You may have heard the terms to describe sourcing coffee such as direct trade (developed to improve the increasingly convoluted fair trade system), relationship coffee, speciality coffee and even transparent trade.
It may come as a surprise that none of these terms or any other form of coffee trade for that matter requires disclosure on how much a farmer was paid for his/her coffee cherry - which for us should be at the very top of anyones check list when talking about ethical and sustainable coffee.
Note: Transparent trade sounds like it's completely transparent when in actual fact it only requires you to disclose the FOB price paid (Free On Board) but not the price paid to farmers for their coffee cherry. So although we were the first coffee roaster in South Africa to disclose our $FOB/kg prices and still do as its a good metric for high-quality, it’s not always the case that it goes hand in hand to indicate what a farmer was paid so it is for this reason we chose not to register for transparent trade.
Moving on a few years and our partnership with Raw Material in establishing the South African operation has given us the ability to disclose all the costs involved in the coffee process, including the profit each farmer made, making this a first for South Africa and the start of a journey we are proud to be walking.
What's even more exciting is that 100% of the profits are returned to the farmers/producers, ensuring the coffee is both ethically and sustainably sourced.
The cherry on the top, however, is that our container (19 tonnes of coffee) that recently arrived from Timor-Leste won 7 of the top 10 coffees out of 115 submitted in the national competition - so not only is there a good story, the coffee is the absolute best available!
Further to that after harvest the Timor-Leste farmers are taken on as washing station staff to process the coffee meaning they get paid a second time - helping to build those coffee farming communities!
Click on the links below for a full cost breakdown and farmer profit in all 5 origins where we partner with Raw Material.