Fair Trade Coffee: Finding the Best Fair Trade Coffee Beans Today

fair trade coffee

Did you know your morning cup of coffee could actually be benefiting people in different parts of the world? This is the power of the Fair Trade Coffee Certification and its ability to radically alter the lives of coffee farmers and entire communities everywhere, especially with the rise of many types of coffee beans being introduced to the world. 

High quality coffee with positive treatment towards coffee farmers is something all coffee drinkers can probably get behind. You may have seen the term Fair Trade on everything from chocolate to sugar, and of course, coffee, but had no idea what it meant or why you should pay extra for it. 

Best Coffee Beans

What is Fair Trade Certified Coffee? 

Nowadays, we are well on our way towards a fair trade USA, as more ethical standards are being set here and all over the world. Almost every coffee shop has labels like certified organic or fair trade coffee.

Still, not many people understand what these terms mean within the coffee industry or how they work to create a better life for farmers. It all boils down to a strict set of standards and regulations to make the world, and the coffee production world, a better place for all. 

The fair trade system is committed to environmental sustainability and providing market access for customers to buy great coffee while also benefiting poor coffee growers with fair wages. Today, everyone involved in coffee production, from coffee roasters to the people who buy coffee every day, can help farm workers through sustainable practices like this. 

Bettering the Lives of Coffee Farmers

Here at Black Ink Coffee, as much as we love the taste of excellent coffee quality, we also love the taste of helping a local community of family farmers in the process and more fair labor conditions. This all makes each morning cup that much sweeter! 

Despite the booming coffee industry, coffee farmers have widely remained underpaid. The idea of fair trade coffee is one that seeks to change this and to revolutionize the entire coffee industry. 

Keep reading to find out about the fair trade model and all the ways you can help small producer organizations and developing countries around the world, simply by how you choose your coffee beans. 

History of Fair Trade 

In the 19th century, before fair trade coffee became as widely known as it is currently, it was a term used for a burgeoning grassroots movement. At that time, fair trade was used to indicate small, independent producers while helping to boycott slave made products in the USA. 

The trend became even more prominent after the second world war, as with the influx of immigration around the world, consumers began to demand more traceability and sustainability for imported products. 

This led to the creation of fair trade international, an organization that ensured a price floor to protect farming families from impacts of price volatility. So, with a minimum price set, this created more opportunities for products around the globe to be safe from boom and bust cycles. 

And as a result, we have seen even more ethical standards, which now make fair trade coffee certification a harbinger towards bettering the lives of coffee farmers everywhere. 

Improving Small Communities 

At its core, this movement in the coffee industry is all about helping local communities around the world. Through creating farmer organizations, community development, and environmentally sustainable coffees all at a fair price, fair trade certification is creating major changes in how international trade is done. 

Today, small farmers are gaining the ability to offer their quality coffees and to participate in direct trade, for the first time allowing workers from the poorest countries in the world to compete with the largest coffee producers. 

By paying a more fair market price towards workers, fair trade's equal exchange policies are helping to do more than just produce sustainable coffee. Through direct relationships with supply chains around the world, fair trade goods are helping to support community projects, empowering the countries where all your favorite organic coffee roasts are grown. 

So, fair trade products have the ability to impact small coffee companies and support farmers and everyone else along the supply chain, and in turn, their entire communities, more directly than any charity or nonprofit organization. 

While historically, big name coffee plantations have dominated the market, the fair trade movement has helped bring the power back into the hands of the coffee producers.

More than a Label 

Fair Trade Certified Coffee has many great guarantees that go into the certification process. Let's have a look at all the specifics. 

Fair Trade Price

This ensures that farmers and their families obtain a reasonable minimum price for their labor and their harvests. On top of this, some funds from fair trade coffee are also allocated towards community development. 

So, even if that makes higher coffee prices, there is a greater benefit that comes with it. On top of this, coffee growers who harvest certified organic coffee receive even higher premiums to benefit their communities. 

