The question we get asked most often about our coffee: “Is it Fairtrade?”
The answer is not quite as simple as it might seem.
Fairtrade accreditation is not always easy for farmers and does not provide a guarantee that the workers that work on plantations are being paid fair wages. Also, most of the coffee grown under Fairtrade conditions is of commodity quality – thus relatively cheap.
Did you know that only 30% of coffee grown as Fairtrade is actually sold as Fairtrade? The bulk goes in to generic 'commodity grade' sales. The set-price of Fairtrade beans can sometimes be less than farmers selling outside of the scheme.
That’s not good for anyone, except perhaps supermarkets relying on the Fairtrade ‘brand’ to give some reassurance to their customers that they are doing ‘their bit’.
Here at Black Mountain Roast all our beans are ethically-sourced, usually from family-owned farms, co-operatives or ‘stations’ that may be working with hundreds of small farms - many that are less than an acre in size.
The importers that we work with have stringent ethical polices in place. You may get the impression from some specialist roasters that they visit farms and buy direct, this is a bit of myth – one usually needs to import tonnes of coffee to make buying direct viable.
Our beans may not be ‘Fairtrade’ but we always trade fairly. That’s a promise.
Farmers growing desirable beans, that taste fantastic, can yield up to ten times more than the Fairtrade price for lesser quality, commodity beans.
And that, fellow coffee-lovers, is good for everyone.
Please don’t just take our word for it, here is a great article from The Guardian on why Fairtrade isn’t fair enough.