We’re proud of the fact we buy our coffee directly from the farmers. For us, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s why we’re now highlighting it right there on our coffee bags.
Through Direct Trade we’re involved in the journey of our coffees from harvest to home. Here’s a nifty infographic to give you an idea of how that differs from the way so many other coffee companies do it. In a nutshell, we’re talking fewer steps in the process:
Why is Direct Trade so important to us?
It means building lasting relationships with the farmers who grow the coffee we sell, rather than some far-removed middle man. It means paying those farmers a fair price that reflects their hard work and expertise. The coffee we buy is already some of the best in the world, but Direct Trade means we can help the farmers we work with to make the quality of their coffee even better (more on that below).
When it comes to the traditional commodity coffee supply chain, the system is broken. The cost of producing coffee for farmers is often more than they get paid, meaning they make a loss on most of their harvests. The problem resides in that they own the farms, so they’re trapped in an industry that leaves them financially vulnerable. A lot are struggling with fluctuating commodity prices and difficult weather conditions due to climate change, so we’re glad to be making a stand against the status quo.
Why should Direct Trade matter to you?
Simply? Better coffee. Plus the feel-good bonus of knowing your money is doing something worthwhile. But also, by helping the farmers we work with and building good relationships with them, it means your favourite coffees will return to the Pact Coffee Menu with each harvest.
What does ‘a fair price’ mean?
An important part of our Direct Trade promise is guaranteeing to pay at least 25% more than the Fairtrade rate for coffee beans. This isn’t part of some charitable mission or marketing gimmick, it’s simply a fair reflection of what speciality quality is worth on an open market.
Direct Trade in action…
Our Head of Coffee, Will Corby (thecaffienekid) heads out to origin to bring you some of the finest coffees on the planet. He’s an expert in his field and – since he’s a pretty nice guy – he has great relationships with the farmers we work with. It almost goes without saying, but he loves his job:
“I’m really proud of the impact we’re having at origin. It’s like nothing anyone else is doing. It’s hard to convey how much difference we’re making – and I’m not really an emotional guy – but when you’re out there seeing the difference to people’s lives and tasting the difference in their coffees, it’s pretty moving.”
A case study in Brazil:
Back in 2014 Will took a coffee hunting trip to Brazil and came across Fazenda Chapada, a farm run by Marcus Carvalho. Will fell in love with the coffee and when he sat down to make a deal with Marcus. The amount Marcus wanted for his coffee was higher than the Fairtrade rate at that time, but lower than the amount we’ve promised to pay all our farmers (25% more than the Fairtrade price).
Long story short, we were able to help Marcus use the extra money we paid him to invest in a cherry sorter, which separates ripe, over-ripe and under-ripe cherries. Since putting the sorter to work, Marcus has seen the cupping score of his speciality coffee (ie. the ripe cherries) jump up by two points, which is 10% better on the speciality scale.
Those of you in the know will understand that’s an incredible feat. For those of you who aren’t into speciality coffee cupping scales, that means Marcus is now able to charge more to the other buyers of his coffee, who are more than happy to do so for the improved quality.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Through Direct trade, and Will’s relationships with farmers all over the world, we’re now helping to change the way the coffee industry works. And we’re improving the lives of the individuals who work within the industry while we’re at it. It’s something we’re proud of and as someone who buys Pact Coffee, it’s something you’re helping out with too. So thank you.
And if this is something you’re interested in then keep an eye out for more Direct Trade in action stories coming soon…