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Coffee_farmers_4In a nut shell, Fair trade coffee is coffee which is purchased directly from the growers for a higher price than standard coffee. Fair trade coffee is one of many Fair trade certified products available around the world. The purpose of fair trade is to promote healthier working conditions and greater economic incentive for producers. Coffee farmers producing fair trade certified coffee are required to be part of a coop with other local growers. The coops determine how the premiums from fair trade coffee will be spent. Growers are guaranteed a minimum price for the coffee, and if market prices exceed the minimum, they receive a per pound premium. Fair Trade coffee has become increasingly popular over the last 10 years, and is now offered at most places coffee is sold.

Beginning of fair trade

Fair Trade certification began in the Netherlands in 1988 in response to dropping coffee prices in the world market. The supply of coffee was greater than the demand, and since no price quotas had been reimplemented by the International Coffee Act,the market was flooded. Fair Trade certification aimed to artificially raise coffee prices in order to ensure growers sufficient wages to turn a profit. The original name of the organization was "Max Havelaar", after a fictional Dutch character who opposed the exploitation of coffee farmers by Dutch colonialists in the East Indies. The organization created a label for products which met certain wage standards. Within ten years three other labeling organizations began: the Fair Trade Foundation, TransFair USA, and Rättvisemärkt. In 1997 these four organizations jointly created the Fair Trade Labeling Organization, which sets Fair Trade standards, and inspects and certifies growers.


The Fair Trade Certification label allows farmers and farm workers to escape poverty by providing them the skills and the means to compete in the global market of agriculture products. Although Fair Trade began in the late 1940s, certification and labeling was not enacted until 1988. This label assures consumers that strict social, environmental, and economic measures are taken when the production and trade of an agriculture product occurs. Fair Trade standards require that farmers receive fair wholesale prices for their crops. Farmers who are involved with Fair Trade receive minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. In addition to the price standards of Fair Trade labeling there are other principles that all parties involved must adhere to.

Standards for Fair Trade Coffee Certification:

Fair labour conditions: Those who work with Fair Trade farms are able to work with freedom of association, safe working conditions, and fair wages. Child labor is strictly prohibited.
Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating the middle man and letting the farmer compete in the global market.
Democratic and transparent organizations: Through proof of a democratic market, Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
Community development: Fair Trade farmers and workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, healthcare services and quality improvement training.





This year Sprada is offering a variety of gift ideas for Christmas. With minimal delivery charges, their mail order website makes shopping a breeze. We particularly like the range of gift boxes which offer a nice selection of coffee related goodies. We cant think of anything better than beating the mad rush at the shopping centres by ordering online.


Sprada_gift_box_1Gift Box 1 - R420

  • 4 x espresso cups and saucers
  • 1 x 250g Pure African beans
  • 1 x bottle Grappa



Sprada_gift_box_2Gift Box 2 - R310

  • 4 x cappuccino cups and saucers
  • 1 x 250g ground filter coffee
  • 1 x box chocolate coated coffee beans



Sprada_gift_box_3Gift Box 3 - R295

  • 4 x latte glasses
  • 1 x 250g Pure African beans
  • 1 x box biscotti
  • 1 x box chocolate coated coffee beans

Usually coffee is enjoyed as a beverage only, but it can also be used as a cooking ingredient with great effect.

In this series we asked local food personality Carolie de Koster to share some of her favourite coffee recipes with us.

Muskadel-Espresso Chicken Breasts with Fresh Plums

Muskadel-Espresso_chicken_breastsWhat you will need:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (± 600g – 750g), salt and freshly ground black pepper, 20 ml olive or sunflower oil, 20 ml butter, 1 large red onion, sliced, 125 ml Muskadel wine, 125 ml Espresso coffee, 30 ml brown balsamic vinegar, 5ml chicken stock powder, 15 ml corn flour, 30 ml water, 2 firm, ripe, dark red plums, chives to garnish.

1. Trim and flatten the breasts neatly and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan and pour half into a second saucepan. Heat the non-stick pan and fry the breasts over moderate heat until cooked and browned on both sides, 4 – 5 minutes on a side.

3. Add the onions to the second saucepan and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the wine, coffee, vinegar and stock powder and bring to boil. Combine the water and corn flour and add it to the saucepan, stirring until smooth and thickened.

4. Cut the unpeeled plums into wedges, while on the stone. Remove from the stone and stir into the sauce. Add seasoning, pour over the cooked breasts, heat through and serve.  Garnish with chives and serve with basmati rice or cous cous.

Yields 6 servings


Coffee_tattoo_1We often talk about being "passionate about coffee", but getting a coffee tattoo is extreme. For some however it's just another way of expressing this passion.Tattoos are often a very personal thing, sometimes a symbol of important events or occurrences in our lives.

We found these images of coffee plant tattoos particularly interesting, one of them even has a 7 step guide which portrays the coffee making process!






Still_Coffee_logoStil Coffee recently moved into their new premises at Northlands Deco Park. This little roastery has a lot of character and the potent smell of coffee being roasted penetrates your nostrils before you've even parked your car outside.

Owner Erina Nigrini grew up on a coffee farm and some of her earliest childhood memories are about those care-free days back on her folk’s farm. “We love our new roastery, but there is still so much we would like to do with the place” Erina says over a cup of their "Vintage Black" blend. “We’re also busy fitting out our training room and can’t wait for our first group of baristas to make use of this facility”.

Stil Coffee roastery:

Unit 74, Design Boulevard, Northlands Decopark
C/o Witkoppen and Newmarket Rd

Motherland_Coffee_CompanyThe Joburg Coffee Club will be meeting at Motherland Coffee Company this Thursday evening (25 Nov). Situated at the "The Zone" in Rosebank, Motherland has truly become a favourite among coffee aficionados in Joburg.

Seb and the guys from Motherland will tell us a little bit more about Fairtrade coffee and we also get to taste some of their great blends.

Everybody is welcome and entrance is free.

Time:     18:00

Place:    Motherland Coffee Company, The Zone, 177 Oxford Road, Rosebank.