Beyond relationship coffee
A recent term in the coffee industry is 'relationship coffee', where a roaster or wholesales has a direct relationship with the grower in the country of origin. This has arisen out of the increasing awareness about where your coffee is coming from, the productions system and who is producing growing and picking your beans.
This is a great development as this closer relationship between producer and consumer has numerous benefits. Quality is often improves as roasters can work with growers develop processing techniques to better match the tastes for the consumer. This system also offers a clear avenue from payments to reach the growers to reward better management practices such as conservations of biodiversity. This system also can deliver a higher price directly to the grower.
With all the benefits of 'relationship coffee' there is one major draw back. It is limited in the scale that this system can be implemented. It is great from those producers that have a buyer paying them a premium but their neighbour may be using much the same growing practices but without the relationship, they could be forced to sell into the commodity market.
Intersection traders is using a unique coffee quality assessment tool in conjunction with public workshops in growing regions to offer a limitlessly scaleable system open to any grower that meets the quality criteria.