Back in 1989 there was an international coffee crisis. Prices were plummeting, and the livelihoods of smallholder growers and their communities were at risk.
In 1991 Cafédirect came about as the innovative result of four pioneering organisations (including Oxfam) and three entrepreneurial grower cooperatives, all with a desire to bypass the conventional coffee market and find a better, more personal, direct way to trade.
With little to lose, the cooperatives (from Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico) each sent a container of coffee on trust over to the UK, where it was sold through community groups and churches. The profits and the empty containers were then sent back to the growers.
Having started its business through trust and respect for its farmers, Cafédirect enjoys strong, long-term relationships with the co-operatives it buys from. Cafédirect works directly with 40 producer organisations in 14 countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa.