At Gems of Edmonton, we make a conscious effort to support local coffee roasters that buy direct from small batch farmers, because we know that every purchase counts.
Coffee usually travels a long way before it can arrive hot inside your mug in the morning. For coffee farmers, this usually means a loss of power and control over their business, where everything gets concentrated in the hands of the middlemen.
By working with direct trade sourcing, producers can charge a fair amount for their product and deliver higher-quality coffee directly to the roaster or consumer. So, what is direct trade sourcing, and what are its impacts on specialty coffee?
What is Direct Trade Sourcing
The main goal of direct trade sourcing is connecting the farmers who produce coffee to the end consumer, without any middlemen involved. It reduces the supply chain, meaning coffee can be more accessible to the roasters, as they buy beans directly from those producing it.
For farmers, direct trade sourcing allows them to get better value for their coffee, since the end price is not affected by profits from the intermediaries. The opposite deal would be indirect trade, which is still the primary method used by the coffee industry.
Indirect trade relies on a much larger supply chain, with many levels of trade that increase the price of coffee little by little until it reaches the final consumer. For it to remain competitive at the end of the supply chain, farmers, at its very beginning, get paid a lot less than they would if selling through direct trade.
Impacts of Direct Trade Sourcing on Specialty Coffee
Direct trade attempts to create stronger bonds between producers and consumers, which battles the injustices and power imbalance in the global coffee industry. By working with small-scale producers, the shorter supply chain of direct trade distributes the economy of coffee more evenly without concentrating everything in the hands of big corporations.
For specialty coffee, this means that farmers get a better profit margin on their sales, investing it back into the quality of their product. Ultimately, it is a win-win situation, where farmers are paid more fairly for their work, delivering a better-tasting coffee.
Direct trade sourcing influences producers to grow better-quality products, making specialty coffee worth its price. Farmers and roasters can better understand their customer's needs and desires by having more direct contact with them, crafting coffee that attends to that.
Why Getting Paid More Matters to Specialty Coffee
Through the indirect supply chain, farmers sell their coffee for unfairly low rates, harming their lifestyle and the community overall. Many companies even exploit coffee farmers by exporting and then importing back the coffee, making the supply chain even larger and the primary prices of coffee even lower.
By working with direct trade sourcing, coffee farmers get paid more and can better sustain their families and community. And like it was said before, more profits also mean they get to invest money back into the business, increasing the quality of the coffee produced.