With figures released by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand showing the annual growth of ethically certified products has increased by 50 per cent over the past five years, it’s apparent Australian consumers are placing increased emphasis on understanding where their food comes from.
Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival Director Julie Shelton said she was not surprised to hear coffee lovers were highlighted in the research as some the most inquisitive and ethically-conscious consumers.
“In 2012 alone, a total of $191 million was spent on fairtrade certified products in Australia, with coffee products accounting for 31 per cent of the sales,” Ms Shelton said.
“It’s clear a significant portion of coffee consumers are making an effort to become more informed about their purchase decisions, which has some really positive social and economic effects for farmers in particular.”
Owner of Tim Adams Specialty Coffee and nationally-acclaimed barista Tim Adams said the findings definitely rang true on the Sunshine Coast, with many of the patrons visiting his espresso bar taking an interest in the origin of their daily brew.
“A lot of customers come in to Lamkin Lane and are keen to find out where our beans have been sourced from and what process they’ve been through to make it onto the shelves,” Mr Adams said.
“They like to hear they’re purchasing a quality product and that the farmers who supply the crop are getting a decent price for their coffee beans.”
Mr Adams said with so much emphasis now being placed on food sustainability and quality, his stringent guidelines for selecting only first-rate, ethically-purchased coffee beans was getting the nod of approval from customers.
“All of the bean crops we consider have to score a minimum of 80 out of 100 on the Specialty Coffee Association of America score sheet to be included in our seasonal blends,” Mr Adams said.
“It’s not good enough to source coffee beans from just any coffee farmer; there needs to be an assurance of quality and traceability for many modern-day consumers to embrace the blend.”
Mr Adams said rather than having his products fairtrade certified, he went one step further and participated in direct trade with coffee farmers.
“This not only enables us to thoroughly inspect the crops and ensure they’re high-grade specialty coffee, but also allows us to trade directly with individual farms, which ordinarily aren’t able to be fairtrade certified unless they are part of a larger cooperative.”
“It’s nice to give something back to the smaller players that deserve a fair price for the quality crops they’re producing.”
Mr Adams said he was looking forward to engaging with many of the Sunshine Coast’s quality-conscious consumers at the upcoming Real Food Festival at Maleny, to be held on 7 and 8 September.
“If our experience at last year’s festival is anything to go by, it’s going to be a great event,” Mr Adams said.
“It’s really nice to see locals embracing the beautiful food we have access to on the Sunshine Coast.”
The festival will feature more than 110 stalls showcasing foods from local businesses and suppliers, with demonstrations, discussions and hands-on activities also taking place throughout the two-day event.
Mr Adams will be running a demonstration at 10.30am on day one of the festival, focusing on tips for making a great coffee at home. His latest seasonal blend will also be on show, incorporating first-rate beans from Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
For more information regarding Tim Adams Specialty Coffee or Lamkin Lane Espresso Bar, visit www.facebook.com/lamkinlane.