Fair Trade certified coffee is a great system for ensuring that exploited coffee farmers get more of the due for their labor. Even better is Community Agroecology, a system by which Costa Rican farmers send coffee directly to your house, bypassing all middlemen and ensuring that the farmers really get their fair share.
All funds from the coffee sales are returned to the Cooperative. This returns to farmers over five times more than those who sell their coffee in the conventional system and three times more than certified Fair Trade standards.
Ex-UCB student Joshua Deutsch, via email from Costa Rica, where he’s on currently working with coffee farmers and observing how commerce with America affects local economies: “This organization uses the term “fair trade direct” and aims to create a global network of direct purchasing between producers and consumers. The organization also guarantees that the coffee is grown in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Amy and I are giving it a shot (no pun intended).
Update: Looks like it’s also possible to order coffee directly from Zapatistas.