Green Bean Buying Principles
We subscribe to 8 major principles which ensure our buying process is not only fair but also respects people, place and product.
Read more about this in our Social Impact Statement.
1. Personal Relationships
We subscribe firmly to the notion of a Fair Value Exchange. We nurture relationships with our farmers that are mutually beneficial to all;
Coffee farmers across the world experience exploitation in the form of forced, child or trafficked labour. And whilst many companies talk about being Fair Trade or Direct Trade, these are fairly ambiguous terms that don't always eliminate exploitation. Getting to know our farmers is the only way to ensure our coffees have zero exploitation in the supply chain. We don’t believe in one-way relationships; we build respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
2. Farmers Set Their Price
Farmers set their own price so they can direct their own future
Too often the growers of our Daily Happy are paid less than they need to live and thrive. This can lead to farms failing and lost livelihoods. We work with our partners to understand their unique needs, considering pricing beyond simply an assessment of quality in comparison with other countries. We listen and pay the price that meets their individual needs. We acknowledge the power dynamic in the relationship and through trust and support we aim to do more for OQ farmers than any other buyer.
3. Purchase Harvests in AdvanceWe provide year on year purchasing guarantees meaning better cash flow and more security for OQ farmers
Like any business, farming has cash flow challenges. But these are much tougher when you don’t have access to bank accounts or credit to help ride out the tough times. Farmers do their best to grow multiple crops to generate income throughout the year, however, for many coffee farmers the main income is from an annual coffee harvest.
We pay in advance which reduces the chances of a farmer falling prey to loan sharks or experiencing real hardship while also having to do the important job of processing and harvesting their coffee. Buying ‘up front’ gives farmers the security needed to confidently invest in improving their future such as equipment, people or training.
4. Support Ethnic Minority People
90% of our coffees are grown by ethnic minorities. Celebrating cultural diversity inspires our personal Daily Happy
Our founders, Amelia and Yosir were inspired and transformed through their experience of different cultures in remote and regional areas of Asia. Yet, despite the fact these colourful and unique cultures enrich and inspire the world we live in, many ethnic minorities experience additional hardship in the countries they live in. Many have been displaced due to lack of citizenry and their cultures are at risk of extinction.
A large percentage of the world's coffee is grown by ethnic minorities and working with them gives us an opportunity to help reaffirm their importance. Coffee can be a lifeline to providing a future for younger members of the community; instead of leaving their villages they can work and learn and help keep the culture alive.
The patterns and colours that make up OQC’s brand are inspired by the vibrant textile patterns found in ethnic minority communities across Asia. We are continually inspired by the worldview of the people we source our coffee from.
5. Favour Small Holders
Working with small farms ensures traceability and supports diverse and organic agriculture.
Large scale farms are necessary in many places to grow coffee. However, we have found that we can have the most impact when working with smaller co-ops and farmer owned operations. We are keen to help them maintain their organic and sustainable practices. Through these smaller operations we can work closely and grow together, maintaining the traceability model that is so important to us.
6. Exclusively South-East Asia
Southeast Asia offers terroir with diverse environmental, climatic, and geological conditions that deliver unique and delicious tasting coffees.
We’re on a mission to show the world that Southeast Asian coffees are serious global contenders! Southeast Asian coffees taste seriously good, but they’re underrepresented in the Aussie coffee industry. We’re here to change that; we are Australia’s only specialty coffee roastery that sources 100% Southeast Asian green beans.
7. Directly Support Community Projects
We aim to understand each farmer’s needs as identified by them, not by us. We support projects directly to create greater impact
Old Quarter is a social enterprise in that everything we do is motivated by a desire to do good. We're all about spreading Daily Happy from your morning ‘ahhh’ right into the heart of the localities that grow and tend Old Quarter coffee. We deliver our own ‘Good On The Ground’ community development program in the areas where we work to ensure every cent goes straight to the community members it's intended to.
And we always listen to the community to determine the project. No same project would provide the same impact elsewhere. For example, in Sumatra, steep and crazy roads were the top priority as people were risking their lives to transport coffee. In Vietnam, a fire burnt everything our partners had built and threatened their livelihoods, so we helped to rebuild their homes and processing facilities, and in Laos, the farmers were managing to provide exceptionally tasty coffee despite having no clean drinking water, so we committed to a clean water project!
8. Organic as the Standard
All our coffees are organic. It’s better for the planet, better for our farmers and better for us.
Despite subscribing to organic practices, for many farmers, official organic certification is not feasible because it is too expensive for the size of their operation. This poses a challenge to command a good price in Western markets. At OQ we pay a fair price for organic coffee, not because it's certified or to get a badge of honour, but because our farmers deserve to be rewarded as diligent stewards of the land, and our customers deserve the best Daily Happy possible!