It determines the start to our day, it helps us conquer those early morning meetings and, quite frankly, it is something that the majority of people cannot live without. If you have managed to avoid succumbing to the addiction of this smooth, caffeinated drink, I am very impressed. Speaking on a personal note, I simply cannot complete a day without the warm beverage by my side. Coffee. 

Fact: Every day, an estimated 1.6 billion cups of coffee are drunk worldwide.

Fact: Coffee is the second most traded commodity worldwide after oil. 

There is no denying that Australians love their coffee, constantly eager to drink a quality beverage. In fact, by 2016, it is estimated that the Australian coffee industry will be worth close to $6.55 billion. This nation has seen a steady increase over the past five years when it comes to coffee manufacturing because there has been growing numbers of small, speciality coffee shops popping up. 

Fact: Child labour has been commonly noted in the coffee industry.

Fact: Coffee Farmers receive 7-10 per cent of the retail price of coffee sold in the supermarkets. 

Do these startling facts make that long black a touch bitterer? By no means am I trying to stop you drinking coffee, because we all know that is not possible. However, I am trying to make you aware that these figures can be changed. Actually, it is evident that coffee shops – locally – are extremely aware of this research and are therefore attempting to make a change, one soy latte at a time.

While I was conducting my research, I found it interesting that just because the coffee beans used are not labelled as “fair trade”, does not mean that they aren’t sourced ethically. A representative from BlackStar Coffee at West End stated that, “…we find that many growers engaged in programs to support their workers and community cannot afford the certification.” This humble coffee shop at West End purchase Rain Forest Alliance and UTZ certified coffees – both fairly sourced brands. 

Fact: Ethically certified coffee has risen in popularity as more consumers recognise that this standard means that fair trade policies are being implemented. 

Fact: There have been programs created to ensure that farmers’ access to markets for selling their products is more extensive. 

It is exciting that as our society evolves, efforts are being made to ensure a more ethical world. The consumer is becoming more aware of where their products are coming from and in turn, seek to find ethical options where they see fit. It puts a challenge to all coffee shops because if they wish to reach this target market, they should ensure that fair trade coffee beans are being used or at least something similar that embodies this notion. BlackStar Coffee at West End seeks to, “...one day be able to work with growers directly to support them to produce a quality product, while also ensuring they understand that we, and other roasters in the market, are willing to purchase coffee at a premium where the grower is supporting their workers and community appropriately.” 

So continue ordering those double shot, extra hot lattes and (for those who prefer a weaker option) mochas. In the meantime, think before you drink and try to be more actively aware of where your beans are sourced. 

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