USDA Organic: Trans-Fair Trade

An organic designation on coffee signifies that it has been produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides. This designation benefits both the consumer and the producers. The definition, according to the USDA can also include regulations on soil quality, composting, handling of coffee once it reaches our roaster and recycling.

La Prima is a certified organic roaster by Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) which is the state-governing body accredited by the USDA, thus making us the only certified organic coffee roaster in Pittsburgh and one of only six in Pennsylvania.

The “fair-trade” distinction on any product signifies that the line of sale goes directly from grower/producer to the supplier thus bypassing any intermediate traders who usually take a share of the profits. Fair-trade does not necessarily mean that the money saved from bypassing the intermediate traders is automatically passed on to the growers or producers. TransFair USA is an independent 3rd party certification body which oversees and ensures the following, with regards to the coffee trade industry:

  • Coffee importers agree to purchase from the small farmers included in the International Fair Trade Coffee Register.
  • Farmers are guaranteed a minimum fair trade price of $1.26/pound FOB for their coffee. If world price rises above this floor price, farmers will be paid a small ($0.05/pound) premium above market price.
  • Coffee importers provide a certain amount of credit to farmers against future sales, helping farmers stay out of debt to local coffee “coyotes” or middlemen.
  • Importers and roasters agree to develop direct, long-term trade relationships with producer groups, thereby cutting out intermediate traders and bringing greater commercial stability to an extremely unstable market.

La Prima has also recently become a fair-trade certified distributor by TransFair USA and we already sell a number of fair-trade coffees both from our roastery and through our committed relationships.