We source most of our green beans through Mr. Green Beans in Portland, Oregon, who works with various importers to bring in some of the best green coffee from around the world.
Green coffee can come from many regions around the world, with each country having different labor laws (or lack thereof, in many countries). Various groups like the Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade Coffee, and others offer buyers assurance that the coffee being purchased was grown and harvested in an ethical manner. As neutral third parties, they ask farms to go through a series of qualifications and certifications to prove that they are paying their workers a livable wage, and often have other safeguards in place to ensure the workers are making a livable wage.
Some certifications also will speak to the conditions the coffee is grown in, like USDA Organic certification. This ensures that coffee farms are not using things like harsh pesticides when growing and harvesting their green coffee.
What does this mean to you? Well, if you’re looking for a coffee that you’re certain was grown in a sustainable way with livable wages paid to the workers, you should look for these certifications!
The downside to these certifications can be the time and expense (often thousands of dollars) that farms must go through to gain and maintain the certifications.
Most of our coffee is certified Fair Trade and Organic (like our Mexico and Rwanda currently in the store). However, in some cases, like our Brazil we currently have in stock, that is a conventional, direct-trade coffee–meaning it is neither certified as organic nor Fair Trade. Many small farms simply don’t have the resources to pay for certifications, but still choose to grow coffee in a sustainable way while paying their workers a fair wage. In the case of Fazenda Sertaozinho, our Brazil green bean supplier, many small farms have joined together to form a co-operative that sells together and follows an agreed-to standard of growing and harvesting.
Hopefully this helps answer the question of how we source our coffee. If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to chat with you next time we see you, or send us a DM!