fairtrade-coffee-006Fair Trade Coffee Beans

Fair trade coffee is coffee that is certified as having been produced to fair trade standards.
Fair trade organisations create trading partnerships that are based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. These partnerships contribute to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to coffee bean farmers. Fair trade organizations are engaged actively in supporting producers and sustainable environmental farming practices.



Direct Trade Coffee Beans

Direct trade is a form of sourcing practiced by some coffee roasters, referring to direct sourcing from farmers, with standards varying between producers. Direct trade is seen as an alternative to Fairtrade certification.

Advocates of direct trade practices promote direct communication and price negotiation between buyer and farmer, along with systems that encourage and incentivize quality. There is no agreed definition of the term, and, unlike Fair Trade coffee, there is no third party certification that the conditions stated by the coffee buyers are being complied with.




organic3Organic Coffee Beans

Organic coffee is coffee produced without the aid of artificial chemical substances, such as certain additives or some pesticides and herbicides.

Many factors are taken into consideration when coffee is considered for organic certification. For example, the coffee farm’s fertilizer must be 100% organic. Some organic fertilizer options include chicken manure, coffee pulp, bocachi and general compost. If inorganic fertilizers such as synthetic nitrogen, phosphate, and potash are used, then the crop grown cannot be certified organic.

If coffee is labeled “organic,” at least 95 percent of the beans must have been grown under organic conditions.

rfaRainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization based in New York. Its mission is to conserve biodiversity by promoting sustainability in agriculture, foresty, tourism and other businesses. The Rainforest Alliance certifies coffee, as well as other products and services, when it is produced under certain standards.

Coffee farms must maintain (or restore) natural forest cover to achieve 40 percent shade coverage. The standard calls for at least 70 trees per hectare (about 2.5 acres) and at least 12 native species. Farms can still be certified if they don’t meet these standards but can show they have a plan to meet the goal and are working toward it.

Farmers are not allowed to alter natural water courses. While they can use chemicals, such as pesticides, they must maintain buffer zones of natural vegetation between the crop areas and areas used by humans, including public roads.

The standards also prohibit such activities as trafficking in wild animals, destruction of ecosystems, dumping untreated waste water, and other harmful practices.

On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, coffee grows in harmony with nature: soils are healthy, waterways are protected, trash is reduced or recycled, wildlife thrives and migratory bird habitat flourishes. In addition, hundreds of farms we work with have adopted climate-smart techniques that sequester carbon. Most importantly, farm communities learn the importance of protecting their natural resources, and they acquire the tools and resources to do so.