We get asked where we buy our coffees from as often as we get asked if it's fair trade, shade grown or organic so it's apparent to us that people want to understand the source of their food. Simply put: it's complicated but here's our best answer.
Our sourcing strategy is a multi-faceted one, we certainly have sourced coffees set to some those standards but also not. We are fair trade certified for example, but we also buy ones not set to them though that doesn't mean a bad thing. Certifications are great but at the end of the day it's about cup quality - and to get a good cup of coffee you already have good farming practices in place.
Many importers in the specialty coffee industry have developed and continue to develop long lasting relationships with farmers and the continued pointing of resources to the farms benefits the entire chain. Stating the obvious this is primarily this is because we want the coffee to be great year after year.
Many importers and roasters do origin trips to assist the farmers finding out what they need and helping provide assistance. Fair Trade has certainly influenced this method! Sometimes that investing is in better harvesting such as improving machines or paying pickers higher prices to pick the best cherries. Currently we are developing a Direct Trade relationship and are hopeful to offer as much of that as possible along with the exceptional quality coffees we buy from excellent importers.