From Coffee Farm to Coffee Cup: Why Traceability in the Coffee Industry is so Important

At Redber we are proud to work closely with a selection of speciality green bean suppliers who strive on ensuring better transparency in the coffee industry, paying farmers higher prices for a quality product, and investing in communities to help improve quality of life.

One of these suppliers is The Green Collection, who provide a select range of speciality Micro-Lot coffees from Colombia, including our Pachamama. I had a chat with John and Claudia, who founded The Green Collection, to find out more about what they do. 

Splitting their time between the UK and Colombia, John and Claudia have a close relationship with both roasters and farmers, ensuring the highest level of transparency from farm to cup. As a roastery, not only does this enable us to know where and when the coffee was picked, but it also gives us greater assurance that the coffee is produced ethically and sustainably.

A key part of this close relationship with farmers at The Green Collection is educating farmers about how to improve growing practices and therefore produce a higher-grade coffee, which will also receive a higher purchase price. In turn this sees more investment in these communities, and improved quality of life.

You may at this point be thinking this model sounds a lot like Fairtrade. However, there are common misconceptions regarding Fairtrade that we will now briefly address. Firstly, the idea that because you are paying a higher price, this must be benefitting the farmer. This does hold some truth, particularly when global coffee prices are low, but in reality, the real benefit is often over-estimated.

For example, a significant percentage of the purchase price you pay goes towards marketing and brand promotion. Cooperatives must also pay for Fairtrade certification, which subtracts from the actual higher price paid, and once part of Fairtrade are subject to regulations (such as which fertilisers can and can’t be used) which imposes greater costs.

There are other concerns regarding the quality of Fairtrade beans. Coffee, like any other commodity, fluctuates in price depending on supply and demand factors (read our blog on the topic here!). If the price for low grade coffee is lower than that of Fairtrade, which guarantees a set price, this can encourage the ‘dumping’ of poorer quality crops into the Fairtrade market. This has been echoed in concerns from some roasters.

In contrast The Green Collection, rather than pay a pre-determined price, pay depending on the quality of the beans. This creates incentive to produce a better quality of product, which will receive a higher purchase price. Unlike Fairtrade, this hasn’t been subject to big cooperate deductions. Not only does this mean that as a consumer you taste a much better coffee, but also that the farmer growing it has received a better price for their product.

So, what can you expect from Colombia Pachamama? This truly is a stunning coffee. Expect flavours of chocolate, honey, nougat, with berry notes and a juicy mouthfeel. I’ve been brewing this coffee at home for the last week using a V60, and would recommend this coffee in medium or medium-dark.

We have a selection of Direct Trade coffee offerings and will be introducing these to you in more detail over the coming weeks, as well as some exciting collaborations. Keep checking our blog section here for updates.

Find out more about The Green Collection on their website here.

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