Why are coffee farmers paid so poorly?


Because they are at the bottom of a value chain where the bulk of the value (aka profits) goes to foreign companies


Keep 90%+ of value (profits) in the country of origin (Ethiopia)


By growing, processing, roasting and packaging at origin


Just Ethiopian Coffees’ objective from its founding has been to provide coffee lovers Ethiopia's best roasted-at-origin coffee.

The coffee I import is grown and processed in Ethiopia; the green beans, instead of traveling by ship, train or truck for months to various warehouses and then to roasters, are picked, processed, roasted and vacuum-packed in Ethiopia and then air-freighted to Just Ethiopian Coffees. The bulk of the value (profits) remains in Ethiopia and you get fresh specialty coffee.

Many food products, e.g., Norwegian or Scottish salmon, French wine and cheese, Parma ham and New Zealand wine are all fully processed “at home”. Strict rules for quality based on variety, origin, processing, etc, ensure that consumers get consistent quality and that the bulk of the benefits are re-invested in the home country. Ethiopia is moving in the same direction. On March 11, 2021 I participated in an UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) sponsored a workshop in Addis Abeba on Fostering Integration of the Ethiopian Roasted Coffee Value Chain into Regional Value Chains aimed at promoting exports of Ethiopia's roasted-at-origin coffees. Much has been done. More needs to be done.

My suppliers, who have thousands of years of “coffee in their veins”, continuously improve quality by shortening the value chain. They purchase directly from farmers or their co-ops (or their own farms) and roast, package, etc. themselves. They know which farm or co-op their coffee comes from (traceability), they pay higher prices directly to the farmer and support community projects like schools, health facilities or water or waste-water infrastructure (ethically sourced) and help their farmers with improved growing, harvesting and processing practices (sustainability).


Key take-aways:


Roasted-at-origin is the foundation of Just Ethiopian Coffees


The majority of the profits remain in Ethiopia


Air shipment of roasted-at-origin coffee guarantees freshness


My suppliers’ coffee is traceable, ethically sourced and sustainable