Do you know where your coffee comes from? Find out the difference between direct and fair trade here


Over the last decade, a large number of coffee drinkers have started to pay attention to their coffee’s origins, from where it’s grown to how its supply chain works.

“Fair trade” has gone from being something that not all coffee brands offered to an important standard for the coffee industry. But is it really the best way to buy your coffee? Are there alternatives that give better coffee and a better deal for farmers?

Direct trade is a type of coffee sourcing that involves buying coffee beans directly from farmers. Under direct trade, coffee farmers get a better deal and roasters and consumers get better access to the world’s highest quality coffee beans.


There are several differences between fair trade coffee and direct trade coffee. The biggest is the way the coffee is bought:

Fair trade coffee is usually bought through a cooperative. The cooperative handles all of the transactions with roasters and coffee buyers, and in turn provides some of the cash to farmers at or above the fair trade minimum price.

A small percentage of the money is then set aside in a communal fund, which is used by farmers and workers. The system is good, and certainly a better solution than the typical method of purchasing coffee, but it isn’t perfect.

Direct trade coffee is bought directly from the farmer. The roaster or purchaser pays the farmer for their coffee beans, establishing a direct relationship. The farmers are able to work with the buyers over time to get a fair deal and deliver a great product.

The end result of direct trade is that farmers get a better deal, since a larger amount of each transaction goes directly to them. Roasters also benefit, since they have far more control over the quality and type of coffee beans they’re supplied with.
Direct trade coffee is also known as “beyond fair trade coffee”, since it goes beyond the standards established under fair trade. It’s ethically sourced, higher quality and designed to facilitate stronger, better relationships between buyers and farmers.


As a customer, direct trade coffee is a great deal. You benefit from a higher quality coffee bean that tastes better, all while ensuring coffee farmers around the world receive fair, honest compensation for their hard work.

We offer direct trade coffee subscriptions that make it easy to you get your favourite coffee delivered to your door. View our subscriptions to learn more about how easy it is to enjoy beyond fair trade coffee at home or at work.