Montana Coffee Traders roasts and sells fresh coffee in a manner that respects, supports and profits people, the community and the land that sustains us.
We care about the people who grow our coffee and the land that supports them. Whenever possible, we purchase directly from individual producers and farm cooperatives.
Organic coffees are grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. The quality of the soil and health of the coffee plant is maintained through natural fertilizers, careful pruning and mulching. This method of farming allows for a rich diversity of plants and animals and protects the health of the coffee growers and workers.
“Organic” not only refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed, but it also encompasses the system from start to finish. From production, to processing, to distribution and sales, organic certification assures consumers that the products maintain the organic integrity that begins on the farm.
The Fair Trade certification program brings together the producer and the consumer. The coffee industry middlemen are bypassed, and a more direct bridge is built whereby roasters buy directly from growers. Through this direct trade route, prices are regulated to ensure equitable contracts and sustainable farming practices are mandated and rewarded.
At Montana Coffee Traders, we are committed to promoting Fair Trade coffees to our customers. We have been longtime supporters of Fair Trade beginning in 1989 with the Santa Elena Cooperative in Costa Rica. We purchase their Café Monteverde coffee at Fair Trade pricing, and in addition, we donate back $1 to the community of Santa Elena for every pound we sell.
The coffee plant is a small understory shrub and has traditionally been grown amongst rainforest trees in the shade. Older varieties of Coffee Arabica, such as Typica or Bourbon, need to be grown under a canopy of shade trees because of their intolerance to direct sunlight. However, over the last 25 years, new hybrid varieties of coffee have been developed which are higher yielding and are also sun tolerant. This has led many coffee farmers to cut down the forest canopy of shade and plant denser groupings of coffee plants. The yield of coffee is greater, but at a severe price. The increased production of coffee puts a greater nutrient demand on the plant and the soil, often leading farmers to increase their agro-chemical applications. This results in water pollution, soil degradation, worker health risks and a dependence of the farmer on chemical supplies with associated costs – both financial and ethical.
Another negative aspect of “sun coffee” is that since there are fewer shade trees grown on coffee plantations, there is a loss of biodiversity. Studies conducted by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center have determined that shade coffee plantations can harbor up to 150 different species of birds, whereas a typical sun plantation may support around five species.
Montana Coffee Traders Inc.
5810 Hwy 93 South
Whitefish MT 59937
TOLL FREE 1-800-345-5282