Of the 1.6 million farmers and workers involved in Fairtrade around the world, about half are small-scale coffee farmers. Coffee was the first product to be Fairtrade certified when the first Fairtrade coffee from Mexico hit shelves in the Netherlands in 1988. Currently Fairtrade coffee farmers can be found in 30 countries.

Around the world, 25 million smallholders produce 70-80 percent of the world’s coffee, which is one of the reasons why Fairtrade focuses its efforts on small producer organizations.  No matter what or where your favourite cup of coffee is – fresh ground or instant, in a café or in your kitchen – there will be a Fairtrade product for you.

What Fairtrade Means for Coffee Producers

In the case of coffee, Fairtrade exclusively certifies small producer organizations. By supporting democratic organizations of small farmers, Fairtrade encourages a stronger, more unified voice for farmers in trade relations. The Fairtrade Minimum Price, which aims to cover the average costs of sustainable production, acts as a safety net against an unpredictable market. A Fairtrade Premium above the selling price is invested in community business and development projects.

Fairtrade coffee producers are small family farms organized in cooperatives or associations which the farmers own and govern democratically.

You can read a number of case-studies of Fairtrade coffee producers on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

To find out which coffee producer organizations are currently Fairtrade certified, you can check the database available on the FLO-CERT website. Read more

General Coffee Facts

  • An estimated 1.6 billion cups of coffee are drunk every day. That's over 18,500 cups per second.
  • Coffee beans start to grow as coffee cherries. After the ripe, red cherries are picked, they are washed, dried and hulled. This yields green coffee beans, which are then roasted and ground to make coffee.
  • Coffee cherries ripen unevenly, so the harvest is a labour-intensive process with multiple visits to the same coffee bush during the harvest season.
  • Under the right conditions, green coffee can be stored for over a year, but roasted coffee should be brewed within 2-4 weeks to enjoy maximum freshness.
  • Brazil with around 30 percent and Vietnam with almost 20 percent of world production are the two largest coffee producing countries.

Where to Buy

Fairtrade certified coffee is available in most markets. If you can’t find it, request Fairtrade coffee at your favourite roaster or retailer or get in touch with your local Fairtrade organization by checking out Fairtrade Near You.

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