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Jack Kelly, CEO of Caffe Ladro, with the kids of Ojo de Agua after a little soccer. Ladro helped to build the soccer field with proceeds from coffee sales. Photo courtesy of Caffe Ladro.


Direct Trade vs Fair Trade

By choosing Direct Trade or Fair Trade Certified™ you’re helping the environment and the lives of people thousands of miles away.

Both are good choices if you want to choose coffee that helps others, but is one better than the other? And what's the difference, anyway?

What Are They?

Fair Trade and Direct Trade are terms that apply to ways of purchasing coffee and other agricultural products grown abroad.

Both Direct Trade and Fair Trade:

  • Serve to promote environmental protection, economic sustainability and the rights of labourers and farmers alike.
  • Set standards that must be met by the grower to receive the designation of being either Direct Trade or Fair Trade Certified.
  • Set prices above the cost of production for the farmer
  • Have environmental regulations regarding disposal of hazardous and organic waste, maintenance of natural resources, and the use of herbicides and pesticides.
  • Address labour issues, ensuring workers are paid minimum wage and that health and safety standards are being met.
Direct Vs Fair Coffee Farmers

What's the difference?

Check out our chart below.

Direct Trade Fair Trade
Direct Trade standards are determined and regulated by the roasters themselves, who visit the farm regularly to ensure all standards are being met and determine the quality of the coffee. Fair Trade standards are regulated by Fair Trade USA, a non-profit third party.
Roasters build strong relationships with all farmers who meet their standards, at no extra cost to the farmer. Certification is only available to small, organised, democratic co-op farms, where the farmer must pay annual certification fees upwards to $10,000 to be eligible.
Roasters are highly invested in the quality of the coffee, as well whether standards of economic, social and environmental sustainability are being met. At this time Fair Trade does not regulate the quality of the coffee, except to ensure the conditions under which it was grown meets their economic, social and environmental standards.

You can see why, while we offer a host of Fair Trade and Direct Trade coffees, Blue Tiger tends to favour Direct Trade. While both are good, Direct Trade ensures that farmers are not rewarded for merely growing coffee, they are rewarded for growing exceptional coffee under studious conditions. It takes years of hard work to produce the quality of coffee our roasters are after.

By rewarding quality with a higher price we are encouraging the production of more quality coffee.

Where to now?

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Follow the link below, find a roaster and check out their coffees to see which are direct trade.