Fair Trade Coffee

Early Fairtrade Certifications Marks
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What’s the big deal with “Fair Trade” coffee? If you haven’t heard of this type of coffee before you might be a bit confused. This is because you will be able to easily acquire bags of coffee in the most familiar blends, such as espresso roasts, breakfast blends, and more, but each of these coffees will be grown, harvested, and sold in a way far different than standard blends. Fair Trade simply means that the distributor is purchasing coffees that are certified to have been grown by farmers who tend to work at a disadvantage to larger operations.
For example, you might give a gift of a Dark Sumatra coffee that is organic, shade grown, and certified Fair Trade. This would mean that the farmers who grow the coffee as a way of life are concerned about their environment and use sustainable practices. It would also mean that no one who is involved in the agricultural process, the harvesting, or the selling of the coffee is subjected to substandard or indecent working conditions. Additionally, the farmers involved in Fair Trade are usually guaranteed a decent price for their crops, and this allows them to remain competitive with larger global farming industries.
What this also means is that the consumer is going to pay a bit more per pound, but this is something that should never stop someone from enjoying Fair Trade coffee. Why? Imagine the difference between a cup of coffee made from beans that were grown using pesticides, chemical fertilizers, harvested via machines and highly processed prior to being bagged and sent to market versus the pot of coffee made from mindfully and responsibly grown beans that are organic, harvested by hand, and unprocessed prior to being roasted and sent to market. Simply avoiding the chemicals is reason enough to consider buying only Fair Trade and organic coffees, but also supporting hundreds of responsible farmers is just as valid of a reason too.
As stated earlier, you won’t have to forgo your favorite roasts or blends in order to rely strictly on Fair Trade coffees either. For instance, you could find decaffeinated blends, espresso varieties, and mixtures that come from all parts of the coffee-growing world. There are Mexican, Sumatran, Guatemalan, Haitian and many other coffees available. There are also blended mixes and original beans too. This means that you would be able to use the coffees in the same espresso machines, electric pots, and French Press devices, but would enjoy superior taste and results.
It is important, however, to ensure that the coffees are truly Fair Trade. This would mean that they must be certified by an independent agency such as the TransFair USA group that monitors and certifies Fair Trade products sold in the United States markets. Such a group would ensure the consumer that they really were supporting and encouraging the self-reliance and environmentally friendly policies of the independent farmers that make up the core of the coffee growing industry, but whom often face serious difficulties where market pricing and competitiveness are concerned.

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