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Fair Trade vs Direct Trade Coffee

Ever wondered about the journey your coffee takes from some farm in a foreign country to the cup sitting beside you at this very moment? Has the thought ‘how do people get paid to grow coffee?’ ever cross your mind? Each cup of coffee, each pound of beans has been grown by a farmer in a country most likely very far from your own. How the coffee gets to you has in many ways. There are two ways to bring coffee beans into North America that can offer a fair, livable wage to those who grow it, those ways are through Fair Trade and Direct Trade.


‘Fair Trade’ is a phrase that appears more and more in the media and the stores you may shop at, but what does Fair Trade really suggest? Fair Trade coffee was designed to address the rising global coffee crisis. Before Fair Trade was created, most farmers had been living in poverty. This led to an increase in poor working conditions and child labour. A big partner in creating this relationship was Fair Trade International, in 2019 they partnered up with 1.8 million farmers worldwide to produce an outstanding 824,000 metric tonnes of coffee. There is a standard price between the organizations and the farmers for the crops produced; this can prove to be beneficial if the farmers’ have a troubled year and produce less or damaged crops. People and companies who import Fair Trade coffee (such as Mochaberry), must pay a registration fee and an export fee to the organization to help cover the wages of farmers’ and pay for the crops. While they are Fair Trade Certified, each place who brings in Fair Trade coffee must monitor and log how many bags are being roasted and sold to the public, failure to do so can result in the loss of Fair Trade coffee rights.


‘Direct Trade’ is a less familiar phrase that is starting to make headway with the mainstream globalization. This method is less common and is lesser known than Fair-Trade but was created in attempt to address the possible gaps that may be left from the Fair-Trade system. With the Direct Trade platform, there is no middleman present. This eliminates the needs for registration fees, export fees and the need to track bags roasted. With these eliminations it allows for a more sizeable sum of money to go directly to the farmers and the ability to negotiate crop prices. This provides both a benefit and detriment as the farmers’ have the ability to request a more substantial fee for a higher quality crop, but if the crop is lacking and there is set crop price they may lose out for the season.


It could be debated that one form of trade is more beneficial than the other, however, both models of trade provide their own efficient aid to the farmers. Which one should you buy? Regardless if you prefer Direct Trade or Fair Trade, Mochaberry makes sure to provide both options!


Fair tradeDirect Trade
–       Created to ease the global coffee crisis of farmers living in poverty

–       A big partner in this movement is Fair Trade International

–       Farmers ad workers co-own fair trade so everyone’s voice is heard creating the monitored guidelines

–       In the year 2019 Fair Trade International partnered up with 1.8 million farmers and workers to produce 824,000 metric tonnes

–       People who import fair trade coffee must pay a registration fee, monitor how much fair trade coffee is roasted and pay an export fee to the producers of the coffee

–       There is a standard fee for high quality and low quality crops

–       Good and bad as they may have a bad season and still make money, bad because they could have a fantastic crop and still make the same as a low quality crop

–       This model was created to attempt to fill the gaps that could be left from the Fair Trade system

–       Direct trade between roasters and farmers, allows for a more open price negotiation

–       No registration/export fees and money go straight to farmers

–       Have the ability to request more money for a high quality crop