Espresso is slowly but surely becoming more popular all throughout the developed world, thanks to the coffee bean. Since its discovery, coffee has become an integral part of modern life. Today, coffee is the second most traded commodity on the planet. Each sip that we take means that someone on the other end of the globe earns a living. But then, is that a good thing?
What’s the matter?
The world coffee market is a multi-billion dollar industry. In the United States alone, more than USD 16 billion is poured into the pockets of coffee bean suppliers each year. Unknown to many, it is very likely that one in every two shots of espresso that you have consumed is the product of a child’s hard work or from the exploitation of some worker on the other side of the planet.
Yes, you heard me right: child labor and worker exploitation.
Where does fair trade coffee come in?
Fair trade buyers aim to purchase directly from small coffee producers so that it is more likely that these people will be the ones who will really benefit from the transaction. This eliminates middlemen altogether, as they usually hoard revenues while paying coffee growers very marginal wages.
Espresso made for fair trade coffee will mean more than just satisfying your coffee craving, it will also mean the improvement of other people’s lives. The fair trade buying process ensures that the coffee workers are paid at least equal to current market rates. Take note, however, that fair trade coffee need not be more expensive than regular coffee because of the elimination of middleman fees in the importation procedure.
This allows coffee growers to use their earnings to really improve their lives. For example, because of fair trade coffee, a group of native Mayan coffee growers in Guatemala was able to send their first tribesman to college. These are the kinds of positive changes that fair trade coffee brings about. These are the stories that inspired many government offices throughout Europe to officially use fair trade coffee beans all the time.
How do I get some?
Well, you don’t have to rise up in arms or raise a big banner and go rallying around town. Instead, you can buy only from suppliers that are fair trade certified. Fair trade certified coffee supplies can be found online and in the local grocery. Just look for the fair trade mark.
With fair trade, that simple cup of espresso and your love for coffee can be made even more meaningful because you help change the world, for the better.