Purchasing with purpose

We support the businesses of small scale farmers

There are three main archetypes of coffee farms in the world: commodity agri-businesses, large estates and smallholder farms (less than 10 hectares of land). We choose to support the businesses of small-scale farmers, and increase their access to market. Read about the farmers and co-ops we work with on their respective single coffee product pages.

Of the many actors and transaction points in a traditional supply chain, smallholder farmers and farmworkers see the smallest returns on every pound of coffee sold and often rely on many intermediaries who take a cut between them and buyers. For smallholders, annual yields can ranges from a few hundred kilograms to a few thousand kilograms, meaning smallholder farmers feel the impact of price and climate volatility the hardest. Sometimes we buy from individual farm owners and may purchase their entire annual production, but the majority of our coffee is produced by groups of smallholder farmers called co-operatives or producers associations. Other times we’ll buy from washing stations that purchase fresh coffee from smallholders in the region, transform and export it, and provide services to the farming community. These systems allow very small farmers to gain access to the marketplace, and oftentimes, provide an alternative to the commodities market where they would make far less return for their crop.

Designing a fairer pricing model

Like all businesses, no one coffee farm has the same operating costs, productivity or profitability ratios. This said, most small-scale coffee farmers share one economic reality: the costs to produce a pound of coffee far exceeds the commercial "C-price" for a pound of coffee. This is a critical issue that threatens coffee farmers livelihoods, and the sustainability of our industry.

The dominant commercial pricing model leads to the crises of generational farm abandonment, farmers needing to diversify income streams or move to more profitable crops, and lack of incentive or possibility for producers to invest in farm renovations or quality improvements. We purchase coffee in a private market through transparent intermediaries called importers. In this private market, value and pricing can be negotiated directly between farmers and buyers. Together, we work with farming communities, local mill owners and exporters to fix prices that are 2-3x higher than the alternative commercial floor price. We are continuously striving to pay the maximum for our coffee. We have ambitions to disrupt in-equal economic distribution in this market and will share more on such projects and pricing data soon.

We invest in sustainable agriculture

The Arabica coffee tree is at risk of extinction. This matters because it is the species that produces most of our world's coffee. Climate change and decades of unsustainable commercial farming have depleted soil nutrients and threaten biodiversity that allows coffee plants to thrive. The result of this impacts not only our environment, but decreasing yields and incomes for many smallholder farmers.

> 100% of our coffees are shade grown > This year, 40% of our coffees were organic certified. You will find the certification on each coffee's single product page every single product page > If a coffee does not have an environmental certification, we buy from non-certified organic farms > We are part of the WCR Checkoff program. For every kg of coffee we sell, we donate a portion of proceeds towards World Coffee Research

Today, our premiums support these projects:

> The purchase of new coffee tree seedlings > Farm-management training > The purchase of productivity inputs like fertilizer and mulch > Food security initiatives > Income diversification projects > Gender equity training > Investment in youth education > Access to healthcare

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