Intelligentsia Direct Trade


Although this is Fair Trade month, I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate Direct Trade as well. Direct Trade has similar goals as Fair Trade, but with fewer middle men and without the expensive certification. Coffee roasters who employ the Direct Trade model also pay farmers at least 25% more than Fair Trade prices.

This week, Chicago based, Intelligentsia Coffee, launched a new site that features key elements of the Direct Trade buying model they created. The illustration above captures the journey from crop to cup while each stage is highlighted with more information when you visit the site and roll your cursor over the various segments.

Almost all coffee roasters claim that they “work with farmers” but few can back the promise. Intelligentsia travels to our coffee’s source each of the 12 months of the year. We visit farms, roll up our sleeves, and get to it. We take 24-hour redeye flights and 10-hour, high-altitude pick-up rides over serpentine roads. You pick up our coffee and we shake the hand of a farmer in Peru. Or Rwanda. Or Guatemala. And when you see the Intelligentsia Direct Trade logo on our bag, you know how much effort is invested in each bean. –Intelligentsia

On Intelligentsia’s main site you can even click through Geoff Watts passport (co-founder & green coffee buyer) to see all the places he’s visited to ensure the highest quality coffee and build great relationships with the farmers who supply it. &

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jason Coffee 10/13/2010 at 8:53 pm

    Direct Trade has so many benefits but is hard to do if you are a super small roaster. I love the poster and especially the website it is hosted describing the process, very cool.

    • Reply bwj 10/18/2010 at 12:43 pm

      True, paying the fees for Fair Trade certification is also hard to do for small roasters.

  • Reply Wilco Select Coffee « Dear Coffee, I Love You. | Caffeinated Inspiration. 11/23/2010 at 7:03 am

    […] exposure it will give Intelligentsia—who roast some of the best coffee you can buy—and their Direct Trade program that pay farmers even more than Fair Trade. You can pre-order now, and the coffee will be roasted […]

  • Reply Intelligentsia iPhone app « Dear Coffee, I Love You. | Caffeinated Inspiration. 09/14/2011 at 7:41 am

    […] additional page includes links to Intelligentsia’s twitter feeds, information about their Direct Trade system, in-season coffee, and the company itself. While this is obviously branded content, […]

  • Leave a Reply