What is Fair Trade Coffee? The Equitable Choice

If you’re looking for delicious and ethical coffee, look no further than fair trade coffee.

By drinking fair trade coffee, you’re not only enjoying a delicious cup of joe but also supporting ethical practices and sustainable farming?

In other words, fair trade coffee is grown and harvested under Fairtrade International standards. In our article, we’ll discuss what is Fair Trade coffee and the benefits of drinking it.

So, let’s get started!

What is Fair Trade Coffee

What is Fair Trade Certified Coffee?

So, what is fairtrade coffee exactly? Fair trade is a formalized social movement and market-based initiative that works to improve the trading conditions of coffee growers in developing nations.

The Fair Trade certification system is an international standard that regulates coffee farming and trade. These standards aim to protect the rights of farmers and workers, promote environmental sustainability practices, and ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their coffee.

Fair trade organizations work to establish partnerships with small-scale farmers and workers that are based on dialogue, transparency, and respect. These partnerships aim to create more equitable trading relationships and improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

What is Fair Trade Coffee

How does coffee become certified fair trade?

For coffee to be deemed Fair Trade, it must follow a set of specific criteria. The coffee must be grown and produced under certain conditions, and the farmers and workers must be paid a minimum price.

There are also restrictions on the use of harmful chemicals. In addition, Fair Trade certified products must be certified by an organization such as Fairtrade America, Fairtrade International, or Fair Trade Certified. These organizations ensure that the coffee meets all the requirements and that the farmers and workers are treated fairly.

Consequently, drinkers of Fair Trade products can feel good knowing that their coffee is helping to improve the lives of those who grew and produced it. Fair trade buyers also often have a direct relationship with the farmers, supporting the idea of transparency and respect for other coffee companies.

What is Fair Trade Coffee

What are the benefits of fair trade coffee?

Fair trade coffee has many benefits, both for farmers and consumers. For farmers, the fair trade concept can lead to higher prices for their coffee and improved working conditions. This can help to lift them out of poverty and improve their standard of living. For consumers, buying fair trade coffee is a way to support ethical practices and make a difference in the lives of small-scale farmers around the world.

Organizations like Fair Trade USA are committed to making sure that the products you buy are sustainably and ethically sourced. They require their partners to adhere to strict environmental standards and support Fair Trade standards in their communities.

What is Fair Trade Coffee

Fair Trade coffee vs Direct Trade coffee

Simply put, Fair Trade is a third-party certification, while Direct Trade is more of an ideology.

In other words, if you see a Direct Trade logo on a bag of coffee, it’s only “certified” by the coffee roaster, based upon their specific internal definition of Direct Trade coffee. On the other hand, the Fair Trade label is backed by an organization that has set standards for what qualifies under the Fair Trade model.

Direct trade coffee is coffee purchased directly from the farmers who grow it without going through any middlemen. This allows the farmer to receive a higher price for their coffee. It also enables the roaster to develop a relationship with the farmer and have more control over the quality of the coffee.

Direct trade coffee often has a higher price tag than regular coffee, but many coffee lovers feel it’s worth it for the improved quality and transparency.

What is Fair Trade Coffee

Where did Fair Trade certification start?

It all began in the United States, where Ten Thousand Villages (formerly Self-Help Crafts) began buying needlework from Puerto Rico in 1946. SERRV began trading with impoverished communities in the South in the late 1940s.

The United States saw the first “Fair Trade” store open in 1958. In the 1950s, ideas about organized “fairness” in trade relationships began were discussed in Europe. At that time various methods were put into practice were tested.

For example, a Swiss import company called Max Havelaar began to buy fair trade coffee beans from farmers in Indonesia who met specific agreed-upon standards for labor conditions and environmental impact.

In 1969, an agreement was reached between Dutch organizations and third-world craftspeople, which set a fairtrade minimum price for certain goods, allowing the artisans to earn a living wage. These and other initiatives gradually formed networks and associations that advocated for “fairness” in international trade.

During the Kathmandu Annual General Meeting in 2009, the International Federation of Alternative Trade was renamed World Fair Trade Organization. The same year, World Fair Trade Day was initiated as an international celebration.

The decision to rebrand was designed to position WFTO among the top global players in Fair Trade laws. On the other hand, some people believe that the name change was only intended to remove the “alternative” tag. After all, what is so alternative about desiring fair trade?

In any case, the organization has successfully promoted a fairtrade premium and raised awareness about the importance of Fair Trade practices. Thanks to WFTO, more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of Fair Trade and demand products that be produced ethically.

Final Thoughts

As more and more people become aware of the importance of choosing ethically-sourced products, fair trade coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Buying fair trade coffee is a great way to support small-scale coffee farmers and workers worldwide and to enjoy a delicious cup of joe knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the planet. Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you understand the Fair Trade movement and its significance.

About the Author Kris Silvey

About the Author Kris Silvey

As a semi-professional at-home barista and full-time software engineer, my love for coffee borders on obsession. By combining my passion for coffee with an engineering mindset, I strive to perfect my brewing process and share that knowledge with each of you.

Why you should trust us

Here at Elevated Coffee Brew, we believe in making sure our readers have access to the best and most accurate information. That’s why we do our due diligence when researching each piece of coffee gear and coffee bean for every article. We take pride in being thorough, and go the extra mile to ensure we deliver the highest quality content.


Sometimes, we like to get our hands dirty and actually try out the item ourselves. Other times, if necessary, we reach out to professional baristas with extensive experience who can offer their input on a particular product or technique. Ultimately, our goal is to find the best items that will make you a great home barista!

Recent Posts