Eight of the best fairtrade coffees to try

Roz Crowley tests eight coffees ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight

Eight of the best fairtrade coffees to try

Roz Crowley tests eight coffees ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight

FAIRTRADE fortnight begins on Monday, and since 1992 the organisation has been prompting us to be aware of how purchasing decisions affect producers.

Fairtrade was the first organisation to come to the fore to show what a difference it can make to producers to be given at least a decent minimum price.

Today it brings together more than 1.7m million farmers and workers in 75 countries and territories., many producing food we consume every day — tea, coffee, and sugar.

Large commodity products are easy prey with dominant buyers and cartels setting prices at unsustainable levels, so much so that many farmers are getting out of coffee.

Ireland’s excellent, smallest coffee roasters don’t have the Fairtrade mark as they deal directly with small growers and make ideal partners as they pay more than the base price for top quality. Many multinational brands are not Fairtrade, especially for instant coffee.

Buying from small Irish roasters (see our Top 8 Coffee bean survey online) is an ethical option, but for big brands, check out our Top 8 Fairtraders which produce whole beans too. We can make a difference.

The Wilfa Svart Aroma CGWS-130B Coffee Grinder is easy to use and well worth its €119 from 3fe.com to make the best of your coffee experience.

Bewley’s Java Coastal Plain 227g - €4.99

Tasters were impressed with the fullness of flavour here. With a light kick at the end, it was well rounded. The no 5 strength Indonesian beans are not too harsh, either black or with milk. A good buy from a company with 100% Fairtrade coffee.

Score: 8.25

Marks & Spencer Classic Ground coffee 227g - €4.10

It was a toss-up between this no 3 medium roast mild coffee and the Peruvian no 5 strength beans which is much richer with a fuller of flavour (€5.20). Flavours are always better with freshly ground beans. One of the best of Fairtrade brands.

Score: 8

SuperValu Signature taste Costa Rican 227g - €3.29

Single-origin arabica beans of strength 3, this has a dull, bitter edge for black coffee, though one taster liked the kick. Much better in a cappuccino.

Score: 6

Clipper Italian style roast 227g - €4.95

Soil association approved organic beans from South America, Africa and Papua New Guinea.

One dimensional with an edge typical of Italian style roasts, slightly nutty, it was much better in cappuccino. Packed in Germany.

Score: 6

True Italian Roast 227g - €6.30

Soil Association approved organic, and labelled no 5 strength, it delivered a lot of acidity and good length, but lacking in depth of interesting flavour, except for a hint of toasted peanuts as suggested on the pack. Cappuccino tasters liked it more, the milk absorbing the acids well. Packed in West Cork.

Score: 6.25

Tesco Finest Colombian Supremo 227g - €2.79

In strength no 3, a rich aroma disappoints in the mouth with quite a lot of acidity and not so much depth of flavour. One taster liked the sharp edge.

Score: 6

Lidl Deluxe Colombian Supremo 227g - €2.59

Well-rounded flavours in this mild coffee strength no 3, and it has some nuttiness and depth. A pleasant drink with and without milk.

Score: 7

Ekoplaza dark roast 250g - € 3.65

With no translation from Dutch blenders on the pack, Arabica and Robusta beans are listed as strength 8. The result, however, was a milder coffee than expected. Certified organic, there is a freshness of flavour, slightly fruity with a kick at the end. We bought in Quay Co-Op, Cork, where there are other ethical brands. Available mainly in health and wholefood shops.

Score: 6.75

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