Direct Trade with Thrive Coffee Farmers
For the past few years, Coffee Labs has been proud to work with an organization called Thrive Supply, a division of Thrive Farmers. They are both organizations that promote the use and benefits of direct trade with coffee farmers. Many of you may have already read our blog about direct trade. You can read it in full here, but for now I’ll explain briefly what it means. Direct trade is a system that gives the most benefit to the people directly involved with the coffee process. Farmers are often left out of the profits when they sell their coffee. Various middlemen sometimes get in the way, and they farmers lose ownership of their coffee, and therefore any rights to additional profits, right after they sell their crop. For this reason farmers generally make very little money from selling their crop. This is what usually happens. However, Thrive connects roasters like us with their network of farmers in Central America, Brazil and Burundi. Through this direct connection the farmers make a much higher profit on their crop, and are able to invest in higher production quality. Everybody wins. Direct trade relationships allow the final consumer to “know who grows” their coffee, and to know the effect that a trading arrangement like this has on their livelihood. We are currently offering two coffees from Thrive, one from Guatemala and on from Costa Rica. The Guatemalan coffee we are offering is grown by farmer Eddy Adolfo. According to Thrive, he has been farming for as long as he can remember, and always dreamed of becoming a coffee farmer and growing the family business. His dream is now a reality, and we are proud to offer his coffee on our menu. Through direct trade and his work with Thrive he has been able to invest enormous amounts of time and money into what he believes are the best ways to grow high quality coffee: treating his employees well and practicing great agricultural practices. Being able to trace the origin of our coffees is very important to us, and thrive allows us to do that. The other coffee we are offering is called “SlōDry” from Costa Rica. It’s a great example of a farm being able to get more creative with their coffee production, to great effect in this case. You can learn more about the SlōDry process in the video here, but to put it simply, the coffee is processed in a way that allows the green coffee to mature in a unique way. The process allows the sugars to develop in the green bean, which creates a sweet and full-bodied cup. Without direct trade relationships, it would have been very difficult for farmers like Don Mayo and Eddy Adolfo to be able to make their coffee as great as they have made it. This is not to say they never would have been great, but it would have been much harder to invest in new processes and techniques without relationships like these. Coffee farmers would still be trying to create the greatest quantity of coffee with almost no consideration for quality. It’s relationships like these that are so important to Coffee Labs. We want to be able to bring you the best coffee possible, but we also want to be able to make a positive impact in people lives. Organizations like Thrive allow us to do just that, and we are very proud to be able to work with them.