Leticia Diaz inspects coffee plants in Lagunas Community, Honduras.
Chances are good that an uncomfortable truth is lurking in your cup of coffee. Regardless of how much you paid for it, very little of that money is making it back to the farmers who grew it. And they're living in poverty as a result. The first step to changing an exploitative system is understanding, so we made this quick guide to help us all understand what's happening and how we can start to do right by our coffee farmers.
50+% of U.S. adults drink coffee every day
3 cups: amount the average coffee drinker consumes daily
26 pounds: amount of coffee the average Finnish person consumes per year
From Bean to Cup
Farmers harvest raw, unroasted beans called cherries.
Middlemen or cooperatives buy the cherries and sell them to processors.
The beans are dried in the sun or fermented, then milled and sorted.
Traders buy the beans and sell them to importers in other countries, who then sell them to roasters.
Roasters turn green coffee into the familiar brown beans.
Roasted coffee is packaged and labeled.
Coffee shops, if they don't roast themselves, buy the roasted coffee and sell it to you.
Coffee Farmers Pay the Price
Small-scale coffee farmers operate at an average of 46–59% loss
Farmers earn less than 1% of the sale of a cup of coffee at a coffee shop
Coffee prices have fallen by 2/3 since the 1980s
Since late 2018, the average commodity price for coffee is less than $1.00 per pound
Roasters and coffeeshops should pay at least $3.00 per pound for their coffee to ensure farmers maintain a decent standard of living.*
What You Can Do
Ask your barista or contact your favorite company to find out how much the people who grow their coffee beans get paid.