Let's Trade: Coffee
I love coffee and like many coffee lovers I look for excuses to drink it as often as I can. Apparently I'm not supposed to drink coffee as much as I do because it can be hard on your stomach but hey, that's me. I walk on the wild side, I laugh in the face of danger muah ha ha ha!
Coffee is one of the easiest things to buy fair trade. If you're new to ethical shopping I think coffee is a good place to start because it's so readily available. You'll be happy to know that you can find fair trade coffee from all over the world for the same price as coffee you'd find it at your local market. Unfortunately the place where you won't find fair trade coffee is most of the larger coffee chains. I have worked for two large coffee chains (college ain't free!) and although the coffee is delicious I've yet to understand why corporations as large as these can't fully commit to sourcing all of their products ethically...but that's another rant for another time. I am here to share the good news that there are so very many yummy fair trade and ethically sourced coffees that will not only change the lives of the farmers and workers who produce it but that purchasing it can literally save you THOUSANDS of dollars.
The best part about the trade
You save so much money!! At first glance it might seem worth the extra $1.50-ish for the convenience and that status that comes with the famous green and white cup. However if you buy a tall cup of coffee every day (and let's be real, some of us are spending $3-4 on every cup) you are spending between $600-$700 a year on coffee. By making the switch to fair trade coffee at home you'll save over $500 a year. Crazy! Also I personally think that fair trade coffee is better. As a whole, smaller roasters are using super fresh coffee roasted in smaller batches which is going to ultimately produce a better cup.
The hardest part about the trade
You have to make it yourself and honestly for some of us that's a HUGE change in lifestyle. This isn't a guilt trip or a boycott of Starbucks in any way. I'll probably still have that occassional meeting or late morning where coffee shop coffee makes sense and I feel 100% comfortable with that. The real idea behind this trade is moving from a lifestyle of convenience and luxury to a more thoughtful lifestyle. It's the little changes that overtime become the things that define our prioritites.
quick tip: If you plan on buying lots of coffee at one time opt for whole bean and grind it yourself to preserve freshness.