Transparency – Stoble Coffee Roasters
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The Commercial Coffee Market is Complex

There are a number of people/organizations that make up this chain in order for us all to experience the joy of a cup of coffee.

Typically, farmers grow and harvest the coffee, which is then processed through wet mills and dry mills, then sold to an exporter. The exporter sells the coffee to an Importer, who manages the shipment, storage, and delivery of the coffee to people like us, the roaster. Here the coffee is given it’s final preparations (yep, you guessed it, roasting!), so it can be sold and brewed for everyone to enjoy.

Historically, much of this coffee production chain has been hidden from the consumer, and has often left the profit distribution unequally weighted, leaving those on the production side (e.g. farmers, millers, etc.) with inadequate compensation compared to the rest of the chain.

In recent years, notice has been taken of how this system has poorly and unfairly affected many parties involved in the coffee trading market. Specific initiatives and organizations (e.g,. U.S. Fair Trade (USFT)) have been developed to address this issue.

As a coffee roaster, we are committed to do our best to help advance solutions to this system, and advocate for fair compensation throughout the coffee supply chain. Though there are no simple answers to address the current issues in the system, there are steps that can be taken to continue to move things forward.

As such, we are committing to providing transparency of where our coffees come from and what is paid for them. The table below provides a current list of all of our coffees purchased this year, which lists the producer, region, relationship history, lot size (i.e. volume we purchased), cupping score (SCA), importer used, and pricing metrics. Our Importer paid the Freight On Board (FOB) price for each coffee. For comparison, the table also shows the current C Market price on the date of purchase (i.e. minimum set price coffee may be sold for (per/lb)). The FOB price does not indicate exactly what the farmer is paid, their payment will be less once the exporter and mills take a percentage. 

One initiative in particular we are partnering with (which began in June of 2019) is the Pledge, which compels roasters to be as transparent as possible with where they are sourcing their coffee and more importantly ensuring that fair prices are being paid.

Though there are still many imbalances in this system, we are committed to doing our part to promote change by always paying fair prices for our coffee, and continuing to work toward a more equal coffee market for everyone involved.

Future Goals

We also developed the following goals to keep us moving in that direction: 

  • To continue learning the complexities of the coffee market and find ways to address systematic imbalances
  • To locate and work with producers who share our values of paying sustainable wages to their workers
  • To promote the producers and co-operatives we work with