The ripple effect of coffee.
The difference between commodity coffee and specialty coffee is in the taste. Commodity coffee (aka, "C" contract) is traded around the world on commodities exchanges and has basic minimum requirements with basic drinkability. At the time of writing this post, commodity coffee is priced at $1.33 per pound on the Intercontinental Commodities Exchange (ICE). $1.33 may seem like a lot of money if one is dealing with 37,500 pounds of coffee, but in the case of small farms which can only produce 80 - 600 pounds of coffee in a season, it will yield only $106 - $800.
Specialty coffee is higher quality coffee that is determined by a number of factors, including altitude of growth, time to maturity, and type of soil. Many farms, from large plantations to small "backyard" plots have these features. Some larger farms can make the decision sell coffee on the specialyt market as well as the commodity markets. Smaller farms do not have the luxury of choice. Most smaller farms are only able to sell to the commodity buyers in their area.
Cafe de la Esperanza, LLC is able to purchase coffee from smaller farms at about two times more than the commodity market rate because it operates in the same area as the HOPE Bible Mission. In their efforts to help the Ixil area to develop a sustainable community, the purchase of coffee helps the farmers in the area to reinvest their funds in the community by hiring teachers, seeking local healthcare, sending their children to schools for longer periods of time, improving roads and many more things.
In fact, many specialty coffee companies who have access to direct relationships with farmers also purchase coffee in the same manner to the benefit of coffee producing regions. We encourage everyone who raises a cup in the morning (or many more during the day) to consider ripple effect of their coffee.