In the very broad sense, every time you buy a coffee on the basis of origin from a specialty vendor rather than on the basis of price from a supermarket you are supporting a market-based solution to tropical poverty and environmental degradation.

In fact, you are helping everyone.

You are helping yourself to better coffee and a more expressive choice of coffee; you are helping a college-student clerk work at something slightly more interesting than taking orders at a fast-food outlet.

You are helping roasters, dealers, and exporters lead more interesting lives based more on shared passion than on pure number crunching; and you are recognizing and rewarding the hard work of mill operators and growers.

All of this for a few cents more per cup.

-Kenneth Davids