Many of us take for granted that our favorite brew will be there when we wake up in the morning to help us get going, but that may not always be the case. In Kenya, and other origins as well, the farmers who grow the specialty coffee we love are uprooting their coffee bushes at an alarming rate. In fact, if things continue as they are, specialty Kenyan coffee, arguably the best coffee in the world, may not even exist in another 25 years.
This is because the farmers who are responsible for growing the coffee we love are frustrated at being systematically marginalized and sidelined from the sales process. In fact, Kenyan farmers are still being paid about the same today that they were in the 1980s, even though Americans are paying more than ever for a cup of coffee. Many factors contribute to the problem, including: corruption, high production costs, theft, and a long, often vertically-integrated supply chain monopolized by western corporations.
In Kenya the same marketing agencies that are hired by farmers to help them find a buyer who will compensate them fairly are often simultaneously paid by larger coffee-exporting companies to source coffee and keep their prices low. Often times, American importers and roasters are misled to believe their products are ethically sourced, when in fact they are not, and the complexity of the supply chain makes it nearly impossible for them to discover the truth without going to the source themselves. Similar problems exist in other coffee-growing countries as well. Most knowledgeable roasters are aware of this “Injustices,” but few know a way to effectively make a difference. Zabuni Specialty Coffee Auction believes we have a sustainable solution! When your roaster buys their coffee through Zabuni, they can know for certain that the farmer is fairly paid because our auctions are completely transparent from beginning to end.
Next time you visit your favorite coffee shop, ask your barista where your coffee came from, and what, if any, proof that that coffee was ethically sourced. Do they have a way to verify that source? If not, you can recommend Zabuni!