3 Questions You Should Ask Before Your Next Sip Of Coffee...
If you’re anything like I used to be then you probably don’t think too much about the coffee you drink. I used to buy my coffee from the supermarket, whichever packaging looked the most appealing or, my trusted go-to cup. However, recently that has changed.
A question was all it took. A simple question really.
“Is that cup of coffee worth it?”
Think about it. That question is incredibly simple but is also extremely open-ended. It can be answered in almost any way, but no matter how you actually answer it, once you’ve usually thought about it, the answer is usually no.
Caveat: Of course, if you’re in desperate need of caffeine then usually the answer is a short and sharp YES.
You really should be asking yourself this question every time you have a coffee, for your sake, for the farmer's sake, for everyone’s sake. This article intends to dig a little deeper into some of the many ways you could actually answer this question.
Is that cup of coffee worth the money you spent?
Perhaps, the first question you should ask before your next cup of coffee is just exactly how much that cup is worth. On average, coffee spends up to six months in the supply chain, that’s half a year from when the farmer picks the beans to when the consumer first touches them. Similar to a lot of food or drink products, coffee beans lose a lot of quality and taste as they lose their freshness. Just a little side note for any fancy coffee drinkers (me included!) this quality and taste cannot be regained, no matter how you use them.
That expensive coffee machine you bought, yeah? Think of it like buying a Ferrari and putting normal petrol into it. Sure it looks nice, but you’re missing out on so much of the benefit.
Ultimately, no matter what coffee you buy for your daily flat white, cappuccino, espresso, whatever it is, you are probably overpaying for the quality you are receiving. How can an inefficient coffee supply chain produce a good cup of coffee? It can’t possibly. If your coffee is the result of a supply chain not at its best, then how can your coffee be at its best?
However, this is where the Cofe Project aims to change all of this (shameless plug time). We are revolutionizing the coffee supply chain. In the model we have developed coffee beans will only spend a quarter of the time that currently do to reach the customer.
What does that mean?
Well, for starters you will get considerably fresher coffee, but also as we are removing a large chunk of the profit-taking chain, you are likely to pay a lower price. A complete win-win!
Is that cup of coffee worth the time for the farmer?
The second question you should ask before your next cup of coffee is not even one that really relates to you. It is actually to do with how much the farmer got paid for all the hard work, time and effort that went into producing the coffee beans. Coffee farmers get a completely unjust deal in the current supply chain. They are exploited by a chain of middle-men that steal the lion’s share of value from the chain.
But your coffee is FairTrade?
Firstly, pat yourself on the back for trying. I mean that sincerely if you purchase fair-trade coffee because you want to help other people then that’s good. Or at least, it should be good. But really, the fair-trade organisations aren’t actually doing a great job of introducing anything resembling fair trade. Even in instances of “fair trade” deals, farmers are only earning an extra 10% on top of what they would in ordinary circumstances.
Now I don’t know about you, but to me and to us at the Cofe Project that doesn’t sound very fair. If this is the first you are hearing about it, then don’t feel bad. The fair-trade organisations aren’t exactly shouting about this, of course they aren’t; why would they? That would be bad for business, right? The current coffee supply chain means consumers are naturally plenty removed from the farmers and it seems everyone is happy to keep it that way. Obscurity and uncertainty mean that things can stay the way and everyone wins.
Well, not everyone, there is still the farmer.
Cofe wants to change this. The reason why the fair-trade organisations haven’t achieved what they set out to is that they are still operating in the same broken system, and by doing so, in some cases, they have exasperated the problem. The logical solution is to change the broken system, and that is exactly what we are going to do.
Is that cup of coffee worth it to your humanity?
One of the other important questions you’ve got to ask yourself before your next sip of coffee is whether you want to keep supporting the existing system. The current coffee supply chain is a mechanism that is designed to exploit its weakest members for profit, and I hate to break it to you all, but we, as consumers, are amongst the weakest parties in the chain! Until recently we didn’t have the option to do anything but accept the status quo, but now that we have the ability, do you want to keep supporting a broken system?
Once you become aware of the degree of exploitation if you choosing to do nothing about it are you any less guilty than those carrying out the exploitation?
If you don’t want to be part of farmer exploitation by association then consider the revolution to the coffee supply chain taking place at Cofe. We are creating an online platform which connects consumers directly with farmers and roasters. Deal directly with your chosen coffee farmer, know exactly how much they receive for their efforts and exactly how fresh your coffee beans are.
At Cofe, we are Coffee minus the Farmer Exploitation. Click here to visit our website where you can read our whitepaper and find out what you can do to help.