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Fair Trade Coffee
Is fair trade coffee the same as healthy organic coffee? How does fair trade coffee differ from organic coffee and when are they the same thing? The original motive behind fair trade coffee was to develop coffee trade relationships based on respect, transparency, and dialogue between producers and sellers. The point is to guarantee fair prices to small coffee growers who would otherwise have no access to fair pricing. At its heart fair trade coffee is an idea for social betterment more so than a way to make better coffee. There is a “Fairtrade” coffee brand for which coffee packers pay a fee a “Fairtrade” logo and brand name. Coffee carrying this name must come from an associated cooperative. In general cooperative only sell part of their harvest as fair trade coffee because of lack of demand.
Is Fair Trade Coffee Good Coffee?
Many fair trade coffee cooperatives produce USDA organic coffee. In these cases fair trade coffee is organic coffee as well. But, fair trade does not need to be organic. Organic coffee differs from regular coffee in several ways. Organic coffee is grown in soil which must be free from prohibited substances such as synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. And it must have been verified to be so for at least three years. Organic coffee must be separate from land where regular coffee is grown with clear and distinct boundaries in between. This is done so that spraying of regular coffee does not result in prohibited substances landing on organically grown coffee plants. To be certified as organic, coffee must be produced and processed according to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport. From planting to roasting and bagging procedures must be in place to make sure that there is no contamination of organically produced coffee.
Is Fair Trade Coffee Healthy Coffee?
The list of health benefits from drinking organic coffee is impressive. Organic coffee antioxidants are considered to be responsible for the reduced risk of Type II diabetes as well as cancers of the colon, prostate, and endometrium. The sustainable farming practices used to produce organic coffee help remove the up to 150 impurities that can be found in regular coffee. To the extent that fair trade coffee is organic coffee it is probably better for you than regular coffee. To the extent that fair trade coffee helps small coffee growers get a good price it serves its stated purpose.
Where Does the Money Go?
An ongoing concern about fair trade coffee is that there is little or no evidence that it serves its stated purpose of bringing higher profits to the coffee farmers who produce the coffee. A lot of money goes into advertising and promotion and coffee roasters typically charge more for their product.