What is Fair Trade Coffee?

Coffee is a staple of many people’s mornings, sometimes even teetering on the edge of complete necessity when it comes to waking up and being a... pleasant human being. Sure, you may brew your coffee in your own pot on the counter or stop by a drive through on your morning commute, but where does your coffee actually come from?

It may be a surprise to learn that coffee is actually an incredibly volatile commodity that endures many challenges before it lands in your cup. It doesn’t begin as Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cute coffee art, in fact, coffee farmers and producers face many hardships, including:

Varying Weather Conditions

  • When unexpected weather events pop up, they don’t just threaten the crops. The quality of coffee as a whole is at risk even after the beans are harvested if a sudden drop in temperature occurs.

Price Fluctuations

  • The COVID 19 pandemic has created a crisis that has caused multiple price shocks and shifts within the coffee industry. The need for Social Distancing has decreased transportation and created labor issues at all levels of the supply chain.

Pests and Animals

  • Varying weather conditions also affect the amount of animals and pests that are attracted to a crop. A sudden warm spell can attract pests that would otherwise not be a threat at that particular time.

Climate Change

  • Increasing temperatures are drastically cutting the area that is able to support the growth of coffee beans by up to 50 percent.

These unsteady conditions affect the livelihood of over 125 million people, worldwide. These farmers typically own small plots of land and are only able to produce a small amount of beans at once.


There is a massive lack of reliable market information accessible to these farmers, which means they also lack the power to negotiate and to be paid a fair price for their product.

In order to compete in the markets today, businesses and companies lower prices at the expense of those who are most vulnerable. In this case, it is hands down the producers.

Sounds bad, right? It is.....

How Do You Fix This? You Buy Fair Trade.

So, What is Fair Trade Coffee?

  • Fair Trade is an arrangement that is designed to aid producers and farmers in developing countries in gaining sustainable and equitable trade relationships.

  • Fair Trade Certified measures the tangible difference made in lives and communities around the world through the use of Fair Trade principles.

How Does Fair Trade Work?

Fair Trade gives farmers and small producers stability by offering:

1. Fair Trade Minimum Price

  • This protects farmers from any sudden price changes and supports the organization of cooperatives and associations within the farming communities. This then allows farmers to negotiate better trading terms and to reach a wider market. If the coffee is organically grown, it receives a higher price incentive as well.

2. Fair Trade Premium

  • This is an extra amount of money that is paid on top of the selling price of their product that they can invest back into their business.

How Do You Know If Your Coffee is Really Fair Trade?

It will have a “Fair for Life” Fair Trade Certified label.

  • Fair for Life is a brandless third party certification program for accountability and fair trade in agricultural, manufacturing and trading organizations.

At the end of the day, Fair Trade is about creating better quality of life for coffee farmers and giving you the best and most delicious cup of coffee the little beans have to offer.

Luckily for you, dear reader, Red Panda Coffee Co is proud to operate as a fair trade company. We stand by our producers and want everyone involved in the Red Panda Coffee Co family to feel the effects of our mission and initiatives to help the red pandas while they enjoy a cup of air-roasted goodness. Coffee is important: Where it comes from is important, too.

For more information or to purchase your own bag of Red Panda Coffee Co. coffee, visit:

“The mission of Red Panda Coffee Co is to provide our community with high-quality single-origin coffee as well as contribute to the conservation and preservation of red pandas. For every coffee bag that’s sold, Red Panda Coffee Company donates 10% towards the Red Panda Network.”

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