A Conservative’s Guide To The Coffee Industry

As a conservative coffee roaster, it’s taken me a while to understand the coffee industry’s lingo.  Every industry has its own vocabulary. Know the vocabulary and you’ve got a pretty good handle on the industry. I’ll even go one step further. Learn the definition of the top 100 terms in any industry and you’ll be considered an expert.

Conservative Coffee RoasterThat being said, the coffee industry is no different, except with one twist.   Like the entertainment and news media industries; the coffee industry is primarily run by liberals, e.g.,“Starbucks”. Need I say more?   The problem isn’t that they’re liberals. The problem is that what you think they’re saying, they’re actually saying something entirely different.

Any good conservative coffee roaster would be pulling his hair out.  It comes down to definitions. Words are important. They mean things. But to liberals, the only thing that matters is how the words make you feel. Let me give you a good example.

Fair Trade Coffee

“Fair Trade”. That shouldn’t be too difficult to parse out, right?   According to Webster “Fair Trade” means “an honest exchange of money for equal value of product.” But that’s not what the coffee industry means by “fair trade”.

Conservative Coffee RoasterTo the coffee industry, fair trade means, “you should pay us more money for our coffee because we care more for the farmers than the other guys.” In reality, fair trade started out as a social movement to help poor farmers. This is where the law of entropy takes over, and this social movement de-evolved into a marketing gimmick, which actually cost the poor farmers thousands of dollars to become “fair trade” certified.

To prove my point. When you say “Fair Trade”, which fair trade standards are you talking about? Are you talking about Fairtrade International’s standard. Are you talking about Fair Trade USA’s standard? Are you talking about the Fair Trade Organization’s standard? Or are you talking about any one of several other “Fair Trade” groups. Hell, the industry can’t even agree how to spell fair trade. Google it and you’ll find it two words, hyphenated, or one word.

So, it’s gotten to the point that “Fair Trade” doesn’t mean squat. It’s 100% marketing hype.

Organic Coffee

Let’s take another coffee industry word “Organic”. What exactly does “Organic” mean? By who’s standard do you certify a coffee bean as “organic”?   Did you know that each bag of “organic” coffee comes with its own organic certification. Well that’s nice, but these “certifications” come in a dozen different formats, some are certified by the grower; some certified by the buyer; some certified by the growing country; some certified by an international organization; and some are even certified by U.S. government contractors.   So, which organic is the “Real McCoy”? It seems like you can call just about anything “organic”.

lewiston coffee roasterWhich leaves us with dozens of confusing coffee industry words. It’s interesting that if you cross reference any liberal play book with any coffee industry dictionary, you come up with a pretty close match. Like:

  • Sustainability
  • Tractability
  • Inclusive
  • Female Empowerment
  • Multi-Culturalism
  • Diversity
  • Opportunity
  • Etc.

Conservative Coffee Roaster

Are you totally confused? Even as an experienced conservative coffee roaster, it can be confusing.  Here’s my advice. Don’t get hung up on all these terms. Drink what you like and buy it fresh.




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