Fair Trade, Direct Trade and Coffee Prices

Direct Trade coffee is, indirectly, in the financial news lately. You may have noticed some of the recent news stories about how dramatically coffee prices have been decreasing in the last few months. Massive rains in Brazil mean a much bigger supply next year, and that old supply/demand effect will depress prices.

For big buyers — the food conglomerates, Starbucks and the like, that’s great news. For coffee farmers, not so much. Sure, they’ll sell more coffee, making some of the price decrease up in volume. But they’ll also be doing more work for less money. That’s where Zoka’s Family Direct Trade comes in. We’ll still be paying well above market prices because we’ll be buying better coffee. We’ve hand-selected, courtesy our constant visits to the world’s best coffee growing regions, the best farmers of the best coffee in the world. We buy directly from them, keeping their coffee from the margin-poaching hands of distributors.

So, are Zoka customers paying ‘too much’ for coffee? It depends on what they value. Our coffee prices aren’t much different from our competitors, big and small. We run our organization so that we can provide 1) great coffees to our customers, 2) fair prices to our farmers. So, you’ll still get some of the best coffee available at a price that’s more than reasonable. And you’ll know that, just as you want for your own job, the people who brought you that coffee are being paid a fair, sustainable price, not subject to the whims of global commodity trading.

But in this time of drastically falling coffee prices, you’ll also get the knowledge that the folks who produce your coffees are getting a price that lets them care for their families, their communities, and their livelihood for many market cycles to come.