Environmental Sustainability

If you're a fan of organic coffee, then you will also love what the fair trade system is all about in terms of its initiatives towards a greener planet. Fair trade ensures that production costs are never connected to environmental costs.

While it is different than organic certification, fair trade coffee ensures that coffee is produced and harvested in a beneficial way towards the ecosystem and the entire world. 

This includes water conservation, waste disposal, and land protection top of this, and it ensures that the coffee drinkers enjoying the final product are not consuming any toxic chemicals. 

Labor Conditions

If you look around the world, labor conditions have been outsourced to poorer countries in ways that exploit workers and pay unfair wages. Thanks to fair trade coffee, this not only creates a higher price floor paid to workers but also impacts the conditions under which they are working. 

For instance, unlike other industries, there are severe restrictions against forced labor and child labor within the world of fair trade coffee. Coffee growers are guaranteed a safe environment, and so family farmers can feel good about going to work. 

Cutting Out the Middle Man 

The implementation of direct trade is also a large part that goes into making the system work as well as it does. By cutting out middlemen, fair trade coffee ensures that the market price that goes to the coffee growers is a fair price. While they are not exactly the same thing, this makes fair trade and direct trade very compatible with business practices. 

Fair trade has emerged as a standard that encompasses many different parts of the coffee industry and its ethical implications. Direct trade works as a facet of free trade, as it connects coffee roasters directly to the farmers who grow the beans.  

So, direct trade is key because it ensures all the efforts made by farming families towards growing coffee are met in a way that allows them to compete on a global scale. This creates a free trade between the coffee producers and the buyers, resulting in a maximal gain for the laborers. 

You may find some coffee products which have a direct rather than fair trade label. This is determined by the roasters selling the coffee, and their own criteria, whereas fair trade coffee, is a third party certification with its own set of requirements. 

Democratic Organization 

The fair trade system brings coffee growers together, which allows them to make decisions together that have wider impacts on their local communities. This extends far beyond coffee production and goes into how their revenues can be invested into greater future growth for everyone involved. This democratic process is a way to connect everyone involved with a unified mission, aside from producing delicious and sustainable coffee. 

So, this leads to greater community development, both socially and economically. Farmers and fair trade coffee producers have worked to uplift their nations with scholarship programs, healthcare services, and innovations in quality care. 

Why is Fair Trade necessary? 

Do we really need a fair trade USA? The short answer is yes.

The time has come when a fair trade USA is not only an optimistic dream but a necessary one. Besides coffee production, fair trade certified products and direct trade practices throughout the world ensure ethical working conditions, quality products all around the world for a minimum price.

 The world price for fair trade certification on products is nothing compared to the overall price of exploitation and unethical treatment of farmers. On top of this, buying fair trade coffee, as well as certified organic coffee, is guaranteed to be more sustainable for the planet overall. 

Sure, some people are wary that fair trade coffee or coffee with organic certification means higher price tags, but this ends up being a fair price when you consider the net impact these labels have on the earth. 

Every Sip Counts 

Every time you buy fair trade coffee, this goes towards improving the lives of over 750,000 coffee farmers around the world. By helping to price a stable income, and give back to communities worldwide, coffee with fair trade certification is something you can feel good about purchasing. 

Over the years, there has been a coffee crisis in terms of how come companies have sought profit over ethical business practices. 

With the advent of fair trade coffee, this allows people around the world who consume the coffee to make an impact towards bettering the entire industry overall. 

So, the next time you purchase coffee, please keep these things and mind, and realize that your purchase can actually make a big difference in the long haul. 

Best Coffee Beans
Author Profile Picture

Parker Russell is a coffee professional and the founder of Black Ink Coffee. As an expert in the field of coffee roasting, cupping (professional Q-Grader) and brewing, Parker has established Black Ink as brand that fuels the grind of dreamers.