The development of Ethica Coffee from the initial concept has been a slow journey. After a sudden change in my life it became clear to me that life is too short to drink bad coffee and chase more THINGS in life. It was time to make a stand for the injustices I feel passionate about. One of those being…
FAIRER PRICES FOR THE
COFFEE GROWER’S OF MY VILLAGE.
All my life I have been amazed, yet at the same time heart broken, at the sight of my family and other villagers carrying their 50 kilogram bags of parchment coffee many kilometres from the garden to a point of sale. The steep, jagged mountains are covered in thick rainforest and often blanketed in early mist, which usually clears by mid morning for a few hours of glorious sunshine, only to make way for the inevitable afternoon downpour. The only road to my village was built using axes, machetes and spades in 1955. This very road has been reduced to a hazardous track often skirting cliff faces in an effort to manoeuvre around landslides, which are an all-too-often result of the inclement weather conditions. This, combined with the history of neglect by Governments, means the farmer has to carry the coffee yet further again to a point of sale where the buyers can load their 4 x 4 utilities. These farmers have been ignored by their government representatives who will not act to repair the roads efficiently.
Prior to setting up Ethica Coffee I visited my village on several occasions each time explaining what I was intending to do and how they would benefit through higher prices for their produce.
Initially I had a meeting with several hundred of the village coffee growers who turned up to discuss my vision and it’s implementation. I am fluent in the language so communication is clear and accurate. I set the minimum price and assured the growers the price I gave them was the Ethica Coffee rate and the villagers were not to accept any less from anyone claiming to be an Ethica buyer. I’m sure we can offer them more in the future as we become more familiar with the distribution processes and as the economic situation improves.
Once the parchment (which is the raw coffee bean after it has been removed from its inner covering) was purchased villagers were employed to hand sort the beans ready for milling and shipment to ourselves here in Australia. Ethica coffee is roasted by my son, Mal, who was initiated into the tribe in 1995 while he was in his final year of high school.
One may ask if our growers are registered as “Organic”, “Fair trade”, “Rainforest Alliance” or any of the other current, fashionable catch phrases.
It is too difficult and very expensive for growers to apply for such certification. Who benefits the most from these certifications? How many handlers pay a registration fee in the journey from the tree to the cup so they can sell under these labels? How can one tell if these certified growers actually benefit from being a part of the organization to which they hold certification?
And who holds these organizations accountable?
Ethica Coffee delivers to our growers, and delivers in many practical ways.
Search out the truth if you, like us, believe in a sustainable and fairer world. Now, thats Fair.