Equal Exchange: Coffee

Equal Exchange: Coffee

By Makaela Willis, Marketing & Owner Services Assistant

What is all the buzz about? It just might be LoveBuzz Equal Exchange coffee! 

Equal Exchange is a Co-op within the Co-op! The only difference is that Equal Exchange is a worker co-op while we are a consumer cooperative. Their mission is building long-term partnerships to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and consumers. They are helping to create a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable world through Fair Trade and their worker cooperative.

This Co-op was created in a bold act of support for (and with) Latin American Farmers in 1986 by Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Michael Rozyne, who started importing fairly traded coffee from Nicaragua during the US Embargo against the Sandinista government. Now they sell more than coffee; they also sell chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot chocolate mix. They proudly support authentic fair trade and work directly with the farmers that their products are sourced from. They work with over 40 small farmer organizations around the world. Equal Exchange also works in collaboration with those other cooperatives to create training programs, including quality developmental trainings to help put women in leadership positions.

Equal Exchange is known for challenging the existing trade models and instead supporting small farms and connecting consumers to the producers through education and their marketplace. They do farmer focused trade, making sure that all the small-scale farmers, workers, and artisans they partner with have a rising and stable income and equitably distribute the economic gains, opportunities, and risk associated with creating products and selling them. These are only two of the eight points stated in their article Our Model: Authentic Fair Trade where they talk about their standards and how they are doing things differently than other Fair-Trade organizations.

If you want to see all the Cooperative projects that Equal Exchange is involved with, check out their blog where you will find articles on all sorts of amazing things from their work on supporting gender equity to regenerative agriculture. They are always working to bring attention to the many small farms and artisans that Equal Exchange purchases from. Everything they sell has a person, or a community of people, behind it.

Some of their coffees do even more than caffeinate those who consume them, 50 cents from each pound of BioRevolution sold goes to innovative agriculture projects in organic regenerative farming, carbon sequestration, and climate resiliency with a goal of raising $25,000 in annual contributions to help combat the climate crisis. So, on top their amazing fair trade and cooperative spirit, this coffee has a cause. If you buy this variety of dark roast, you are also helping to save the planet!

I have had Equal Exchange coffee many times. (Some of us GreenTree staff really love our coffee.) I will not lie, sometimes I need coffee to get through a challenging shift after a long day of classes or for those early morning shifts where I woke up a little later than planned. Recently, I tried Mind, Body, & Soul. I had to try it because it seems to be a popular blend – I see it a lot in the carts of our customers. I took it home and enjoyed a cup of coffee while I worked on my college internship assignments. It was a great pick me up, and while I put a sweetened creamer in my coffee, I really enjoyed how gentle the coffee was. It really felt like it was good for the Mind, Body, and Soul. It does not have that harsh bitter taste at the end of a sip that is my least favorite thing about most coffees.

If you are interested in trying any of the coffees I mentioned, or trying one of the other varieties, we carry Equal Exchange coffee in bulk and in bags. Not only do we sell their coffee and other products, we also serve their coffee at our coffee bar, giving people the boost they need to start the day (or get through it)! We would love to hear about your favorite flavor from Equal Exchange. Tell us in the comments or when you come to the register.

To celebrate this excellent company, for the month of July GreenTree is having a sale on Equal Exchange coffee, we are selling their 5 pound bags of coffee for $39.99 instead of $52.99, and their 1 pound bags are $9.99. Check out some of their tasty flavors or stock up on your favorite blends this month.

Pick up a 5lb bag today!

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