After oil, the most valuable world commodity today is coffee. While we continue to pay big bucks for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price that coffee growers get is so low that most don’t make a living wage. I learned about this watching the movie Black Gold about one man’s mission to save 74,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers from bankruptcy.
The purpose of fair trade is to promote healthier working conditions and greater economic incentive for producers. The coffee is purchased directly from the growers who are part of a co-op. They are guaranteed a minimum price for the coffee and when market prices exceed the minimum, they receive a premium.
To understand where my coffee dollars go I used this coffee calculator. Only 3% of the cost of my latte goes to the growers! Fair Trade USA explains what we can do to assure that every cup of coffee and tea we drink is Fair Trade Certified.
On another front, this April, Twining changed its recipe for its most famous blend, Earl Grey. Thomas Twining, who began with a tearoom in London in 1706, launched the blend in 1831, naming it after the Prime Minister, Charles Grey. The distinctive taste is black tea infused with the oil of the bergamot orange.
The new Earl Grey contains extra bergamot and citrus. Traditional Earl Grey drinkers are distressed. “I cannot describe how awful this new tea tastes,” said a tea drinker in the Daily Mail. “The old award-winning tea was in a completely different league to this foul-tasting dishwater.”
If you are a die-hard enthusiast like me you can join the Facebook Group: Bring Back The Original Earl Grey Tea. While we are at it, let’s make sure they use Fair Trade Certified tea.