Coffee Bean International adopts direct trade program

Coffee Bean International announced Wednesday the launch of a direct trade program, “Project Direct,” working directly with farmers with a goal of paying higher prices for better quality coffee and directly improving coffee growers’ farms, communities, and quality of life.

The Portland-based specialty coffee roaster and wholesaler said direct trade, single origin is not a new concept in the coffee world, where micro-roasters have pioneered the practice. Already, two major national retailers — Target and The Fresh Market — have added Project Direct coffee to their private brand offerings, but Coffee Bean International plans to expand the program.

“The Project Direct program is a commitment by our company to improve the quality of life for farmers and to pursue the mutually beneficial goal of adding transparency and improving coffee quality,” said Patrick Criteser, president and CEO of Coffee Bean International, in a statement. “This program elevates our company’s long-standing partnerships with farmers to a higher level of commitment, and assures our clients have access to the highest quality, sustainably sourced coffees available in the market.”

The first Project Direct coffee for Coffee Bean is from the San Ignacio region of Peru. Working with more than 20 independent coffee farmers — 90 percent of whom are growing organically — Coffee Bean International is setting coffee growing standards that will lead to the continued improvement of the coffee crop, while farmers receive between 40 cents and $1 per pound more than established fair trade prices. Coffee Bean International is working to establish direct trade relationships with growers in Nicaragua and Tanzania this year.

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