• Tia Brown

The Truth About Quality Coffee Part 2

I am an all-or-nothing person, especially when it comes to my comfort food. I want to make sure that every cup is the best quality coffee I am able to produce.

When I stumbled into this grim side of the story, I'm not sure I was ready for what unfolded. I had many questions, most of which are still unanswered. This is my best summary of what I found.

It all started with this little phrase that kept popping up in my research: "Fair Trade."

What is Fair Trade Coffee?

Basically, the idea is to make sure the coffee farmers, workers, and buyers are not swindled or underpaid. Under the fair trade system, all parties have to follow certain rules and standards. Direct Trade has no such boundaries.

The truth of the matter is, many coffee farmers work in very harmful conditions and get little or nothing for it.

Even worse still, children and slaves are forced to work in order to meet the daily requirement. They are often too poor or uneducated to wear protective gear from the harsh elements and from the toxic chemicals they have to spray on the coffee.

Fair Trade came in to fix all that.

Did it? Yes and no. On one hand, the system has great intentions. But on the other hand, it is just another expensive burden causing the poor farmers to get poorer still.

To make matters worse, farmers have to make ends meet by selling their less expensive bad beans through Fair Trade and keeping the quality beans for more profitable sources.

The problem with Fair Trade is that it shoots itself in the foot.

But, if the coffee business is not working out for them, can’t they just quit and try something else?

No. Coffee is not grown in America. The majority of the natives who break their backs and sometimes die while picking every last bean in your bag have no other alternative. They are just too poor to afford education.

Why? Because this coffee business is not going well.

Shouldn’t we raise the prices of coffee and make sure the farmers get paid more?

Yes, the coffee farmers could use more money for their trouble, but this article offers a more effective way to help them: What would happen if the world’s demand for coffee went down?

“Interventions in coffee communities like microfinance, cash grants to start new enterprises, and internationally sponsoring the children of coffee growers to help these children obtain more and better education help coffee growers worldwide because they reduce the world supply of coffee. This benefits everyone, because as coffee growers and their children move to other occupations, all producers in the world benefit from higher coffee prices. ” 10 Reasons Fair Trade Coffee Doesn't Work

The world is drinking more coffee than the planet and the people are able to produce. The world just needs to stop drinking so much coffee.

Stop drinking coffee!?

My heart sank when I read this. It all makes sense, but how could I quit coffee?

You could start by not drinking more than 1 or 2 cups a day. L