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Direct Trade Coffee: What Is It and Why Is It Better?

What Is Direct Trade Coffee?

direct trade coffee

If you travel in coffee circles, then you may have already heard the term “Direct Trade” before, when referring to coffee. What is direct trade coffee, and should you be buying direct trade coffee rather than other types of coffee?

Direct trade, as it turns out, means just about exactly what it sounds like. The coffee roaster or seller you buy your direct trade coffee from ensures that your coffee comes directly from the people who grew the beans, with no one handling any part of the transaction in between. If your coffee is direct trade from Southeast Asia, for example, then it means that whomever you are buying it from bought it from a coffee farm in Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia.

Read on to learn more about this special qualifier for your favorite beverage, coffee.

Why Is Direct Trade Coffee Better?

There are a number of reasons why people may prefer to purchase or drink direct trade coffee. Because all of the middlemen, wholesalers, distributors, etc. are cut out of the process, any profits made from selling their coffee beans to your retailer go directly to the farmers.

When you buy direct trade coffee, you also know the roaster you buy from has a personal relationship with the person who cultivated the beans. This gives them, and you, more control over your coffee buying relationship, given the many social and environmental issues involved with the coffee business.

For example, you can find out directly from your coffee roaster what kind of labor practices and pesticide practices the growers of your coffee use, and decide for yourself whether or not you find them acceptable.

Is Direct Trade Coffee the Same Thing as Fair Trade Coffee?

Fair Trade coffee and direct trade coffee are not quite the same thing. Fair Trade coffee arose about 30 years ago in response to the fact that there were no price regulations in place with respect to coffee.

Fair Trade first started in the Netherlands, with Fair Trade certification designed to make sure that coffee producers were able to make a decent wage. Other countries joined in to form a company called Fairtrade international, whose goal is to make sure that smaller coffee growers don’t’ get squeezed out by larger ones through certification and standards enforcement.

If you buy Fair Trade coffee, you are not buying from someone who has bought directly from the farmers. However, for a coffee to be Fair Trade Certified, everyone along the supply chain must comply with Fairtrade International standards, including farmers, importers, and exporters.

Fair Trade coffee is mostly concerned with making sure that everyone who is involved in getting your coffee to you gets a fair price for their contribution to the process.

Direct trade coffee is not Fair Trade because direct trade coffee does not deal with third party certification. It is a direct relationship between the coffee roaster who sells to you on the one side, and the coffee producer on the other.

Where Can I Find Direct Trade Coffee?

If you like the idea of buying and drinking direct trade coffee, especially direct trade coffee from Southeast Asia, then you can try it right now by having some delivered to your home through The Exotic Bean.

We are the only U.S. distributor for Paradise Mountain Direct Trade organic coffee from Thailand. We deal directly with Paradise Mountain to bring you high-quality, USDA-certified, shade-grown direct trade coffee in rich, bold flavors that you are sure to love. Get in touch with us and order some for yourself or your office today!