Challenge the status quo.
Coffee is one of the most highly traded commodities in the world. When an industry is built on providing convenience and comfort to its consumers, we have a responsibility to question its sustainability and transparency.
It is estimated that 400 billion cups are consumed every year. Yet, as sociocultural and ecological anthropologist Catherine Tucker wrote, coffee drinkers consume coffee "without ever having to think about how the drink reached their hands".
The harsh reality is that the majority of coffee farmers are not compensated fairly for their time and effort.
The Bitter Truth
We all love the rich, flavourful taste of coffee; but can we swallow the truth that comes with it?
The average coffee cost of production costs is higher than the price of coffee on the commodity markets. Our daily dose of caffeine pays less than 2 cents per cup back to the farmer. How do we expect farmers to make a living under these conditions?
Coffee prices have been unsustainable for a very long time, and it is not feasible for the coffee industry to operate sustainably under these circumstances.
At Pirates of Coffee, we are on a mission to question every step of the coffee value chain and dive deep to figure out how to make it more sustainable for all actors in the coffee supply chain starting from coffee farmers.
From seed to cup, coffee passes through many hands in the supply chain. One reason farmers receive so little from their hard work is because all the players in the supply chain take a cup. At each step, a portion of the profit is extracted, leaving very little for farmers. An approach to solving this problem is the direct trade model.
Direct trade is when you purchase coffee straight from the farmers, cutting out the middle buyers, sellers and the organizations that control certifications. We use this approach as much as possible via our green coffee purchasing sister company, WE THE ORIGIN. This allows us to build relationships with farmers based on trust and ongoing communication.
We have also introduced Transparent Origin coffee, where we clearly display the price paid to coffee producers on each bag of coffee.
We go beyond fair trade. With coffee prices hovering around USD $1 per pound in the market, farmers are losing money. If average production costs are USD $1.05-US$1.40 per pound, how do we expect coffee producers to make a living? We are committed to ensuring they are paid fairly so that they can generate a profit from coffee production.