Don “Bald Guy” Cox, Boone coffee entrepreneur and educator, likes to remind his customers, “There’s a lot of hype in a cup of coffee.” The Walker College of Business students’ takeaway from their experience in Costa Rica is that educated buyers can make a difference in the quality of life for the pickers and growers.
The students caution that “fair trade” or “organic” labels on the coffee are not always accurate and Cox said there are no regulatory mechanisms currently in place. Research your suppliers, students suggest, and buy local when possible. Ask “Where do you get your beans?” If the proprietor can’t tell you, go somewhere else.
Here is an explanation of commonly used coffee certificates.