Photo credit: Unsplash

By Jerry Mooney

Drinking coffee is pretty much a part of our everyday lives now. With a coffee shop on nearly every corner of towns and a fair few in each major city, it’s a global phenomenon! And as we pay more attention to organic food, have you also started to wonder how your coffee is produced too? Today we’re going to delve into the world of the coffee bean and show why choosing Fairtrade and organic coffee is the better choice to make.

A Brief History Of Coffee

Legend has it that the coffee tree was first discovered in Kaffa, Ethiopia in the 9th century. The story goes that a goat herder called Kaldi found his animals began eating berries off a certain tree. And after consumption, they became much more energized and didn’t want to sleep all night. However, there is not really any evidence that people in Ethiopia then continued to use the coffee bean as a beverage. The first records we know of come from Yemen, circa 800 AD, when coffee beans were cultivated for use in drinks. But it was still not until the 16th century that we know for sure that coffee was enjoyed across Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Persia. In the 17th century, coffee made its journey to Europe where it was given approval by Pope Clement VIII in 1615. And in 1773, due to the heavy tax on tea, coffee became the drink of choice in America. The colonist revolt against the tax on tea became known as The Boston Tea Party. And it certainly changed the views of US citizens, who then changed their drinking choice to coffee. And these days it is one of the largest commodities in the world.

Why Choose Fairtrade?

Coffee was one of the first products that were labeled Fairtrade. Fairtrade certification means that there is protection for farmers in respect of pay and working demands. Fairtrade also works towards protecting the environment and support in the community where the bean is grown. Fairtrade coffee means that at least 25% of what you pay goes straight back to the farmers. This ensures they receive a fair price and can improve their farming practices. There are many small-scale farmers in remote areas in places such as Brazil and Mexico that work hard to cultivate a quality coffee bean. But larger growers sell at very low prices, often giving poor pay to their employees and also meaning that small businesses suffer. Subsequently smaller farms feel the pressure to lower their prices resulting in unfair wages and bad quality of life. Fairtrade coffee ensures a better wage for small-scale farmers and a better quality of life. Companies such as Honest Coffees make sure to only sell Fairtrade in support of such ethical practices.

Principles Of Fairtrade Coffee

The principles of Fairtrade coffee work by providing a fair wage for workers, alongside safer working environments. Fairtrade allows farmers to sell directly without having to introduce a middle man. And the price difference remains minimal, as coffee is cheap to package and ship. Fairtrade also supports environmental issues, making sure that sustainable practices are put in place. Because of the focus on good environmental practices, your Fairtrade coffee will also taste fresher and better. And because Fairtrade works as a cooperative, money is invested back into the community resulting in better housing, schools, and healthcare.