Or perhaps our supplier has a Colombian Fair Trade bean, but it's twice the price of a Mexican Fair Trade bean. If we can get 2 bags of a really nice Mexican Fair Trade bean for the same price as one bag of Colombian, and we only have budget for one or the other, well, you can guess what the decision is going to be.
Also, our coffee has to be great! A lot of you know that one of our favorite coffees around here is a nice, fruity & floral Ethiopian. We have tasted a lot of Ethiopian coffee but have yet to taste a Fair Trade Ethiopian that is up to our standards. We know there has to be one out there and as soon as we find it, we'll be all over it. But so far it has eluded us. So for now, we buy the best Ethiopian we can at a fair price, from sources like Cafe Imports, which is also a certified Fair Trade coffee importer, and which has a stellar reputation in the industry for quality and social responsibility.
There are other reasons to purchase non-certified coffee. For example, our Nicaraguan coffee is from the folks at El Recreo Estate. We deal face-to-face with our friends, Mirriam & Hector Morales here in Massachusetts to purchase their coffee. Mirriam's parents own the coffee farm in Nicaragua so we know the farm is getting a fair price for their coffee. El Recreo Estate can never be a certified Fair Trade coffee due to the rules of Fair Trade (individual farms cannot be certified unless they are part of a cooperative, and plantations and estates are not allowed to join cooperatives). And we know that El Recreo Estate is committed to social and environmental responsibility due to their Rainforest Alliance certification. Their coffee is great, so really, we don't see a reason not to buy their coffee.