Although it’s fairly easy to purchase quality and fairly traded coffee in-store or online, there is a little magic that resides in coffee shops. It’s a little pampering; it’s meeting a friend for a special treat. It’s wrapping hands around something warm and prepared by someone else.
I am putting together an evolving directory of cafes that serve coffee purchased directly from small farmers or farming co-0ps. (The term for this practice is direct trade.)
There is good reason for getting so specific with directory entries.
Fair trade is a growing trend in the United States, and while that is a good thing,it is also a temptation for corporations to take advantage of popular fair trade symbols through mass production and watered-down practices (such as fewer visits to ensure standards are being met) than small cooperatives tend to provide. This is one of the many reasons why I spend so much time researching the best companies in order to those which I can feel comfortable recommending to you. All of the companies recommended here at The Social Eater procure coffee through direct trade practices. I have not gone talked a whole lot about direct trade versus fair trade up to this point because 1) I initially used the term fair trade at the outset of this project before research taught me about direct trade, and 2) I did not want to confuse or overwhelm readers, especially those new to the world of social eating.
A couple more notes:
1. Some coffee shops sell both directly traded coffee and coffee that is not. Every time I received this information, I was also told that the reason is because the shop wants to sell only the tastiest, highest quality bean. I respect that kind of transparency in those I talked to, but if your goal is to vote with your dollars, speak up and ask a few questions when you make your visit. You may just initiate a quality conversation.
2. Please speak up if you see errors in the information you see here or you have more to add. The directory is a work in progress; I have no qualms about making changes.
With all that said, check out the directory and let me know what you think!