Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Keith Bosak

Commitee Members

Josh Slotnick, Steve Siebert


Coffee, Direct Trade, El Salvador, Fair Trade, Farmers, Mutual and Equal Benefits for stakeholders


University of Montana


Coffee is in demand across the globe and remains the second most valuable exported legal commodity on earth, only second to oil. The majority of North Americans have a type of ritual with their morning cup of coffee. However only an extremely modest percentage of those people are cognizant of where their coffee comes from or the processes undergone for it to reach their kitchen counters. This paper examines the role that direct trade coffee programs may play in helping to create long lasting, sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships between producers and roasters. The project accompanying the paper is the development of a direct trade coffee relationship between Black Coffee Roasting Company of Missoula, Montana and Finca Buena Vista of El Salvador. Providing examples from previous case studies, as well as an extensive literature review, I will demonstrate the harsh realities facing producer countries and the very distinct relationship between poverty and coffee growing communities. In order to bring this project to fruition and to ensure its success, I examine many characteristics of coffee as a commodity, not just those directly related to trade. I begin with the history of coffee and examine the many certification schemes currently available. I also explain the methods, procedures and activities undertaken to create the relationship between Black Coffee Roasting Company, myself, and Finca Buena Vista. I reflect upon challenges faced, as well as anticipated successes, during the planning, research, and execution stages of this project. I discuss opportunities for expansion of this trade as well as potential future outcomes for this project. Finally, I conclude by reviewing the key issues and suggest how this project can be used as a model for similar trading practices based on building long-lasting relationships with maximum stakeholder benefits. This paper shows that the sustainable development of coffee must acknowledge the economic, social, political and ecological dimensions of development are interconnected and must be understood and addressed collectively (Bacon et al., 2008). By eliminating those people who do not have a legitimate function to play in bringing coffee to the market, it is possible to create a more sustainable coffee trade.



© Copyright 2011 Dana Lynn Foster