If you’re in a gift-giving rut, we have just the thing to break you out of it. The Together Coffee line has already brought a beautiful bold Ugandan coffee, as well as a delicate, light roast and rich and dark decaf roast from Ethiopia. Now, for a limited time, we’re offering a Colombian holiday roast with notes of butter toffee and orange that will compliment any seasonal gathering. (All Together Coffee is 100% natural. The tasting notes come from how the beans were grown and roasted — just like fine wine!) Included with this specialty roast is a tumbler and festive packaging that will make for a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. Presents with impact are the theme of 2020.

This special holiday roast was grown by the various smallholder producers in the Palestina region at 1,400 – 1,900 meters. We love that our partner has a longstanding commitment to ethical sourcing which ensures everyone in the supply chain receives pricing much higher and more fair than traditional commodity-grade prices. In addition to fair pricing, our partner is unique because they work with small producers (accepting as little as ten sacks!) which creates accessibility and financial opportunity for farmers who might be otherwise excluded.  

 

Colombian Coffee Market

Like all markets, the Colombian coffee market was hit hard by the crises of 2020. Lockdown procedures limited transportation and travel which limited the labor force available to farmers. Even climate activity seemed to be working against the agricultural industry, as rains started later than usual, delaying the planting season. Perhaps the biggest threat to this industry, though, comes in the form of corporations. Big coffee businesses looking to take advantage of an underregulated area have put small farmers in a dangerous position.

 

According to Counter Currents these large corporations “have capitalized on this shift of power to gain an upper hand in the class war against Colombian coffee farmers.  Operating in a thoroughly deregulated coffee market, it has hyper-exploited small coffee farmers by purchasing their coffee beans at ridiculously low prices and selling the finished coffee at stable retail prices. As documented by “The Economist Group”, “Although world coffee consumption has been increasing at an average rate of 2.2% per year since 2011, to 163.6m 60 kg bags in 2018, the international price of raw coffee has been falling rapidly since late 2018. Meanwhile, coffee roasters are enjoying rising margins, and coffee shops are booming globally. The C Price (the benchmark price for futures of raw Arabica coffee) plunged to US$0.90/lb in mid-April [2019], while the cost of a cup of brewed coffee in coffee shops in the US and Europe has been increasing in recent years, to about US$2 at present”. Source: countercurrents.org

Unfortunately, that means there is an opportunity for exploitation. If farmers are underpaid for their product, laborers will be paid less or cut from the process, all of which forces locals into even more dangerous economic positions.

In the U.S., we tend to be top consumers in most industries. And while drive-thru conveniences and cheap big brands have an understandable appeal, it’s important, now more than ever, that we look at where our products are coming from and how they are getting to the table. Not so we can punish ourselves any time we shop big box, but so we can plan, during seasons like the holiday season, to possibly turn our attention and our wallets to the little guys (and gals).

 

Small farms, small businesses, solopreneurs, side hustlers, and the like were put into devastating positions this year and we would love to spark hope! Both here and abroad. And this is an easy way we can all help.

 

Sseko Fellows, Hosting and Shopping

While the easiest way to participate in change and make an impact is by buying fair trade products like Together Coffee and all other Sseko items, you can spread the love even FURTHER.

When you buy your Together Coffee holiday bundle, make sure you buy from a Sseko Fellow. In doing so, you’ll not only help support small farmers in Colombia, but you’ll also help a small business owner earn an income. Consider this when you participate in Small Business Saturday!

If you want to spread more than just cheer, you can also host a Trunk Show! There’s no buy-in, and no commitment other than talking to your friends and family about Together Coffee. Tell them the above story and show them how easy it is to help people all over the world by shopping fair-trade. You could even earn some Sseko credit for yourself in the process 

Finally, you can also become a Sseko Fellow. Get your friends and family hooked on Together Coffee (and our fair-trade fashion) by purchasing Sseko items this season. Then, sign up to be a Sseko Fellow so that when they come back to you asking “Where can I get more of that coffee?” you can show them the way and launch your business!

Let’s make this season all about helping our neighbors, friends, and people around the world who are just like us, trying to support their families and live a happy life. Truly turn this into the season of giving when you choose who to buy from with intention!