A few weeks ago, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters publicly committed to paying farmers in their supply chain a minimum of $2.75 FOB per lb. FOB (FOB stands for Free on Board, which means this is the price of the coffee ready for export) for all of Kickapoo’s green coffee purchases. Their press release says that it […]
The Direct Trade-v-Fair Trade debate resurfaced here last week. I weighed in on that debate here yesterday. Today I want to explore a related idea: that the leading proponents of these two trading models may have communicated themselves into corners from which they can’t easily extricate themselves even though they desperately need to. Direct Trade […]
Over the past six weeks, this blog has been devoted exclusively to the CRS Colombian Varietal Cuppings–a series of comparative cuppings of Castillo and Caturra samples from our Borderlands project involving leading roasters and importers in the United States, Europe and Australia. Even when I took a week off from reporting on the results of […]
This post is a featured comment submitted in response to my recent post on the farm-facing cupping form. It combines comments by three people: TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes of Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, WI and Mark Glenn of Conscious Coffees in Boulder, CO. Both roasters are recent winners of the Roast Magazine Microroaster-of-the-Year award. […]
Stephen Macatonia directs Union Hand Roasted in London, one of the UK’s leading Direct Trade roasters. Last week he published this thoughtful piece in the Guardian — the latest contribution to the ongoing debate between advocates and practitioners of Fair Trade and Direct Trade over whose trade is fairest of them all. For our part, we […]
Today, the CAFE Livelihoods project that I have been working on in one capacity or another since late 2007 draws to a close. As we prepare the final project report in the coming weeks, I will share some of the more notable project outcomes here. Meantime, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the […]
I suggested yesterday that Fair Trade coffee is on a roll. I think it is important to reflect further on the relationship between Fair Trade and quality, as much of what accounts for coffee quality has nothing at all to do with Fair Trade
The Fair Trade v. Direct Trade debate — to the extent that people are still having it — is fueled by caricatures of each approach that may reflect some grain of truth but ultimately misrepresent the realities of both.