Thr!ve Farmers International is a completely unique way of commercializing coffee, where the growers actually retain ownership of the coffee until the final sale of roasted coffee to consumers and cafes. (Or green coffee to micro roasters). The philosophy of the company is “Know Who Grows” and their lovely new site design says it all: “A Story in Every Cup.” Read the NY Times’ take here.
Cooperative Coffees is perhaps the US’s most responsible green coffee importer, founded in part by Dean Cyon. They are a collective of roasters from the US and Canada who want to do the right thing and who want an alternative to buying coffee. Most importers are massive and serve giant transnational roasters; smaller importers are often just concerned with quality and put farmer quality of life second to securing prime beans. But Coop sources good coffee the right way. All their coffees are Fair Trade certified and many are also organic, but Coop goes beyond the stipulations of either certification with their Fair Trade Proof traceability. They are the only importer or roaster I know of anywhere who uploads scans of Bills of Lading and final contracts to demonstrate where their coffee comes from and the sobreprecio (premium on market price) they pay for it.
Dean’s Beans Dean Cyon is not only one of the founders of Cooperative Coffees and the owner of Dean’s Beans, he is the author the the book Javatrekker and has long understood that coffee is about people more than it is about pricing or agronomy. He travels to origin and loves to do things that no one else is doing, like being the first to form relationships in remote regions and actually engage in communities by building business and trade models that are self sustaining and the antithesis to charity.
Sweet Maria’s is the go-to place to buy green, unroasted coffee for America’s last cowboys: the home roasters. Most green coffee is sold to commercial roasters by the 60kg sack; Sweet Maria’s sells it by the pound. You can order coffees from all over the world, try out new ones every week, and participate in forums of other home roasting cowboys, swapping tips on how to roast great coffee without burning down your house or smoking out your neighbors.
Ground to Grounds Online Store If you’re looking for a coffee selection curated by left coasters who know their roasting and their trend, then this is the go-to for you.