Direct Trade vs. Fair Trade

When it comes to DIRECT TRADE and FAIR TRADE, the main difference between the two is that they both have a different end game. Modern Recreation gives you the Coles notes of each, so you can be more consumer aware, and confident in your buying decisions.

Direct Trade                                                Fair Trade

Focus on quality of coffee farmers produce | Focus on life improvement of farmers


  • Method in which roasters buy directly from the farmers
  • Direct buying encourages deep rooted relationships between the roaster and the farmer
  • These relationships create an amazing environment for synergy, education and creative innovation
  • Roasters spend a lot more time in single origin countries and are more connected to coffee growing procedures
  • Roasters tend to pay higher than other importing companies and ensure the farmers get 100% of the sale
  • Roasters positively influence the quality of a coffee crop and the prices farmers receive
  • The entire transaction promotes sustainability in both growing & purchasing


  • The goal is to alleviate disparities between industrialized countries and small farmers in developing countries
  • Focus is on assisting struggling farmers and bring them to a place of sustainability
  • Fair Trade regulates coffee that is ethically sourced, prohibiting child & forced labour
  • Fair Trade importers must pay a fee and register with Fair Trade International
  • These importers are also responsible to pay a fee to exporting companies (exporting companies tend to incur profit loss when dealing with certified Fair-Trade coffee)
  • Fair Trade is a large organization and transparency is often a topic of great concern
  • Fair Trade presents coffee as a commodity and not an artisanal craft which has been known to compromise the quality of coffee


Whether you're for Direct Trade or Fair Trade, either way, whatever coffee you drink, it is important that you know what you’re drinking. In the 21st century, it’s irresponsible to drink blindly. There are still many organizations out there importing and exporting coffee that continue to practice forced labour, child labour and paying farmers as little as possible.

As for us, we like to support as many roasters who choose direct trade as much as possible.