There are two certifications that we are licensed to seal in our labeling – Organic, and Fair Trade.
Coffee farms or cooperatives are certified by international organizations that oversee international compliance to organic farming practices. There are hundreds of rules governing this, and it takes a producer of a certain size to be able to complete the paperwork and pay the fees associated with this process.
In addition to the audit done at the farm, the importing body is also audited for organic processes as is our roasterie and warehouse. We must demonstrate that we adhere to the details of maintaining organic integrity for every organic coffee we roast, something we’ve done successfully for over a decade.
Fair Trade can be one of the most misunderstood certifications in coffee. Put basically, Fair Trade is part of an international organization called FLO. FLO guarantees that farmers are paid, for every pound produced, at least the bottom price for fair trade coffee, or the commodity price, whichever is higher. Fair Trade also attaches fees for everyone between the co-op and the roaster, and those fees are used for projects at the co-ops, farms, and surrounding communities, as well as for basic overhead for audits, salaries, etc. within the Fair Trade system.
This sounds great! Why isn’t all your coffee certified Fair Trade, Metropolis?!
For one, the Fair Trade organization that we have chosen to work with only certifies cooperatives, not individual farms. We like to work with individual farms too. Also, there is a scarcity of high-quality fair trade coffee on the market, as many farmers know that they will receive a higher price for high-quality coffee if sold on the open market. We have been very selective with our Fair Trade purchasing standards for quality, and are proud of the level of quality that we have been able to maintain, despite the lack of quality regulations for Fair Trade certified coffees.