30 Years - %
30 years

Thanks a 30 million

This year we celebrate our 30th anniversary and the impact we have had together on improving farmers’ lives.

Since 1991 we’ve made it our mission to improve the livelihoods of smallholder growers and in that time we’ve given back £30 million to our growers.

Of course, we couldn’t have done any of this without your support – so thank you for choosing our products.  We hope you’ll enjoy them for many more years. Then we can make an even bigger difference to our farming communities and the world they live in.

1991

Cafédirect is founded by Oxfam, Traidcraft, Equal Exchange and Twin Trading in response to the collapse in coffee prices falling below farmers’ production costs.

Its aim was to trade directly to ‘give coffee bean, cocoa and tea growers a larger slice of the purchase price for the products’.

1992

Cafédirect Medium Roast, Fresh Ground coffee is put on trial in the Co-op and Safeway Scotland.

1993

Gain national distribution the Co-op and Safeway, a first for a Fairtrade product.

1994

The first Fairtrade instant coffee launches, Cafédirect Medium Roast, Freeze Dried Instant.

The independent Fairtrade Mark is launched by the UK Fairtrade Foundation; Cafédirect’s coffee is the first coffee to carry the mark.

1997

Cafédirect Rich Roast coffee is launched, our first Roast & Ground coffee to include African coffee beans.

Donate 40p to hurricane relief for each pack of Rich Roast sold following the devastation of hurricanes in Central America, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

1998

Teadirect, a blend from East Africa launches.  This is the first time that tea from Uganda is used in a Fairtrade blend sold in the UK.

From 1991 many coffee cooperatives in Uganda have collapsed.  We work to establish Gumutindo, a body which trades coffee on the producer’s behalf, and builds the cooperative to 2,500 members by 2004. By 2000 Gumutindo are the pioneers for organic production in Uganda.

1999

Organic Machu Picchu Mountain Special, Fresh Ground launches.

All 16 coffee co-operatives are visited to assess their priorities needing support. Fax and email systems are installed and we provide pre-financing loans, access to other finance and markets and management training.

2000

Cafédirect partners with Costa Coffee Shops, to supply the first Fairtrade coffee and tea to the high street.

2001

The fourth Producer Conference takes place, bringing together 41 producer representatives from 10 countries.

A cinema advertising campaign runs which is the first time a Fairtrade product has been advertised in UK cinemas.

2002

Cafédirect 5065 launches, a freeze-dried coffee which all our coffee producers contribute to.

The new International Fairtrade Mark launches and we are one of the first Fairtrade companies to show the new mark on pack.

2003

Launch the UK’s first ever 100% Fairtrade Drinking Chocolate, Cocodirect Drinking Chocolate.

Cafédirect cafés across universities in the UK open.

2004

A ground-breaking share issue raised £5m from 4,500 individuals, including producer groups.  Cafédirect becomes a public company – but one with a triple bottom line of profit, people and planet meaning an equal focus on all three.

Producers formally join the Board of Directors for the first time.

Mexican coffee growers are forced to abandon their coffee farms due to fluctuating world markets and so we support 4 Mexican cooperatives to come together for a new organic gourmet coffee – Cafédirect Palenque.

2005

Launch the first Fairtrade decaffeinated tea.

Train young people in cupping and quality control in Mexico, Nicaragua and Uganda.

2006

Donate £93,000 to our Mexican partners hit by Hurricane Stan to help with immediate emergency needs.

Open The Regent Street café, branded as Cafédirect.

2007

Cafédirect is ‘most recommended brand in the UK’ (2007 Millward Brown)

Begin working with São Tomé and Príncipe in West Africa to support the growth and income from their cocoa. By 2010 they receive 500% more income from fermenting, drying and exporting their crop directly than when they previously sold the raw product to middle-men.

2008

Teadirect Gold launches – a luxury blend of teas from our grower partners in Kenya, Rwanda and Assam in India.

£1.3m is invested in producer programmes at origin, the largest yet.

2009

Set up a standalone farmer-led charity, Cafédirect Producers Foundation, a pioneering approach to maximizing impact.

Launch a long-term, ground-breaking carbon credits scheme with subsistence farmers in Peru to reforest 224 hectares. The carbon-credits are sold to fund further climate change adaption projects by the farmers.

2010

Win the award for ‘Sustainable Procurement’ at the Sustainable City Awards, hosted by the City of London.

Hold 3 producer update meetings in Africa, South and Central America for the first time ever.

2011

Our Producer Partnership Programme wins the Social impact award at the 2011 Guardian Sustainable Business Awards.

Following a 5-year long project with Cafédirect and Oxfam, smallholder tea farmers in Sri Lanka now hold direct relationships with buyers as a Fairtrade certified federation which boosts income significantly. Cafédirect is a key project funder and tea buyer.

2012

A competition ‘Tackling Climate Change Together’ funds £10,000 to two grower organisations who come up with the most innovative and sustainable way to tackle climate change.

2013

Pangoa, Peru hosts our ‘Joint Futures’ conference with 16 smallholder farming cooperatives from 8 countries.

Launch a new Costa Rican single origin.

The philosophy ‘Made the Small Way’, launches across all packs and with cinema advertising, celebrating the artisan nature of small businesses and the Cafédirect model.

2014

Launch of the first ever Fairtrade pod range to compete with Nestle’s Nespresso.

Acquire the UK’s first direct to consumer coffee subscription business, Kopi.co.uk.

Dominican Republic and Haiti improve their coffee quality and diversify their income through a long term-project with Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation.

2015

Open our first ever roastery in London Field and purchase a 12kg Probat Roaster to roast small batch coffee for the online subscription business.

$0.5m is given to Huadquiña co-operative in the Cusco region of Peru to enable their survival as no bank would support the smallholder farmers. 298 farmers survive and subsequently Huadquiña won a Peru Export Award and has become very successful.

2017

£0.9 million is raised from Cafédirect shareholders to expand the business.

Cafédirect’s Fairtrade tea business triples following the acquisition of The London Tea Company from Finlay Beverages.

2018

Win the International Impact Award and UK Social Enterprise of the year.

The first UK coffee company to be B Corp certified – leading the way in the UK coffee industry.

Launch Machu Picchu decaffeinated roast & ground coffee which is immediately successful and now Cafédirect’s second best selling line.

2019

The purchase of organic coffee now represents over half of our total coffee purchases.

Hold a joint strategy meeting in Pangoa, Peru along with Rikolto, Shared Interest, Bewleys, Falcon, Social Enterprise UK and farming co-operatives. Strategy themes include involvement of women and youth in agricultural activities and climate change adaptation strategies.

2020

Work with Producers Direct to support smallholder growers during the pandemic. Over 4.5 million farmers receive information on how to protect themselves.

The 2020 – 2030 Gold Standard is launched, which sets the bar for ethical business leadership and holds targets in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.