Direct Trade - Erklärt am Beispiel Kaffee

Direct Trade - explained using coffee as an example

A lot of things get mixed up in the confusion of fair trade, direct trade, and other seals . Very few people know how to correctly classify the different terms. For us, direct trade plays a big role. The fewer intermediate steps a green coffee has to go through, the better it is not only for the producer, but also for us as the recipient of the goods. We know exactly where our coffees come from. Not just the country of origin or the region, but also the specific farm or cooperative, as well as the type of harvest and further processing are clearly understandable to us.

Such precise traceability does not happen on its own. In order to gain such insight, maintaining relationships is essential . We have been visiting our partners in the countries of origin for many years now and have been able to build trust and a relationship that makes this insight possible.

The limits of direct trade

Despite all the good will towards direct trade, this is not possible without restrictions with some countries. In places where coffee cherries are grown in small quantities by private individuals or farmers with very small areas, they are taken to washing stations for further processing. In these cases, the direct relationship is more likely to be with the owners of these washing stations or the people in charge of the cooperatives that the farmers have joined.

Direct Trade - Intermediaries as backup

If we don't have a direct connection to the farmers or cooperatives for a particular region, we still have coffee traders on hand whose recommendations we have trusted for many years because they select and work according to the same principles as we do.

Direct Trade has many components

However, if there are direct relationships with the coffee farmers or plantation owners, they can, in the best case, even open up many opportunities with regard to new forms of cultivation and processing.

Direct Trade Coffee Trade Wild Coffee Rwanda

Direct Trade - Be there, watch, participate

When we are on site, we can not only talk to the coffee farmers , but also see first-hand how the coffee is grown, how the processes work, what the atmosphere is like and where there might be room for improvement. It is just as important for us not only to be there during the work, but also to get involved ourselves. You can only really understand and comprehend what you have done yourself. This also helps us to understand any difficulties and adversities and to appreciate the work of the coffee farmers even more.

Direct trade offers advantages for coffee producers

Direct trade relations can also make work easier for the producers themselves. They know that there is someone who definitely wants to buy the product. This means that producers can dare to try new things and, with the support of the importer or roaster, try out new processing methods and invest in better infrastructure and processes. By exchanging ideas with buyers, producers also gain insight into the trends and needs of the importing countries and can adapt their offerings accordingly. Both sides gain a better understanding of each other's position. Not only can the quality and processes be optimized, but the costs incurred for production and export also become more understandable.

Coffee Farmer Direct Contact Wild Coffee

Direct trade ensures better goods

The producer knows exactly who he is working for . This increases the incentive to do a really good job. Ultimately, the improved quality leads to a higher price, and higher revenues lead to more success and reputation. The model can then become a role model for neighboring farmers. This can improve the quality of goods and the quality of life of an entire region. Closer trading relationships make many buyers more aware that by paying reasonable, higher prices they are not only investing in the quality of beans, but also in the quality of life of the farmers and their families . In addition, the roasters can express special requests and know what goods they can expect from their producer.

Wild Coffee Direct Trade Coffee

Direct trade also carries risks

But problems can arise in direct contact between dealer and buyer even without any malicious intent. For example, if a harvest does not meet the promised quality . The buyer can either demand a lower price or even refuse to accept the product. For the producer, this means that he must look for other sales channels to avoid loss of income. Of course, it is no less problematic if the roaster does not receive the agreed quantity and quality. So even direct trade is not without risk. Coffee is an agricultural product, after all. Something can always happen. Unfortunately, industrialized countries like to use the buzzword "direct trade" to advertise their products without wanting to face the consequences.

Control through cupping

We do a lot of tasting to ensure that the coffee is of good quality. During a process known as cupping, the coffees are tasted and selected for their taste and quality . This is done directly during our on-site visits to the coffee producers. And if we are not there, we get green coffee samples sent to the roastery .

The fewer intermediate stations involved, the faster the logistics of green coffee can be carried out. In addition, the obligation to comply with contracts increases.

Quality Control Direct Trade Coffee

Are consumers willing to pay more for direct trade?

And in the end, of course, there are also the consumers who, by choosing directly traded coffee and the associated higher price, are contributing to better trade relations in the first place . Where there is no demand, there is no supply. Direct trade also leads to greater awareness among buyers. If a product is explicitly directly traded, what about all the others? How many steps are there between the manufacturer and the consumer?

Direct trade is only for marketing purposes?

Of course, advertising direct trade is also a good marketing tool and does not always correspond completely to the facts. Many people also make money with the Fairtrade seal and the higher price only reaches the producer in part. Take a look here.

But just because direct trade and its stories are good for marketing and it helps roasters to sell better quality at a higher price, the positive effects on the supply chain should not be dismissed out of hand. As with everything, good information and honest communication are important so that consumers learn more about the product and its background. Ideally, they will think about it and weigh up their consumption behavior accordingly. This creates more transparency, sustainability and quality awareness .

We will continue to strive to maintain our close trade relations with the countries of origin and to pay appropriately for good quality. #staywild !