Today, I woke up at four without an alarm (this never happened at Grinnell), then, I just laid on my bed and listened to dogs barking and roosters “cantar”. Later, I hiked with other group members to watch the sun rise and the volcano.
After breakfast, Omar presented us information on fair trade. Something I took away from the presentation was that price is an inaccurate indicator on a product because it only tells how much the market is willing to pay base on the quantity of supply and the consumers’ demand. However, it does not include the price of materials, hours of production, labor hours, and price of certifications (organic, fair trade, rain forest, and etc). The coffee from Nueva Alianza is cheap, hence, it is possible for an individual to purchase many bags at once. On the other hand, that individual would not buy as many bags of coffee if the price rises three times higher, for instance.
For most of the consumers, we are ignorant of the costs that are less visible and countable. Especially after understanding how Nueva Alianza separate the coffee beans and its skin manually with a less advanced machine, spend at least five days to sort and dry the beans, and hike through steep hills to collect coffee fruits, I understood that the producers do not gain a big profit from the plantation. In fact, the price of a product usually only covers the cost of materials with little retained earnings. When we are at a fair trade store, we tend to shop less aggressively and be very cautious with the price. Yet, after the visit at Nueva Alianza, I became more conscious about the impact of my purchase to the community, instead of thinking how much cheaper I could get for the same product/design elsewhere.
P.S. The coffee at Nueva Alianza taste very good!! I normally do not drink coffee, but I drank four cups this morning. Hope you all will have an opportunity to try the Nueva Alianza coffee.