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When buying fair-trade or direct-trade coffee or chocolate, many people will find words, “fair or direct” as stamps of approval. It feels good to buy products with these certifications. But what exactly does fair-trade and direct-trade mean, and how should it affect your decision to buy?

It’s important to understand what stands behind these certification terms because it will help you make a decision that aligns with your values. Fair Trade is a global movement that certifies goods like coffee and chocolate, making sure the products are abiding strict quality standards. Fair Trade standards encourage environmental friendly practices, including fair labor practices. However, in some instances, Fair Trade makes it very challenging for smaller farmers to sell their crops due to the higher cost of fees. As a result, some local coffee roasters and chocolate makers Directly Trade with the growers and farmers, thereby, cutting out any middle person buyers or sellers. In this way, roasters can also ensure quality standards that meet their local or regional needs. READ MORE