The last post on coffee quality went so well that I haven't written about it ever since. But, in all honesty I often think about coffee, its origins, and how it gets to me. Yet, I never feel I do it justice by writing about it on the blog. In the last year I've been studying food policy and focusing most of my reading on Coffee so here, I'm sharing a very long and convoluted paper with you about Coffee-producing countries at the bottom of the page. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but just a wee bit of reading for those who are interested. Warning: this is not the best written most fluid paper, sorry.
I was prompted by a few friends in coffee to share this, but when another friend asked me what the meaning of 'Fair Trade' was I was concerned that we weren't doing enough about questioning our consumption and using our knowledge and purchasing power (if we are fortunate enough to do so). The least we can do is find out more!
"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.
In 2009, it was estimated that 30% of small-scale coffee producers were linked to Fairtrade networks and approximately 65% of Fairtrade producers were certified organic coffee producers. In the last year or two, though, the term of Fair Trade has been criticised in the speciality coffee community for not progressing and focusing on quality and education regarding how to improve this. If you're wondering what SPECIALITY/SPECIALTY coffee is, I would definitely check out Chris Tellez's post on Working Coffee.
In North America, speciality markets require high quality standards. Often, producers join co-operatives that provide training and financial assistance through development agencies and coffee roasters.
Material Quality of coffee is key to obtaining a high price for the product. Producers attempt to maintain the original quality of the bean through quality control at every step of the process; handling, pulping, fermentation, drying, storage, and shipping.
What are your opinions about how we can make coffee better? Are we doing enough? Maybe you completely disagree with me here, so I am all ears - would love see some discussion about this.