low coffee
prices worldwide is simply too much production of poor quality coffee, from
places like Vietnam and Brazil. As long as this rubbish is available the big
companies will continue to buy it at the cheapest possible prices and then
clean it up and foist it off in cans onto clueless, predominantly American
Since they buy this junk in preference to better quality but more expensive
coffees the overall price of coffee remains depressed, although it would
only take one season of bad weather in Brazil to alter the situation
There is no doubt that Fair Trade coffees, as promoted by Transfair and
Oxfam, can make a big difference to the livelihoods of some coffee farmers,
but there is a rarely discussed elephant in the Fair Trade room. The Fair
Trade system rewards coffee farmers for quantity, not quality. There is
simply no incentive to produce better coffee, just more of the same. The
situation is not helped by many coffee producing countries being their own
peoples worst enemies through government corruption and exploitation.
Its not all doom and gloom, though. One African country that reached
economic rock bottom after the genocide that saw 800,000 of its citizens
killed is Rwanda. With the help of USAID and other agencies a resurgent
coffee industry where quality is emphasised has been established.
Rwanda coffee now commands higher than Fair Trade prices, because its
quality means that demand exceeds supply. The whole production system has
been set up via a series of cooperatives to minimise middleman exploitation,
so the farmers receive adequate income for their efforts. Many of the
farmers are "Coffee Widows"
whose husbands died in the genocide, so there is a high "feelgood" factor at
work, but for me the economic and educational model is what Fair Trade
should be but isnt.
I dont buy coffee because its cheap, or charitable, but because it tastes
good. Taste is the ONLY criterion I apply to my purchasing decisions. True,
some of the coffees I buy are Fair Trade, but thats not the reason I buy
them, its how they taste.
Does anyone know how the latest C market price compares with the fair trade price? Its my understanding that the FT price hasnt changed for over a decade ... it would be nice to know the magnitude of the difference (if any) that it makes.
Alans article was spot-on.
Cup of Excellence and ECafe are great ways to reward quality. Although its only really CoE winners that get stratospheric prices, it seems to me that everyone who fares well gets a pretty good deal. If nothing else, its a good opportunity for farmers to get very valuable feedback on the taste of their crop. Such feedback has already led to some farmers adopting different processing techniques.
Alan refers to the PEARL project above, which is more grassroots than fair trade. PEARL is concerned with creating the infrastructure and the co-operatives necessary for the coffee industry, not with certifying people who meet criteria.
The whole economics of coffee farming presents complex problems that wont be solved by some random panacea. In practical terms, I doubt that any one scheme is going to cover the field, but a piecemeal approach is better than nothing. I just wish that everyone who was trying do do something to help coffee farmers would act with a high degree of transparency and proactivity in informing the public what they actually are doing.
Like the man says reward quality and excellence regardless of fashionable handles
At the end of the day it is the product and its relative merits which speak for themselves.
Yes there plenty of crap FT coffee out there, and yes there is some good stuff to be had as well.
I guess it depends on personal drinking preferences and how hard you are willing to look...