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Cafedirect - Founder Member

Cafedirect - Founder Member

Cafedirect logo

Cafédirect was born during a crisis, when in 1989 an international coffee agreement which had fixed global prices according to the cost of production, collapsed. Middlemen swooped in to buy up the coffee and the lives of millions of smallholder farmers around the world was in jeopardy as they were left with no choice, but to sell their harvests at rock bottom prices.

In response, three coffee growing communities – in Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico – each shipped a single container of coffee, loaned on trust, to the UK. The beans were roasted and sold through church halls, charity shops and at local events. Cafédirect was created.

A pioneering company, it was three years later that the Fairtrade Foundation mark was launched and we were the first coffee brand in the UK to carry the mark. Still today, we are innovating business by going beyond sustainability to prove that business can be a force for good and ensuring our actions have a positive impact for people and planet. Our range is available in major supermarkets, independent retailers, Oxfam shops, Traidcraft mail order and online via We are also available in thousands of out-of-home venues, such as independent cafés, universities, schools and hotels.

The Cafédirect network consists of 38 small-scale coffee, cocoa and tea producer organisations across Latin America, Africa and Asia, representing more than 280,000 smallholder farmers.

At Cafédirect we do things differently. For over 20 years we’ve built real relationships with smallholder growers, because the big thing smallholders have is pride and passion – and that’s what makes our award-winning range taste so good. Big Difference... In return, we pay growers what they deserve, instead of paying middle men. And by working together in true partnership we do more, to date investing over 50% of our profits in growers to create a more sustainable future. Cafédirect, Made the Small Way.

We offer training support, a comprehensive brand package and can help source coffee equipment, as well as offer advice with menus and seasonal drinks.

• We are the UK’s largest 100% Fairtrade hot drinks company - 100% of our products are 100% Fairtrade (none of these half measures for us!)

• In addition, Cafédirect buys directly from growers, cutting out the middlemen and reinvest our profits to give growers a greater share of the benefits. We have reinvested over 50% of our profits to date.

• Growers play a key role in every aspect of Cafédirect, from governance to product design. They have shares in our company and sit on our Board of Directors

• We work with 38 producer organisations from 13 countries and positively impact the lives of more than 1.8 million people.

• We don’t compromise on taste – we’ve won 22 Great Taste Awards over the last 4 years to prove it! 


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