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Fair for All

Posted by Oliver Stormshak on

At Olympia Coffee we believe that we can improve our world through coffee. We believe that everyone in the story of our coffees—from farm laborers to cafe customers and all those in between—should find satisfaction by being a part of what we do. We view ourselves as a Quality of Life company. High-quality coffee is our passion, but seeking a higher quality of life for our farmers, staff, and customers is our mission. 


We've witnessed that the coffee trade at origin has the most room for improvement in this story. Both historically and currently, the global coffee trade has exploited the poorest and most vulnerable people in the supply chain to benefit those who wield power. Fair Trade was an early answer to this injustice, offering a farmer about 20 cents more than commodity pricing for every pound of coffee. However, we've also witnessed that Fair Trade is limiting. It includes only cooperatives and large estates and does not benefit small-scale, individual farmers. It also lacks the level of transparency we value and doesn't incentivize high-quality or innovation at the farm level. Fair Trade pays the same rate for the very highest and lowest quality coffees.


Olympia Coffee, therefore, became an early adopter of the Direct Trade model. Direct Trade is a term used liberally in our industry, but typically implies that a coffee buyer agrees to a fair price directly with the coffee farmer and based on quality. In 2010, Olympia Coffee began using this model and developing our own standards to ensure that farmers were rewarded for high-quality coffee. Currently, all of our farmers are paid more than double the Fair Trade rate, and as of 2016, every coffee we purchased met this requirement. While answering the injustice of sustainability for the farm owner, we are now ready to take a critical next step. 

Simply put, no Direct Trade system has ever ensured a minimum wage or safe working conditions for coffee pickers, processors, or other laborers within the farm itself. So, in 2018 we are leading our industry by ensuring that our coffee is Fair for All. We want to provide a higher quality of life for every individual in the story, including every part of the supply chain. We seek to be pioneers in this effort, setting an example we hope that many companies will follow.


This is our commitment to our customers, producers, and all who are involved in the production of our Fair for All coffees:


  • We pay more than double the Fair Trade rate for all of our coffees. Our minimum price (FOB) will remain at $3.50 per pound.
  • We will set coffee prices directly with the farmer, to ensure transparency.
  • We will now guarantee a sustainable minimum wage to all laborers involved the production of our coffee (pickers, processors, and farm workers), set seasonally with the farm owner or cooperative board.
  • We will work only with farmers who provide safe working conditions free of  unnecessary danger, oppression, and violence and with access to clean water and healthy foods.
  • We will visit each farm or producer group every year to provide feedback for improved quality and opportunity for growth.
  • We will purchase coffees with quality standards of 85 points or higher according to SCA cupping standards.

Fair for All coffees will be marked in 2018 by a small stamp on coffee labels. The majority of our coffees will meet this standard this year and we will continue to actively work toward this goal with each of our partners worldwide until 100% of our coffees are Fair for All.

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