Fair Trade Tea, Coffee, and Wine

October 14, 2013

People can be picky when it comes to tea, coffee, or wine. Some of us won’t have a sip of wine until the tannin levels are revealed while others purchase only80023028_9202c3d6cf_m designer water. It is amazing how many things we concentrate on when it comes to quenching our thirst. While there are several things to consider when you’re guzzling a beverage, an important thing to pay attention to is whether or not you are drinking fair trade.

Here are three fair trade companies that will delight both your mind and palate:

Rishi Tea:
Rishi Tea began in 1997 when founder John Kaiser became impassioned with a desire to share handcrafted teas with the world after his travels through Asia. Rishi sells loose tea imported from organic Asian tea gardens and is made according to ancient artisanal methods.

The company has a strong commitment to sustainability and fair trade. They provide workers with fair wages, fair prices, safe working conditions, education, and community development help. Rishi was also among the first to earn organic certification under the USDA’s Natural Organic Program of November 2002.

Rishi has won four First Place awards for Best Tea at the 2011 North American Teach Championship. Their tea network includes places such as: China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and India.

Dark Matter Coffee:
In 2007, founder Jesse Diaz opened a unique coffee shop in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. After deciding he only wanted to sell the coffee he and his team brewed, Mr. Diaz created Dark Matter Coffee in 2008. DMC quickly gained praise through their flagship blends and was soon being featured in restaurants, bars, and events throughout the Chicago area. The company’s distinctive method of making and serving their acclaimed ice-coffee has also earned them a reputation for innovation.

DMC is not only committed to serving a quality cup of joe, they are dedicated to sustainability and fair trade. Besides being aligned with the Fair Trade Alliance, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ, they have also formed direct partnerships with farmers in both El Salvador and Mexico.

Emiliana Organic Vineyards:
Warning: this Chilean Wine company could inspire a trip to South America!

In the late 90’s, Rafael and Jose Guilisasti upon noticing the change in consumer mentalities for more sustainable products, had the idea to turn a conventional winery into a 100% organic winery. Today, the company is decorated with dozens of international awards for their quality vinos.

Emiliana’s commitment to fantastic wine is completely aligned with its commitment to fair trade and sustainability. They believe that it is in fact their sustainable practices that make their grapes so valuable and in turn what creates their amazing wine. The amount of eco-friendly things that Emiliana puts into practice is amazing. They use solar panels to generate hot water, use biofuels in their tractors, convert no longer used wine barrels into containers for collecting recyclables, use corks with material from sustainably managed forests, and manage their wastewater in an environmentally friendly way. That is just to name a few!

If you are already tipsy off of their amazing eco-friendly efforts just wait to hear about their devotion to fair trade and social responsibility. They are IMO (Institute for Marketekology) Fair for Life certified-which means that human rights are respected and all working conditions are fair and safe. They are also FLO (Fair Trade Labeling Organizations) certified as well. Beyond that, they offer scholarship and training programs, housing programs, community development programs and intensive organic gardening- which means that their employees can grow their own food on Emiliana land making certain that a percentage of their family’s food supply is taken care of.

Check out their interactive vineyard here.

These companies are definitely worth a toast. Whether you are drinking tea, coffee, or wine…be sure you are drinking fair trade!

-Monica Bologna

Photo Credit: Flickr/jurvetson