Canadian Coffee Farmers. Do they exist?

Canadian Coffee Farmers. Do they exist?

March 23, 2021

The Importance of Smallholder Coffee Farmers


You know how there could be bright, blue skies in our coastal provinces, while some other provinces in between are getting pounded with snow and Arctic temperatures?

Pretty crazy how different the weather can be in different areas of Canada at once, right?


Snow Covered Fields

Don’t get me wrong, we love our beautiful Canadian landscapes and everything it has to offer, and wouldn’t change it for the world. 

However, due to the nature of Canadian climates, we are unable to grow coffee trees within our beautiful country. Coffee requires consistent heat to grow successfully, a bit of a contrast to what many have been experiencing lately.


Significance of Coffee Farmers

Canada farmers, coffee farmers wheat

Now what does this have to do with you exactly?

Essentially, the coffee farmers that we source from around the world are OUR farmers as Canadians! 

As Canadians, we know that our farming industry is incredibly important to all aspects of our daily lives. 



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Specific Conditions

Throughout the entire North American continent, there are only two places within the United States that are capable of having a sustainable coffee farming industry: Hawaii and California. As much as we all would like, we unfortunately do not live in climates like some of the favourite USA travel destinations! 

Growing the perfect coffee cherry takes consistent heat and lots of rain to ripen the berries. Without these two conditions, caffeine content will be drastically reduced with depleted antioxidants. Pretty much everything that we love about coffee would be gone!


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Hand Picked, High Quality

Handpicking coffee actually reduces the amount of wastage that results from harvesting compared to using 66% wastage of machines during harvest.

Coffee grown in mountainous regions can only be hand-picked by humans, as the picking machines can’t survive the terrain.

Arabica and Robusta plants are the most common sources of coffee worldwide, with Arabica being grown in mountain terrains with Robusta being cultivated in areas with plenty of rain.


A Waiting Game

In order to bring coffee from a farmer’s hand to your cup, coffee cherries have to be picked, processed and dried. 

The coffee picking process is one of rigor and difficulty. Coffee farmers handpick each cherry individually on steep inclines. 

Coffee cherries then begin to go through the processing stage. 

During processing, the coffee seed is removed from the cherry. The coffee seed is the coffee bean, so this step is very important!

Each cherry contains two seeds, meaning that there are two coffee beans out of every cherry.

After being picked and processed, the coffee must be dried in the sun to dry out any fluids and prevent them from spoiling. This process takes six weeks.

Yes! Six weeks!

The coffee must constantly be turned, and covered whenever there is rain in the forecast.

Fun fact about coffee plants: a single plant produces approximately one pound of roasted coffee per year!

25 Million Coffee Farmers!

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Did you know that 80% of the world’s coffee is grown by smallholder farmers, representing over 25 million coffee farmers?

With coffee being the second-most traded commodity in the world, only behind crude oil, this industry is becoming increasingly competitive.

It is important to acknowledge that the majority of coffee farms throughout the world are located in underdeveloped countries along the Equator, and the majority of these farmers are not receiving the payment that they deserve! 


Positive Change Ripple Effect

This is where we come in!

The power of humanity is incredible and has resulted in some drastic changes throughout history. 

BeyondFair, fair trade, fair trade coffee

Creating positive changes in an industry that has historically kept coffee farmers in poverty and moving these farmers towards independence and freedom is a deep passion of Road Coffee.

We directly purchase from farmers around the world and pay them fair prices for their coffee. This allows us to benefit our community with great coffee and the communities of the farmers we buy from by paying them a living wage.

Our BeyondFair microloan program is another way that we help farmers to grow their businesses without falling into the traps of crippling interest rates. These loans allow farmers to purchase new equipment to improve the value of their crops and businesses, educate their children and improve their communities.

Canadian Coffee Farmers

Snowy landscapes and negative temperatures are a staple of Canadian climate. Due to this, we are unable to have a stable coffee farming industry, meaning we must import any and all coffee that we consume.

In that sense, it is incredibly important that we are supporting these smallholder coffee farmers as they are essentially our farmers as Canadians!

Without their year-round hard work, none of us would be able to enjoy the delicious coffee that is such an important part of each day for many of us.


Other Fun Facts About Coffee:

  • Ethiopia is generally considered to be the birthplace of coffee.
  • Coffee dates back to 800 A.D.
  • Espresso is Italian for “pressed out”.
  • “Coffee” comes from the Arabic word for “wine”.
  • One cup of black coffee is only one calorie!
  • Finland consumes more coffee than any other country.
  • The average cup of coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso!
  • Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia are the top three largest coffee producers in the world.
  • Coffee beans are actually green until they are roasted, which gives them their distinctive flavour and colours.
  • Canadians drink an average of 3.2 cups of coffee, per day!


Author Jordan Calladine