Coffee is a major commodity. The rise in popularity of artisan coffee in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal. We have gone from choosing to buy coffee in high street stores such as Costa and Starbucks, to brewing our own artisan coffee at home perhaps by purchasing top-quality coffee beans (which could be sourced from Seattle coffee roasters and its likes). Honestly, consumers are no longer willing to spend money on mediocre coffee made by inexperienced baristas. They want a great cup of coffee made from top quality beans grown on a small farm somewhere in Colombia or Rwanda.
The Coffee Supply Chain
The coffee supply chain is extraordinarily complex. Beans are grown on farms in countries as far afield as Guatemala, Uganda and India. The beans are then sold on via traders to processors and exporters, before ending up at roasters and retailers to be bought by the end consumer. Smaller farmers don’t have the power to export green coffee beans to roasters, so they end up losing money in the supply chain.
Many of the smaller coffee producers have formed co-operatives to beat the bigger producers at their own game. This is how the Fairtrade organization first began and today, with Fairtrade’s help, smaller producers can achieve a fair price for their coffee.
Big brands such as Costa are still undeniably popular, as evidenced by their domination of the high street. However, anyone who appreciates good coffee tends to avoid these places because the quality of coffee is not good enough for a true coffee aficionado.
Smaller Coffee Brands
Smaller artisan coffee shops tend to avoid big brand coffee beans. Instead they buy coffee from smaller suppliers who roast their own coffee beans. Faro beans by Javafly are a good example of this type of coffee. Faro coffee is roasted in Canada. It is an organic Fairtrade coffee made from beans grown in small farming communities. Many other smaller coffee brands adopt have adopted the same strategy: usually starting from scratch supplying coffee to a small number of customers before expanding into the wider community and selling their products online.
Big brand coffee shops all use their own brand of coffee beans, but smaller, artisan coffee shops are free to use whatever coffee beans they like. Independent coffee shops appeal to the more discerning palate. Instead of being staffed with inexperienced baristas who know nothing about making the perfect cup of coffee, they are usually run by coffee nerds who do know, and more importantly, care.
Socially Aware Customers
Customers who frequent independent coffee shops tend to be more socially aware. They don’t want to drink coffee from large global brands. Instead they choose to buy freshly brewed coffee made from Fairtrade beans that originate from small farms. By doing so, more of the money they spend goes into the pocket of the farmer as opposed to the processor or exporter.
Thanks to the proliferation of online coffee suppliers, it is now incredibly easy to buy coffee beans from smaller producers. You may pay a little extra, but in return you are guaranteed a superior flavor and a fantastic cup of freshly brewed coffee.
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