Direct trade is a term used amongst the coffee industry to distinguish a green coffee buyer who buys directly from the coffee growers, typically cutting out both the traditional middleman buyers and sellers. This also includes agnostically operating outside of the control of organizations that control certifications such as Fair Trade. The Direct trade model is best known for its reputation of building mutually beneficial and respectful relationships with individual producers or cooperatives in the coffee-producing countries. A growing population of coffee roasting companies are adapting to the model to directly foster and fortify relationships with their counterparts at the farm level. This allows the opportunity for coffee roasters to travel to coffee regions, and trek the indigenous lands so they can hand pick the coffees they choose to serve. Direct trade presents many opportunities for farmers to improve the quality of their product at origin due to the higher purchasing prices.

Notable Benefits

  • Higher paid wages and higher paid prices for coffee.

  • Improvement to coffee quality, growing and irrigation improvements.

  • Finances for alternatives crops.

  • Direct investment into infrastructure improving living standards and resources for cleaner drinking water.

  • Refined organic research and data directly linked to global sustainability and growth.



The Fair Trade certification was created to protect the interests of coffee farmers and the coffee industry from fluctuating economic imbalances or volatile markets. A minimum market price floor is set for coffee farmers under the Fair Trade umbrella, guaranteeing at least .20 cents above minimum market value. The goal of the certification is to prevent decay of rural communities that rely on agriculture. Its purpose is to protect farms from market crashes and re-investment into infrastructure and sustainability. Fair Trade farms must also meet labor standards such as paying a minimum wage to workers, allowing workers to organize, and ensuring health and safety standards.