As a small business, we pride ourselves on supporting our coffee producers, ensuring a more sustainable income and lifestyle for their families and communities. We believe presenting the prices we pay for our coffee adds to an ongoing industry movement of transparency and accountability and in doing so, helps ensure the sustainability of the industry we love.
Historically, the coffee trade has had a lot of middlemen. These intermediaries score a disproportionately large percentage of coffee profits due to power and market share inequalities. As a result, coffee farmers, who have the smallest market power, receive less compensation for their products.
Increasingly so, coffee farmers are turning to other crops as they aren’t being provided with a livable income from beans alone. There are so many factors that affect the price of coffee as each farm and country of origin is unique. But generally, if your coffee is on the cheaper side, it’s likely the producers are the ones losing out.
We find it heartening to hear that our customers want to know more about where their coffee comes from. Here is a breakdown of our prices, in alignment with our goal to support growers whilst procuring the highest quality beans.
Our approach centres on working with the producer or post-harvest processing unit via the most direct line possible. We have trust in our origin partners, such as Moata Raya and Ansha Yassin of Co-Qua lab in Ethiopia, who act as our medium between roaster and producer. Their extensive experience in the industry ensures a mutually beneficial transaction and a strong and lasting relationship between producers and our roasters.
Recently, we invested in Co-Qua, helping them build their own sourcing and export company after a few challenging years of lower quality harvests. This has offered us access to some exclusive high-quality lots and smallholder farms that we wouldn’t have known about without the wisdom of Moata and Ansha.
In some cases, we’ll travel directly to Co-Qua in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where we select the coffees at the lab and then visit the producer or post-harvesting processing unit to assess their processing techniques, ensuring best practice is followed. In other countries, such as Kenya, we purchase coffee through an auction, as is standard practice. We also visit exporter Dorman’s in Nairobi to select our coffee, which Dorman’s will purchase and export on our behalf.
Every single coffee has a unique cost of production, influenced by labour, harvest yields, processing, environment, political considerations and more. Given this multitude of factors, we never dictate the price of our beans. This is always done by the producer or post-harvest processing unit, and usually exceeds the Commercial and Fair Trade price for coffee. An increase in market price does not always lead to an increase in income for our producers. When sourcing coffee this way, producers aren’t exposed to the volatility of the commodity market.
Once our coffees are selected, we sign a purchase contract and swiftly ship a full container of select lots, ensuring the quality is not compromised during transit. When they arrive in Australia, vigorous quality control assessments are performed. The coffee is roasted, resulting in a weight loss of 15-20%, and then packaged, marketed, sold and shipped, adding significant costs.
Each decision we make in the coffee procurement process contributes to a stronger local community and industry as a whole. We hope that this increased transparency and visibility in pricing, sourcing and packing of our beans will generate a greater dialogue about the future of coffee and our role as roasters.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions – We welcome the conversation.