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Talking Race and Specialty Coffee

The uncomfortable truth behind the coffee trade origins, and what it means to be ethically sourced.

Educating customers on coffee, preparation, and coffee roasting is one of our key goal at Full Bloom, but with the shifting conversation we’re taking a deeper look at how race has shaped the industry we love today, to further educate ourselves and our customers, and to ensure we are taking every possible step to help create a world of equality.

It is impossible to discuss the history of coffee without recognising racism and the role of colonialism in its origins. Coffee is a native crop to tropical Africa, but today Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia are the worlds largest coffee producers, the success of the coffee industry was dependant on the slave trade. In the late 1700s when the value of coffee was discovered, both slaves and coffee plants were transported into the Caribbean, Asia and the Americas to supply western markets. It has been a long and ugly battle from then to now to revamp and change the industry.

Today organisations and standards have been put in place to ensure that farmers and labourers are treated with respect and paid fairly for their work. Fair trade, ethical sourcing and responsible farming are key factors that we look at to ensure that we are not supporting a broken system.

We acknowledge that in the scheme of this huge industry we may not yet be perfect but that we have a collective responsibility to open our eyes to structural racism and to acknowledge that oppression still exists in the supply chain, and to continuously shift our practices to end the injustice. It may be uncomfortable to address, but such honesty is important in opening up conversation about inequality in coffee production, as well as wider conversations about racism. As a company, we promise to practice the highest standards of ethics to ensure that we are not contributing to racial oppression.

Customers, - Pay attention to the information of your coffee! Make an effort to research how the roaster you choose works with producers. (A good indicator often comes in the form of the price.)

For information on our coffee, as well as where it comes from and which co-operatives we work with check out fullbloomcoffeett.com/learn-more