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Ethical coffee sourcing

Making coffee better for growers

Making coffee better is at the heart of everything we do at Extract Coffee Roasters, and that means making coffee better for the farmers that produce it.

We believe that ethical coffee means supporting coffee farmers by buying coffee from the same farmer year after year so that they can forward-plan for next year’s crop. Here you’ll find some of our longest-standing relationships with (who we think are!) some of the best coffee farmers in the world.

La Marianela

Meet Pablo & Hernan


Meet Delmy

Gustav from El Ingenio Coffee Farm giving a talk at Extract Coffee Roasters

Monte Rosa

Discover Monte Rosa

David Extract Coffee Roasters Walking past Coffee Drying in the sun in Peru

Cauvery Peak

Meet Ramraj

Veracruz Coffee Far Extract Coffee Roasters Colombia
Wahana Coffee Estate Indonesia
Extract Coffee Roasters - Women in Coffee - Coopade Coffee Democratic Republic of Congo - Ethical Coffee Sourcing


You might have heard of the two most common types of coffee. Robusta and Arabica. All of the coffee we buy is Arabica coffee. It has a slightly lower caffeine content than Robusta and is therefore known for a lighter, smoother flavour with less bitterness.

Arabica coffee is grown in the coffee belt, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Most of the coffee we buy is from South and Central America, East Africa and Asia.

Caffeine is a natural pesticide in the coffee plant. Arabica grows best in high altitudes where there are fewer pests (this is why it has less caffeine than Robusta). Many of the farms we work with are in remote, hard-to-reach places high in the mountains or volcanoes.

Some of the coffees we buy are grown by smallholders working in a cooperative. Others are from larger farms which support entire communities. Often, the premiums we pay for higher-quality coffee far exceed the premiums farmers would earn for Fairtrade or Organic certification, so even the best farms aren't necessarily certified. 

Extract Coffee Roasters - Coffee Sourcing Supply Chain

Our entire coffee supply chain on a recent trip to Honduras.

Extract Coffee Roasters - Ethical Coffee Sourcing - Coffee Farm Honduras - Harrison & Finca Valentina


The coffee supply chain is complex with lots of different parts.

  • Growers - grow and pick the coffee.
  • Cooperatives - a collection of small growers. (May also own processing and export facilities.)
  • Washing Stations - where coffee is washed, graded and dried.
  • Dry Mill - where the parchment and husks are removed and the coffee is sorted and graded.
  • Exporter - prepares the coffee for export and markets the coffee to prospective buyers.
  • Shipping - transporting the coffee from the country of origin, to the consuming country.
  • Importer - handles the process of importing the coffee into the country of consumption and selling this to the roaster.
  • Roaster - buy green coffee beans from the importer and roasts these to sell to cafes, restaurants and consumers at home.

The best quality coffee is grown in places where living and working conditions can be hard. Growers are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, extreme weather events and political instability.

So, taking a responsible and respectful approach to coffee sourcing is important. We choose the growers and importers we work with carefully.

Our partners are selected for the quality of the coffee they produce, for their dedication to environmental conservation, and for how they look after farm workers. 

Many of the farms we work with choose to dedicate part of their land to preserving natural forest. Others, have initiatives in place providing education, healthcare and infrastructure to local communities. 

Questions about Ethical Coffee Sourcing


'Organic' is a big topic in the world of speciality coffee. What makes it complicated is that lots of coffee is farmed organically and upholds the very highest ecological standards, but it is not automatically certified as organic.

In order to claim coffee is organic and to use an organic accreditation, such as The Soil Association, farms need to go through a process of organic certification to show they meet organic criteria and standards. Organic is synonymous with better quality produce. However, in the coffee industry, this doesn't really show the whole picture.

Farmers cannot produce coffee of this quality without the utmost respect for the environment. Coffee plants thrive in shade, so farmers protect natural forests and bio-diversity to provide shade for their coffee plants.

At Extract, we have one proudly certified coffee, Organic Espresso. However, our speciality coffee is bought on a quality-based premium, Extract pays a higher rate for exceptionally high-quality coffee.


The Fairtrade model exists to ensure a minimum price guarantee to producers for their coffee. When it was first introduced the model pulled a lot of farmers out of poverty.

However, for coffee growers producing coffee of exceptional quality, it is possible to make much better returns for their product than selling through Fairtrade channels.

We pay quality-based premiums for speciality coffee which is of the highest quality. This is much higher than the fairtrade baseline. We look to showcase the provenance of each farm we buy from, which is why so many of our coffees are Single Origins, which means they come from a single coffee farm.


Single Origin coffee is not necessarily more sustainable.

The benefit of a single origin coffee is traceability to farm and lot. It also gives coffee roasteries the chance to showcase the flavours of a specific coffee.

Mega-blends with poor traceability do exist in the coffee industry and these are often not a good example of fully traceable and ethically sourced coffee. But this isn't the case for all blends.

Some of our most-loved house coffees are blends with full traceability back to the farm for each aspect of the blend. Blending these coffees means we can create consistent house coffees. It also means we can give our farmers a long-term commitment, allowing them to make longer-term business decisions around business, social and environmental investments.

How does Extract support female coffee growers?

Women in the coffee supply chain are disproportionately impacted by gender inequity. They have fewer rights, less financial autonomy and face greater risks to their safety than women in Western European.

We work with female growers year-round. Buying their coffees to use in our heros, single origins and limited editions. We also choose importers who are funding grass roots female empowerment programmes in coffee producing countries.

Find out more about gender equality in coffee.
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