Coffee is one of the most highly traded commodities on the world market, second only to oil.  In 2002 nearly 120 million bags of coffee were produced worldwide totaling over 15 billion pounds.  Coffee consumers spent approximately $9 billion in coffee retail and nearly the same on coffee in the food service sector in 1999 in the United States alone (1999 SCAA).  But in the last twelve years, a buzz has been created around the coffee industry, erupting into serious debate during what has been called the "coffee crisis."  While the world price for coffee fluctuates, dropping almost yearly, some consumers cry out, "Buy organic!  Buy fair trade!"  But what exactly do these terms mean?  What exactly are you buying?  Here we will look at exactly what the words "organic" and "fair trade" mean on the side of your coffee package and how they are obtained, as well as examine arguments both for and against such certified labeling of coffee.





This site was created by Jackson Takach
and David Anderson of Centre College.