Fair Trade vs. Direct Trade


We often get asked about third-party certifications such as Fair Trade. Fair Trade was very relevant when the C-Market was low and farmers and growers didn’t have as much access to information and education as they do now. Direct Trade Sourcing has many benefits that other sourcing doesn’t offer.

Our approach to buying is to create Direct-Trade Relationships with growers and having great relationships with quality importers that care about educating coffee producers. We visit countries of origin to ensure that farming practices are sustainable and fair, creating our Direct-Trade Partnerships with many growers. We pay high differentials for quality, which is generally price above Fair Trade price levels. We work with our importers and farmers to ensure that they benefit from better quality coffee, but we also ensure that workers benefit from better pricing as well. We pick farms that pay workers fair pay and provide quality living arrangements during the harvest season.

Working directly with coffee producers who use sustainable growing standards is also important. These producers are concerned with soil preservation, clean water practices, and maintaining a quality standard of living for their workers. The best coffee comes from producers who invest time and thought into their farming practices. They understand that long-term success depends on providing high-quality coffee. Choosing sustainable economic, environmental, and social standards is in everyone’s best interests.

We have found that the best approach is a free market sustainability. When you focus on the quality of the cup and pay high differential, the system works. In order to get the premium pricing, the process has to be done correctly. The pickers are paid more because they are paid based on the grade of the cherry picked. The farms get paid more for the excellent quality. And, most importantly, we feel that this dedication to quality should be obvious when you have Millcreek Coffee in your cup.