Small Scale Coffee Farms VS. Industrial
Apr 19, 2023
Differences between industrial coffee farms and small-scale farms:
1. How the coffee is grown
2. How much the farmers are paid
3. How the relationships are maintained
1. How coffee is grown
Did you know that coffee plants grow better in the shade? Despite this, farmers were convinced that if they cut down the shade trees they would be able to produce more coffee. This led to a decrease in production and the eventual reliance upon chemical fertilizers to keep up with demand. There are still some farmers that use harmful chemicals to grow their coffee. Why? Because big-name coffee brands don't care.
Our farmers not only grow their coffee plants under the protection of shade trees but they are also planting more in order to expand their production in the future. Our farmers understand the relationship they have with nature and the importance of biodiversity so in many of their farms, they grow other plants that create beautiful notes in the coffee such as other fruit plants.
2. How much farmers are paid
Industrial coffee roasters are usually focused on meeting demand and that means that they will get their coffee from where ever they can. This means farmers cannot rely on a steady income from them because they could pay less or go to another farmer. They also don't have a relationship with these farmers and are okay with paying them the bare minimum for their green coffee.
As member-owners of Coop Coffees, we make sure that our farmers are getting paid fairly for their quality beans and dedication to sustainable farming. If you want to see how much we pay our farmers check out Fair Trade Proof and click on one of the farmers and then click "More Info". Once you're on their page click "Search" in the top right corner and you can see the actual documents and prices.
3. How relationships are maintained
As previously mentioned, large industries just want to meet their demand. In order to do this they will go where ever and to whomever has cheap coffee for them to purchase. This means that farmers cannot rely on them to come back year after year to buy their coffee which allows them to support their families and communities. This stunts their growth because they do not have a reliable income to build upon.
On the other hand, Coop Coffees thrives on building lasting relationships with our farmers. We know that when we maintain relationships the farmers not only prosper but so do their communities which in turn helps everyone. Like we always say "Happy people make great coffee" and that starts with being able to trust your buyers.
Did you know that we have partnered with 100% of our farmers for the past three years and 19% of them for the past 20 years? That's right! For 20 years we have been working with the same farmers!
(Zach, Desert Sun's Owner, standing with Pedro, one of our farmers)