The fairest, most ethical way to source coffee
Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, second only to oil. However the disparity in wealth between coffee producing countries and oil producing countries is dramatic.
The reasons for this are of course complex, but a major factor is the large corporate companies wanting to control prices. This has been done by either buying land and paying people pennies to farm or by controlling local markets so farmers have limited options to sell their coffee, which keeps prices low.
Fair-trade coffee was definitely a step in the right direction but can be flawed if the traceability of the actual farmer is not available. Just because a certain co-op has received a fairtrade price doesn't necessarily mean the farmer has.
With direct trade we buy directly from the farmers so the proceeds go directly to the farmers and their families and at nearly three times the average fair-trade price you can be assured the famers receive a fair price for their amazing coffee.
The most environmentally friendly and sustainable way to grow coffee
Large scale commercial coffee production has been subject to some fairly horrendous farming practices. Again driven by corporate companies drive for the bottom line at the expense of everything else.
Their main interest is high density, high yield with not much consideration for anything else. A popular practice was slash and burn, where large areas of rainforest are cut down to plant crops when the nutrients in the soil are gone, cut down more. This is obviously horrendous on so many levels. The other solution is to replace the nutrients in the ground with chemicals again not what you want.
Shade growing is the natural way to grow coffee underneath the canopy of the existing forest. The benefits of this are huge, to start with no deforestation to grow the coffee, you have the natural nitrogen cycle of the forest to replace nutrients and the natural flora and fauna controls pests, no need for insecticides. The plants mature more slowly in the shade, producing far more flavour in the bean. Of course yield is far smaller but it is quality over quantity.