What’s The Difference Between Direct Trade & Fair Trade?

Have you ever walked through the aisles of a grocery store or read a menu at a restaurant and seen the words “direct trade” or “fair trade” advertised in big, bold letters. Did it make you stop and think about what that might mean?

Today, we have grown used to products and companies using trendy terms to try to attract us to become a customer. For this reason, we don’t think too much about what some of these claims actually mean.

Many times they can be gimmicks to simply grab your attention, but other times they are qualities that you actually should value in the products you buy and the companies you support.

Both direct and fair trade, for example, are wonderful things to support. As consumers, however, it is easy to get these two terms a little mixed up in your mind.

So what exactly does direct trade and fair trade mean, and what’s the difference between the two? Is this something I should look for in the products and companies I support or just a gimmick to gain my business?

As a sustainable coffee shop in Minneapolis, we are here to answer all your questions and more. Let’s take a look into both direct and fair trade products.

What is Direct Trade?

Direct trade focuses a lot of emphasis on the quality and origin of a product, or in our case, coffee beans. Through direct trade, distributors buy directly from farmers across the globe. This results in less middle men between those who farm the coffee and, you, who is drinking it.

This usually results in higher quality at lower prices for distributors, without multiple middle man mark ups. This can be beneficial to everyone involved as farmers have more power and say in the prices they charge, as well as the overall process, distributors pay less, and you get a better cup of coffee.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade was created as an answer to address disparities between small coffee farms and larger subsidized farms across the world. Fair trade focuses on the conditions of coffee farmers across the globe.

The goal of fair trade is to help small or struggling coffee farms sustain themselves and improve their working conditions, promote equality, and ethically expand international trade.

The fair trade system is all regulated by a company called Fairtrade International. The system includes a chain of farmers, exporters, importers, producers, and distributors.

What Does This Mean For Your Coffee

Overall, both fair trade and direct trade are good systems to support when choosing products to buy, companies to support, and coffee to drink.

At 7 Corners Coffee, we care about where your cup of coffee came from, which means we care about the people responsible for providing it, from start to finish. The single origin roasters we work with provide exceptional coffee through ethical working conditions for farmers.

We can trace back each coffee we serve to the farmer who grew it, and do our part in ensuring those farmers are paid fair livable wages. It is our goal to support sustainable coffee production so that these families and communities can thrive from each cup of coffee they help create.

We are proud to say that we have relationships with roasters around the world and are partnering with them to help coffee farming communities flourish. All that comes together in the high quality, delicious, cup of specialty coffee we serve day in and day out in our Minneapolis coffee shop!

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