Saturday 13 July 2024
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UK – Union Hand-Roasted Coffee looks beyond Fairtrade for sweeter success

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Union Hand-Roasted Coffee sources exceptional, high quality coffee direct from small-scale farmers across the world. The East London-based company craft-roasts this coffee in small-batches and supplies to home users through and can be found at café’s and gourmet food shops across the UK.

Jeremy Torz and Steven Macatonia founded Union Hand-Roasted Coffee in 2001 with a mission to work with farmers who produce high quality coffee and develop equitable trading relationships.

“The Fairtrade approach doesn’t fit our business model because it focuses on commodity products and fails to put quality and superior taste on centre stage.” says Steven.

“This is completely at odds with what the discerning coffee drinker wants – a great tasting cup.  The end consumer inevitably loses out buying Fairtrade”.

Whilst promoting artisan coffee production, the London duo strive to underscore secure ethical sourcing, and developed their trading model, Union Direct Trade.

Union Direct Trade is an initiative that goes above and beyond Fairtrade in more ways than one.

Through Union Direct Trade, Jeremy and Steven develop personal relationships with the coffee farmers they work with all across the world. Union Hand-Roasted Coffee is out in the field with producers for nearly 90% of the year, working direct with coffee farmers.

This hands-on approach helps develop long-term trusting commercial relationships and, inevitably, the high quality coffee produced commands substantially more than the Fairtrade price.  Union Hand-Roasted Coffee sources from the same producers, year-after-year, bringing sustainable development to remote, rural communities.

Union Direct Trade also prioritizes investment in educational programmes. In Guatemala, for example, Union Hand-Roasted Coffee works with Iliana Martinez, General Manager of a coffee cooperative. Iliana helps coffee farmers understand their own business better.

Most recently, this group has re-invested profits in a plan to mitigate the effect of widespread Coffee Rust disease, which can have a devastating impact on production volumes. Often the simplest of plans can increase coffee yields and quality, which, in-turn, helps promote sustainable livelihoods for the farmers.

The results of Union Direct Trade are two-fold: For the coffee farmer it provides aspiration to earn more by producing increasingly higher quality coffee, aided by regular practical support from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. 00For the coffee enthusiast, it produces a delicious cup, but underscored with ethics.

“Why would a farmer want to be known for being poor? Better that he is rewarded and famous for high quality coffees” says Graciano Cruz, another of the coffee producers Union Hand-Roasted Coffee work with.

Hear more about how Union Direct Trade is raising the quality of gourmet coffee from Graciano Cruz, a coffee producer in Panama who is directly benefitting from working with Union Hand-Roasted Coffee watch this video.

Source: press release

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