What is Fair Trade Coffee?
If you’ve spent any time exploring the expansive world of coffee, you may have come across the term “Fair Trade Coffee,” but do you know what it means? Fair Trade Coffee is more than just a buzzword, and its association with a brand can mean a world of difference for the farmers and their communities that produce coffee beans. In this article, we will be shedding light on what Fair Trade Coffee is and what it means to us at Nobletree Coffee and Farms for our roasts to be USA Fair Trade Certified.
Fair Trade Coffee Certification
For a coffee to be Fair Trade-certified, it means the production process has been evaluated to ensure that it meets specific standards for income equality, community well-being, and environmental stewardship. The review focuses on fair labor practices, worker rights, responsible land management, and sustainability. Fairtrade is the only established model that assures a minimum wage to assist coffee producers through pricing volatility.
A Fair Trade certified product guarantees that its farmers and producers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price, protecting them and their families from volatility in the coffee commodity market. Farmers are also given a Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra sum of money earmarked to help them improve their communities. Since 1998, Fair Trade Certified coffees have generated over $740 million in benefit to coffee producers through the purchase of Fair Trade certified products – these funds have helped improve the lives and communities of countless individuals. In addition to the monetary benefit of being Fair Trade certified, you can be assured that the workers are guaranteed safe working conditions when you see the Fair Trade seal.
We at Nobletree support our farmers with our mission to practice sustainable agriculture, incorporating soil analysis for continued commercial development and sustainability. We focus on long-term solutions that will benefit both the land as well as your cup of coffee! Our farms are among the first in the world to employ tree terracing that prevents rainwater runoff while also helping prevent erosion.
Is Fair Trade different from Direct Trade Coffee?
Direct Trade coffee is when a roaster purchases coffee directly from a coffee producer. Direct Trade can sometimes have a similar benefit to the producers by removing any intermediaries so that coffee producers will make a higher wage. However, Direct Trade is not overseen by any governing body, which means it is more of a philosophy and doesn’t have any specific standard outside that of which the coffee roaster sets.
While Nobletree roasts are USA Fair Trade Certified, we don’t work with intermediaries to source our coffee. Our vertically integrated business model is unique in the coffee industry. Our dedicated work as farmers and roasters allows customers to expect dynamic, diverse portfolios from our privately owned farms that are expertly cultivated according to the highest standards. Since we control all production processes, our farms are designed to grow sustainable coffees and endure for many years to come with limited environmental impact.
Is Fair Trade Certified Coffee Organic?
Just because a roast of coffee is Fair Trade Certified, it doesn’t mean that it is organic. In fact, half of all Fair Trade coffee is not organic. However, the Fair Trade certification standards still place a focus on environmental protection and fostering sustainable livelihoods for the communities of the farmers.
Nobletree Coffee Community Engagement
In addition to the benefits afforded to our growers for being Fair Trade Certified, we invest back into our Producer’s communities through the Nobletree Neighbors and Friends program. We help coffee farmers in the state of San Paulo and the south of Minas learn about specialty coffee production and new technology. The focus of this program is to encourage high-quality and sustainable farming practices that lead to producing world-class beans. In addition to the additional training around coffee production, we’ve been able to help enrich the lives of the more than 20 families that currently live on our Monte Verde Farm. Through this social program, we’ve installed new septic systems in the homes on our farm, refurbished the local soccer field, and installed solar water heaters. Nobletree Farms holds training classes with other small and medium-sized local farmers to provide ongoing support during the post-harvest process, cupping process, and coffee sales. These sessions have positively impacted the lives of many producers, and we are striving to ensure that they will continue to do so in the coming years.