One of the best questions we regularly get at Coffea is, "Why don't you guys sell Fair Trade coffee?"
It's pretty simple: we're not against Fair Trade as an organization, but there are opportunities today to connect directly with the farmer, or companies that operate at a more locally empowering level.
Here's a quick breakdown of one of the companies we recently partnered with, Catracha Coffee Co.
There are so many reasons we love Orellana-Powell's program: It empowers the people of Santa Elena to improve and optimize their livelihood. She is ultra-connecting and inviting of visitors to close the gap between coffee drinkers and coffee farmers. This whole program is founded and ran by a woman from Santa Elena. It builds community while encouraging pride and quality in product.
While Fair Trade has a valid place in getting coffee-farming regions operational, the future of coffee farming and industry is in roasters and cafes taking initiative to connect with community organizers, entrepreneurs, and leaders like Mayra Orellana-Powell.
Sustained, reliable partnerships between locally organized and run groups like Catracha Coffee Co. ensure specific and appropriate education for their climate, terroir, and economy so that this Honduran community can thrive.
In Ethiopia, where it's far more difficult to connect with specific farmers, we partner with METAD because of their transparency and proven record of intensely community-centric involvement through education, sustainable and progressive wages, and industry-improving quality.
We work with these kinds of ethical, quality-driven organizations (METAD and Catracha Coffee Co.) because they have found sustainably edifying practices that pay farmers far above what Fair Trade can. When possible, we work with farmers directly, like Fernando Diaz (if you've had a latte or shot of Episode espresso or tasted the Finca Idolia, you've enjoyed his crop).
We encourage you to ask your barista next time you stop in about what your buying because there's a shocking amount of effort, energy, and passion behind that coffee you're buying, and we're proud to be a part of a chain that starts with community engagement and development in Santa Elena, or Yukro. We know the cost is a little more than Fair Trade, but we also know it's going to good use.