Monday, March 06, 2006

regional coffee culture, part many

"last month, consumers international, a consumer rights monitoring organisation, concluded that of all the ethical-certification schemes that companies have adopted, fairtrade offers the most tangible benefits for growers."

and here's an interesting piece describing how fair-trade coffee is catching on in the u.k. long-time readers know my main concern about fair-trade has to do with quality -- how high quality is this coffee?

we aren't doing farmers any favors by encouraging and supporting them to grow middle-level coffee that's actually non-competitive in the long run. the fair-trade program has to focus more on coffee quality, imvho.

and the second issue i have with fair-trade as currently implemented is the small number of farmers that can participate. the rules are too restrictive, too expensive, and the paperwork burden is large, especially when we are considering the plight of peasant farmers in the distant misty mountains who may be nearly illiterate.

finally, this burden may be too high on independent roasters as well. i would like to see the entire fair-trade system streamlined, opened up to more people, and for the paperwork and cost barriers to be substantially reduced.

i also received a nice phone call today from edward bramah, of the bramah coffee museum. his new book should be arriving fresh from the printing presses in just a couple of weeks.

of course, his coffee makers: 300 years of art & design is a coffee lovers classic!

posted by fortune | 8:24 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 2 comments

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