Karamu Coffee | Ethical coffee
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At Karamu, we value the environment and the people in it. We believe people should be fairly rewarded – whether they live here in Aotearoa, or far away.

Coffee – the power to make a difference

Most of the world’s coffee comes from developing countries, where it can make up to 80% of Gross National Product (GNP).

Children in a classroom in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.

Classroom built with earnings from the Fair Trade coffee premium through the Negele Gorbitu coffee cooperative – now local kids don’t have to walk 10km and ford a river to get to school. Photo credit: Trade Aid.

These countries often lack things we Kiwis take for granted, like a minimum wage or universal schooling. The income farming families get for their coffee can make the difference between a hard but decent life, or grinding poverty.

But the price that coffee farmers get is controlled by the international open market, and is extremely changeable. Unscrupulous middlemen often take advantage of vulnerable farmers, further eroding the farmers’ profits.

At Karamu we don’t want to put our money into an economy that takes advantage of the most vulnerable. That’s why we’re supporting the ethical trade movement and sourcing all our coffee from Fairtrade sources.

Why Fairtrade?

Ayantu and Oromia Ibrahim, two sisters who now go to school.

Ayantu and Oromia Ibrahim, two of four sisters who now go to school after their community built one with their coffee cooperative’s Fair Trade premium earnings. Photo: Trade Aid.

Fairtrade is the only international standard that gives coffee farmers a price that covers the average cost of sustainable production. It’s a safety net against the worst peaks and troughs of international commodity prices.

This security allows Fairtrade certified coffee farmers to plan ahead, invest in better production methods, and even start sending their kids to school.

Fairtrade coffee producers are small family farms, organised in cooperatives or associations which the farmers own and run democratically – meaning fewer middlemen and rip-off merchants.

Where our coffee comes from

Mexican Chiapas – from Chiapas state in Mexico
Mexican coffee farmers near Pablo Galeano.

Members of the ISMAM coffee co-operative near Pablo Galeano, in the Siltepec region of Chiapas, Mexico – a fair trade coffee cooperative. Photo: Trade Aid.

Chiapas state is one of Mexico’s poorest states. It boasts Aztec ruins and beautiful rainforests – but has few schools and little infrastructure.

People struggle to earn enough from farming to meet their families’ basic needs, so Fairtrade standards make a big difference.

Nicaraguan Segovia – from Nueva Segovia
Woman carrying a basket of coffee berries.

A coffee farmer who’s part of the PRODECOOP collection of fair trade coffee cooperatives. Photo: PRODECOOP & Trade Aid.

Nueva Segovia is a lush, high-altitude rainforest region in the north of Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s countryside is spectacular and its history fascinating.

These days, much of the country scrapes by on intermittent farming work – producing cotton, coffee, and other commodities. Wages in Nicaragua are the lowest in the Americas, and it’s a tough place to live. Coffee farmers in Fairtrade cooperatives like PRODECOOP have much better opportunities than most.

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Guji – from Sidamo region
Man carrying a large basket of coffee berries.

Mokona Hirbayee, a Yirgacheffe coffee farmer with the Fair Trade certified Negele Gorbitu cooperative. Photo credit: Trade Aid.

Ethiopia is the ancestral home of coffee. Highland Ethiopians have been growing, roasting, brewing and enjoying coffee for thousands of years. It’s drunk with elaborate ceremony, expert pouring, and lots of socialising.

Fairtrade standards help Ethiopia’s coffee farmers bargain collectively, through local cooperatives, and also earn the price premium.

Karamu roasts both Yirgacheffe and Guji coffees, two of Ethiopia’s wet-processed coffees.

Guatemala – from the Cafe con Manos de Mujer women’s cooperative
Sebastiana Martinez Gomez with her two small boys.

Sebastiana Martinez Gomez, one of the leading women in the women’s coffee cooperative (and successful coffee farmer and a widowed single mum). Photo: Trade Aid.

Guatemala is a beautiful and impoverished country with a long history, including decades of civil war. Like many coffee-producing countries, most of its people struggle to get by – and Guatemala’s particular circumstances mean women and children are especially vulnerable.

The ASOBAGRI cooperative was established to support, empower and bargain for small-scale farmers and their communities. Its Cafe con Manos de Mujer group provides training, small loans and other support for women who’re single, widowed or whose partners have left for the USA. At Karamu we think this is brilliant, and are excited to support Cafe con Manos de Mujer.

Karamu charity support

We’re proud to support these great Kiwi charities.
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Taking care of our environment

Compostable takeaway cups and lids

Karamu insists on using only Ecoware’s genuinely compostable takeaway cups and lids at our home cafe.

Composting and recycling

It’s second nature to us to keep environment clean – we all have to live in it.

Our main home café Green Land has been minimising waste to landfil for ages, through recycling, and composting organic waste.

We use our relationships to help our customers become more waste-savvy.

Diedrich coffee roasting machine

Diedrich coffee roasterSetting us apart from most other coffee producers is our Diedrich hot-air roaster.

Traditional roasting machines roast coffee in hot exhaust gases – including the pollutant NOx gasses. Our Diedrich hot air roaster heats clean air to roast our beans, creating 90% fewer NOx emissions.

Karamu’s beans come with a rich, fresh aromatic flavour free from burning, tainting or smoky residue – and they’re great for the environment too.

Conscious Consumers

We believe that if coffee drinkers know how good a café is for the world, they can choose to use their purchasing power for good.

Conscious Consumers makes it easy for coffee drinkers to see if a café is doing the right thing. If you spot a Conscious Consumer badge in the window of a cafe, you know they have watertight credentials in that area.

Our home cafés Punch and Green Land are proud owners of several Conscious Consumers badges, and we encourage our other wholesale customers to get involved.