Fair Trade Coffee

by Christopher Paul on May 2, 2011

Good has nice article on the difference between conventional and fair trade coffee:

Fair Trade farmers only pick coffee berries that are fully ripe—what they call the “red cherries”—which ensures that they are sending the highest quality into the supply chain and specialty coffee market. Limiting their yield to what’s perfectly ripe requires picking by hand, requiring several passes around the tree for every viable berry to be plucked. This is time-consuming and laborious, and can’t be done by a machine. So if you’re paying a little extra to drink a Fair Trade cup, those additional cents are going in part to compensation for the physical work of the workers.

In conventional coffee farming, the berries are often mechanically harvested or stripped from the tree in a single pass, which pulls berries at various stages of ripeness, along with twigs and other agricultural trimmings that ultimately get separated from the berries and discarded. Unripe berries that come off during this process also get tossed, so these sweeping harvest methods must be done when most of the coffee is as ripe as possible, to maximize the yield.

That’s just the harvesting differences. There are selling and shipping distinctions, too. Click on the link to read more and buy fair trade whenever possible.

How Much Do You Know About Your Fair Trade Coffee? – Good

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