Our new coffee columnists Gee Gallant from The Yard in Norwich talks about how a cup of the good stuff is about more than just the taste of the coffee itself.
What I have always loved about visiting independent coffee shops is finding out the story of the coffee they choose to serve – from the flavour profile to the farm it is grown on. When it came to opening The Yard, that was always going to be one of our priorities: serving coffee that was not only really tasty but also properly supported the farmers that grow it – through direct trade.
Direct trade, in my opinion, is not talked about enough. I knew for my first column in nourish, I wanted to really promote why it is important, and how you can support direct trade coffee shops and roasters! But what is the difference between direct trade and fairtrade?
Fairtrade coffee is usually bought through a cooperative that deals with the money from coffee roasters and buyers. In turn the cooperative pays the farmers at or above the minimum fairtrade price and leftover money is put into a community fund that can be used by farmers and workers as well. This is certainly a way more sustainable and ethical system than what was being done before!
Fairtrade has grown from being something that not all coffee brands offered to being an important standard for the coffee industry. But as the coffee industry began to move forward and independent coffee shops and roasters developed, people began to look into ways to become even more sustainable and ethical when buying coffee.
Direct trade is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a way of coffee sourcing that involves buying the coffee beans directly from the farmer. The farmer can work with the coffee buyer to negotiate a true price and consumers get better access to the highest quality coffee beans! Direct trade is often referred to as ‘beyond fair trade’ as it goes above the standards set by fair trade and creates a strong relationship between the farmer and the buyer. We are so proud to be using direct trade coffee! Our house espresso is called Agua Santa, named after the farm in Brazil where our coffee beans are grown, and we work really closely with the farmer Paulo and our importer Cal to make sure
the price is right and the quality is there to ensure you have the best cup of coffee possible.
Not only in Norwich but also across Norfolk and Suffolk, there are so many fabulous coffee shops and roasters serving amazing specialty coffee that is direct trade and I feel proud to be among them!
Next time you come to buy a cup of coffee when you are out and about or beans for your home, look for somewhere supporting farmers properly and paying directly for their beans! You will be making such a positive decision in supporting coffee farmers and helping contribute to the sustainability of the coffee supply chain as well as getting a quality cup of coffee!
- The Yard is owned by Gee with Shane Blake.
You can find them in Pivotal House, Red Lion Street.