Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing Practices

At Talitha Koum Coffee Roasters, we know that how we source our beans is just as important as where

Positive change starts when farmers are paid equitable prices for their beans, not a price driven by market data. 

The coffee industry boasts billions of dollars of revenue each year, yet as many as 80% of coffee farmers world-wide live under the poverty line. The industry has long been associated with colonialism and slavery and it continues to be filled with modern slavery in the form of forced labor and exploitation. 

Coffee workers are often enslaved through forced labor to repay debts. The cycle of low pay and no way to escape causes many families to be stuck in this cycle of modern slavery for generations.   

Child labor is pervasive in coffee producing areas. Wages are often so low that in order to survive, many families pull their children out of school to work on the coffee plantations. Without an education, the children have little hope to break out of generational poverty. 

We are committed to sourcing our beans using methods that empower farmers and the farmworkers. One method, VLI, or Verified Living Income, is a partnership between buyer and farmer that allows the farmer to have a say in what they need to live and run their farms. 

What is ‘Verified Living Income’?

Verified Living Income (VLI) is a new method that determines how much to pay for green coffee based on what the farmer needs to make a decent living. This methodology is context-specific and the price will be unique to each coffee-producing region.

How does it work?

This method begins by determining what a living income is at a point of origin. Next, that living income benchmark is measured against cost of production, land size, and productivity. Out of this, a price per pound is determined. This information assists buyers who are committed to ethical sourcing and it empowers farmers to set prices that will provide their families a better future.

What is a living income?

The income necessary to live well, not just survive. It takes into account culturally-appropriate, nutritious food, housing, healthcare, transportation, clothing, education, and the ability to save for unexpected costs or emergencies.