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SUSTAINABLE COFFEE PRACTICES

On average, third world coffee farmers receive a paltry 10 per cent of the eventual retail price. As competition among growers - 70 per cent of whom are smallholders - has stiffened; a combination of price reductions and undercutting has left them exposed to the fluctuations of the volatile coffee market. Along with the negative effect this has had on living conditions, the drive for increased output has had a knock-on effect on the environment as well, with monocropping and sun grown coffee now the norm. And given that most coffee growing regions are also home to some of the most delicate eco-systems on earth; the potential for serious damage is strong. (Source: George Blacksell for The Guardian, How Green is your Coffee)

So where does your local roaster come in? Along with greater coffee consumption has come greater awareness of the problems both from coffee industry people and the consumer. La Casa has always had a strong commitment to sustainable, fair-traded, FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance and other ethically traded products. It's really a no brainer for us to give back to the industry that we are in, to protect workers’ rights and welfare, including the women and children, to protect the environment for us all, and of course to pay a fair price for a higher welfare green bean. We show a great support for the PNG coffees being one of our closest neighbours and we are keeping the food miles down and supporting a developing nation in our region.

We roast certified Fairtrade coffee with the Fairtrade seal and advertise for Fairtrade Australia on our label and pay our dues to them – we also use this coffee under our Seasonal Organics label – as our limited edition Honduran because it’s a great coffee – we still buy the Fairtrade green bean we just don’t put the seal on that label.

We do a 100% Rainforest Certified – our Finca Kassandra – from a family owned farm Rainforest Alliance farm in Mexico. Then we discovered a Sumatran bean – it’s delicious, but it’s not Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance – it supports the tiger conservation projects in Sumatra.

Then there’s my favourite blend Tropicana and that’s the one everyone loves - it's a mix of RFA Brazilian, RFA Mexican and a PNG A grade - all coffees that are traded well in excess of the fair-trade price base.

Our other blends are all fair-traded beans (note not the trademark- Fairtrade) and we try and support developing and emerging coffee markets across the world with our Seasonal Organic label.

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