Fair Trade Organic (FTO) Coffee Beans have seen a recent surge in popularity because of the increasing health-consciousness of consumers. These Organic certified and Fair Trade certified beans typically see a price premium when compared to similar coffees in a region, but the premiums that the end-users pay has seen to be decreasing over time, making them more affordable. But why are people so actively seeing FTO coffee beans?
Organic coffees must meet certain criteria as set out by a number of organizations like OCIA, who mandate what types of soils and pest control can be used. This in turn reduces the number of potentially harmful chemicals in the coffee, which can also impact taste. When coffee trees are sprayed with pesticides, some of the chemicals inevitably leach into the beans and travel with them all the way to your cup. While minuscule in quantity themselves, these have a habit of building up in your body and can wreak havoc on your immune and endocrine systems.
Fair Trade certification is handled by another organization entirely, typically Fair Trade Canada up here in Canada. By working with coffee growers to develop a community and work in synchronicity instead of against one another, coffee farmers are able to earn a higher wage for their coffee beans, though critics assert that the majority of the increase is pocketed by intermediary organizations. Nevertheless, in a number of direct conversations with coffee farmers, many roasters have (anecdotally) been told that they do receive a slight premium for certifying their beans as Fair Trade.