Transparency: How much is paid and to whom.

Transparency: How much is paid and to whom. 

Recall your fond memories of grabbing a firetruck red canister from the pantry and gingerly peeling the silver aluminum lid back, revealing the uniformly ground coffee beans. Soon this brown goodness would warm and awaken you. One cup and my eyelids won't feel so heavy, two cups and I'll recall that fantastic dream I spent all night emerged in, three cups and I’ll take on this world.  Even then - deep in our grocery store coffee days, we defined our mornings by the cups of coffee consumed. 

In part thanks to the third wave coffee movement, the way that we enjoy coffee looks a lot different. Marked by “Increasing coffee quality, more direct trade, a greater emphasis on sustainability, lighter roast profiles, innovative brew methods”, consumers signed on to pay more for these distinctive brews.  Moving away from large, pre-ground canisters bought by the half dozen, the attention is now in the details - who produced the coffee? Are those notes of honeysuckle or lemon zest? How recently were these beans roasted? With a hyperfocus on quality coffee, the producers should be in an advantageous position to name the price for their craft and finally reap the benefit of their intergenerational fortitude as coffee producers. 

Unfortunately, that seldom occurs. Colonialism and white supremacy has made it so that the coffee buyer maintains the power over the producer and controls the price. Chad Trewick, of Reciprocafé, LLC, acknowledged the systemic maintenance of power well in an 2016 interview with the Specialty Coffee Association,

Even as a buyer, it took me almost 10 of my 20 years in that role to finally acknowledge the fact that each year I traveled to origin, it cost me more—and my salary was increasing—but I was always trying to pay the same price or less than the year prior, and I was rewarded for that behavior. I’m guessing this is the mandate and incentive structure many buyers have—and one we should all reevaluate because it continues to weaken farmers and their ability to produce high quality coffee”. 

In 2018 the Global specialty coffee market was valued at a revenue of USD 35.9 billion and is expected to grow and reach USD 83.6 billion in revenue by the year 2025.

How the 83.6 billion dollars creates prosperity and for whom is up to us.
Being transparent about where value is garnered and created is an important first step in creating a more equitable, prosperous supply chain. 

We, the collective of roasters that source and produce for Finca to Filter and Finca to Filter leadership, will continue ongoing conversations about transparency and its role in producing more equitable, resilient supply chains. Though iterative, our current transparency commitment is to paint you a meaningful picture of what was paid and to whom. We will do this in a jargon-free, contextually appropriate manner with the goal of cultivating an understanding among consumers about how coffee is actually traded and to inspire conversation amongst consumers on these issues