This Columbus Day: Try Direct Trade

October 07, 2011


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Find a direct trade route to great coffee!


Whether you celebrate Columbus Day on Monday October 10 or the traditional date of October 12, this week is our annual remembrance of Columbus’ journey over the Atlantic Ocean. When he set out from Spain, he was searching for a direct trade route to Asia.


Direct Trade has another meaning. To modern traders, who import commodities such as coffee and tea, direct trade involves developing a relationship with the grower and buying his crop.


Direct trade helps the farmer more than the conventional sales model, whose key players are the conglomerates, who hire brokers who buy shipload quantities for the lowest price they can get. Price is the priority rather than qualities of the grower’s life and the coffee itself. Direct trade roasters, on the other hand, visit the farms and apply their coffee know-how to helping the farmers improve crop quality. Not only is this model more personal, but that personal touch extends down the coffee chain. The results are better deals for the farmer and better coffee in your cup.


Columbus never discovered a direct trade route to Asia across the Atlantic, nor did he discover how great the new land was for nurturing excellent coffee plants. But he did introduce Central America to the European world, which eventually led to coffee plantations flourishing there. Why not celebrate the anniversary of those discoveries by enjoying the taste of a Direct Trade coffee from two of the areas “discovered” by Columbus?  Three suggestions are below.





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