In the lead up to Fairtrade Fortnight, Co-operative News held a blind taste-testing of a selection of Fairtrade coffees – all of which have a co-operative connection.
Here are our favourite ten, with the most popular getting a special stamp of approval…
They say: A ‘dry natural’ coffee, sun dried in its fruit cherry, creating a full bodied chocolatey coffee with a distinctive wine flavour and blueberry aroma.
We say: Although this is a stronger coffee, our tasters found it refreshing with a prominent fruity aroma – very drinkable.
The co-op connection: As well as Suma itself being a worker co-operative, Suma’s Ethiopia Harar coffee is from the primary co-ops in the Harar region of Ethiopia, affiliated to Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. Oromia is the region where coffee first originated and it is by the Oromo people that the usage of coffee as a food started in the beginning of the 5th century.
They say: A single origin, 100% Arabica medium bodied coffee with a delicate mixture of sweet tropical fruits, caramel and mild nuts to finish.
We say: A very nutty coffee, with a full body and a delicious lingering aftertaste – one of the most popular with our tasters.
The co-op connection: Kingdom Coffee is a Fairtrade and ethical tea and coffee supplier that has charitable partnerships with Toybox, Latin Link and Tearfund. This coffee is produced by the Honduras Coctecal co-operative, founded in 2006 and primarily made up of members from the Lempira Township. Lempira is a subsistent farming area, its coffee being intercropped with mangoes, rice and black beans.
They say: Full-bodied coffee with blackberry notes and a dark sweetness.
We say: Earthy and sweet, this strong coffee was among the most bitter we tried. An fruity aroma with a lingering honey sweetness.
The co-op connection: Co-operative Food is supporting 12 primary coffee co-operatives in Guatamala, which are members of FEDECOCAGUA (The Federación de Cooperativas Agrícolas Guatemala), a second-level co-operative founded in 1969 to improve the position of small-scale coffee growers.
Origin: Africa and South and Central America
They say: Medium strength, smooth, perky, unique.
We say: A sparky coffee with an organic aroma and a very full body.
The co-op connection: Tim Peaks Coffee was founded by The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess.
It works with Coocafe and Copracel, both Fairtrade certified coffee producing co-operatives in Central and South America that ensure fair and stable prices for their farmers.
They say: Naturally sun-dried, a rich and rounded strong coffee with low acidity; intense aroma with an elegant and delicate sweetness
We say: Another favourite with our tasters, we agree this is a very intense coffee, with a rich and toasty aroma and a lingering sweetness.
The co-op connection: Revolver coffees are co-operative ‘from field to store’. Crystal Mountain coffee is grown by 200 farmers in Cuba’s Cuatro Vientos region.
They say: Rich, smooth and well balanced.
We say: A very popular coffee that nearly made it onto our most popular list, this has a citrussy aroma and an earthy flavour and silky body.
The co-op connection: Waitrose, the food retail division of Britain’s largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership, builds long-term relationships with Fairtrade farmers and suppliers.
They say: Smooth, sweet and balanced with chocolate and berry notes.
We say: Very smooth and chocolatey, with cream, cocoa and cherry notes – Black Forest gateau in liquid form.
The co-op connection: All Taylors of Harrogate coffee comes from independently certified farms and co-operatives – and its limited edition Esperanza coffee comes from Pangoa, a Fairtrade women’s co-operative in San Martín de Pangoa, Peru. Named after Esperanza Dionisio Castillo, the manager of the co-op, sales of this coffee contributes a long-lasting relationship that works towards gender equality in the region. Taylors is also donating an additional premium from this coffee to help fund women’s healthcare.
Case study: Read more about Esperanza coffee here.
They say: Deep body and velvety smoothness; a perfect after-dinner or early morning wake up coffee.
We say: Amazing woody aroma, with notes of cocoa nibs. A fresh flavour and a delicious lingering aftertaste.
The co-op connection: The Equal Exchange worker co-op works with small-scale co-operatives – this coffee is grown by women members of UNICAFEC, a small cooperative with 408 members, 89 of which are women farmer members, that is based in the small town of San Ignacio in northern Peru on the border with Ecuador.
Case study: Read more about Equal Exchange here.
Origin: Africa and Latin America
They say: Smooth, balanced and full flavoured. Rich aromas, vibrant and medium-bodied with a balanced smooth finish. Milk chocolate and caramel aromas.
We say: Roast chestnut and bitter- sweet chocolate aromas, extremely smooth with a balanced aftertaste.
The co-op connection: Cafédirect was the first coffee to carry the Fairtrade label in the UK, and the organisation reinvests at least 50% of profits back into the co-ops and communities of producers it works with.
Origin: South America
They say: Full bodied, organic coffee with a rich aroma.
We say: One of the most distinctive coffees we tried. Notes of sage and cereals, with a lingering citrussy aftertaste.
The co-op connection: Netherlands-based Simon Lévelt supports workers through buying directly from coffee plantations in South America. Its Tierra Nova Fund, mainly funded from Simon Lévelt’s profits, promotes the development of sustainable farming methods and the improvement of the working conditions for coffee and tea producers.
In this article
- Black Forest
- coffee supplier
- Crystal Mountain
- Equal Exchange
- Esperanza Origin
- Fair trade
- Fairtrade fortnight
- Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative Enterprise Ltd.
- John Lewis Partnership
- Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union
- Simon Levelt
- Tim Burgess
- Tim Peaks
- United Kingdom
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories