The Socially Conscious Shopper’s Guide To Buying Coffee And Tea


A cup of coffee or tea might seem like such a simple ritual. But our daily cup (or two, or three) owes everything to our colonial, slave-built economy that relied on European and American trade with Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. The legacy of exploitation in the coffee and tea industries still manifests today, depressing wages and earnings for workers and degrading natural ecosystems. One, though not the only, aspect of that legacy is trade. The fair trade movement that solidified in the late 1980s as a Fair Trade certification sought to tip the scales in favor of workers. More recently, the direct trade movement — which, as its name suggests, is built on direct exchanges between farmers and roasters — has emerged as an alternative to create still greater transparency and worker profit.

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