Why do we give away perfectly good coffee?
I am a big believer that everyone deserves access to quality, healthy food. This does not happen for many, many reasons but I like to help where I can.
The FLO Coffee System
The Fairtrade (FLO) coffee system has now been operating since 1997 and has greatly helped many coffee growers around the world and has forced consumers of coffee to be more aware of the choices they make.
Over the years, the FLO system has had many critics and other equitable coffee systems have been set up parallel to FLO; such as UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Bird Friendly and others. The trend now in gourmet coffee is to buy direct or beyond Fairtrade. This is when the roaster or owner travels down and directly tastes and purchases coffee from the cooperative or farmer. This is pretty cool and hip and you get great stories, pictures, and often great coffee.
The competition right now between all of these social justice coffee options is pretty fierce. Each certifying organization has fees and costs associated which raise the price for the roaster and consumer which is one of the reasons that the direct trade route is gaining momentum, roasters bypass these fees, most of which do get passed to the farmer.
Conscientious Coffee Roasting
As with everything humans do it has become political to be a conscientious coffee roaster. Often these certifying agencies and even direct trade can increase the raw bean cost by 100% over conventional beans, which translates to a higher retail price for you.
Coffee roasters can make a lot of money roasting Fairtrade coffees. There are many examples of very successful coffee companies that support one of the certifying systems or buy large amounts of beans direct. I wanted to continue the social justice aspect of coffee purchasing in the areas that I sell coffee.
Patrick's Beans Gives Back
This is why I started the Beanstalk Project. The idea was to help offset costs that shelters and drop in centres spend on coffee and to provide a better cup that the users of these organizations may not have had access to. A great cup of coffee can start the day off better, and I believe that it can help others who don't have a home of their own or food.
As of 2020, Patrick's Beans had donated roughly 4000 lbs of coffee (192,000 cups).
I was told in the past that this project would not work, don't bother, nothing should be given for free, and lots of other hurdles with some of the previous companies I have worked for.It is nice to prove them wrong. Don't you think?