Why La Colombe Isn’t Just For Hipsters

My relationship with coffee is one that has taken many different forms throughout the years. In high school? Caramel iced coffee, light and sweet from Dunkin Donuts. Early college years? White chocolate mocha from Starbucks. Now that I am a mature, full fledged adult I only drink one thing- La Colombe coffee. And here is why you should too:


why La Colombe Rocks

La Colombe Coffee Roasters was founded in 1994 by Todd Carmichael and JP Iberti where they sell traditional European coffee. They are a part of the third wave of coffee movement, which simply means that they prioritize high quality products with complex flavors.

The company claims to be one of the pioneers of direct trade coffee sourcing, which means they have a direct relationship with their farmers and processors. This is actually considered BETTER than fair trade.

Why? What’s the difference?

Problems in the coffee industry

Odds are, if you’re reading this, you drink coffee. Many of us are busy people and lots of us actually depend on coffee to get through the day. I am definitely one of those people.

When you’re spending $2-$4 a day on coffee, you are really supporting whatever company you are buying from. That’s $730-$1460 a year on coffee. So, why put that money towards companies that don’t deserve it?

Without writing an entire essay, here are the issues prominent in the coffee industry that I want to focus on today:

  • Sustainability- Over all, many coffee companies are trying to become more sustainable. While many companies do this to match the growing demand for environmentally and socially conscious products, there is a big issue here!

    Companies will selfishly take on their own “sustainability initiatives” for marketing advantages and prioritize their own sustainability projects over collaboration.

    This turns into:

    • A lack of resources for smaller companies.

    • Misguided and misinformed decisions that can harm marginalized groups in coffee growing/trading.

    • Many corporate leaders and investors do not understand this model and may deny companies the funds to move towards sustainability.

  • Fair Trade- (Fair Trade USA) Is a non-profit organization that promotes practices that were intended to help fix the ethical issues in many industries that source from developing countries and promote sustainability. However, these practices have been argued as doing more harm than good.

    Larger coffee companies, like those mentioned in the sustainability section, use this label of fair trade to get the consumers on their side. However, it takes away from smaller companies and has been criticized for unfair distribution of profits, and harm to coffee farmers.

    Also, fair trade coffee is known not to have high quality standards, and you will often see a variety in quality ranging from great to poor.

You can read more about these issues from this source here.

Why La colombe matters

By being a company that uses direct trade, they are saving themselves a lot of the headaches in Fair Trade. It has been said to put more money in the pockets of the farmers and provide a better quality of life.

You can take my word for it, or here is a great graphic that breaks down why.

The only downside is that since direct trade is fairly new, there isn’t a whole lot of regulation or information on it. This means that the term “direct trade” can vary from roaster to roaster. Even La Colombe is very vague about what “direct trade” means, and where they actually source their beans. It’s one of the biggest criticisms of this type of trade, and I can’t disagree. This is the only info I could find on La Colombe’s sourcing…and it’s vague!

But anyway- La Colombe is ALSO delicious. I will end this review on a lighter note rather than fair trade talk and insert this beautiful slideshow of amazing food and bevs:

My Favorite things to get:

  • Chocolate chip scone: Moist, big, delicious.

  • Latte: You can really tell they care about their roasting process! When you get a La Colombe coffee from a reseller, it does not taste the same.

  • Mocha: They will always warn you, but I do have to give you a heads up that it IS bitter! I absolutely love that they aren’t afraid to embrace a more dark-chocolate flavor, but I know a lot of people don’t like that.

  • Cookies: They’re all good. Gluten-free or regular, you won’t be disappointed.

So there you go. Was I bit click baity to get you all here reading about fair trade? Yes, but coffee is such a huge part of where we put our money, why not make it count?

Fair, Direct, or both? Let me know. I’m not an expert!

kat brandelComment