I frequently read and hear people in the industry writing and talking about their “direct trade” and/or “relationship” coffees. Often those terms are undefined.
And it can lead to a considerable amount of confusion and misunderstanding about what exactly their relationship is with the grower.
I can’t speak for others, but when we designate a coffee as Tony’s Direct Trade, we are guaranteeing that:
- Quality – the quality of the coffee meets or exceeds our minimum cupping score of 85.
- Price – the price that we paid the farmer for his or her coffee is fair, sustainable, and negotiated on an objective, quality-based premium over market.
- Relationship – we have met the farmer(s) and/or producer(s) of the coffee, we have visited their farm(s) and/or production facilities, and we will continue to do so no less than biennially — with the intention of fostering a long term, mutually-beneficial business relationship.
- Transparency – we document, and are willing to share with all interested parties, the financial details relating to our purchase of the coffee.
In short, when you purchase a bag of Tony’s Direct Trade coffee you have our word that we have a personal, fair, transparent and, ultimately, sustainable relationship with the producer of the delicious coffee inside.