What's Fair?

By Tim Coonan, Founder of Big Shoulders Coffee

My mind has been dwelling alot on Fair Trade and Social Justice concerns how can coffee contribute and specifically how can Big Shoulders contribute?  We almost always forget about the work that went into the coffee before we get our hands on it, while we're focusing on what we do; customer service, thoughtful drinks, keeping the place clean, stocked and organized. Coffee, like all farming is labor intensive.  Almost all of this difficult work is by human hands. Some of these farm workers are most certainly vulnerable to poor work conditions, low wages, discrimination.  

Indeed, labor probably constitutes 60-70% of that cup of coffee you're enjoying...how do we make it more equitable while responding to quality expectations?  How do we do it without making people feel guilty, should we feel guilty?  

Organic or Fair Trade certifications are no guarantee of quality, labor abuses, or traceability, so what is the answer?   Likely I won't solve it this morning...