Café Libertad considers paying the best possible prices for small-scale farmers and co-operatives' work a given. At the same time, reasonable consumer prices are of importance: We don't want solidarily-traded coffee and espresso to be luxury goods for the better-off, but to be affordable for as many people as possible.

Nevertheless, sales prices are increasing by 3% on average this year to compensate for increased costs of import and financing due to the euro exchange rate kept artificially low by the European Central Bank, and in order to realise better raw coffee prices for small-scale farmers and co-operatives.

Consequently, new sales prices vary according to brand between 3,70 and 4,25 euro for 250g espresso and 7,20 and 7,75 euro for 500g roasted coffee.

To realise these moderate price increases (compared to exchange rate development), we are anticipating an increased demand for solidarily-traded coffee and your support in explaining the reasons for the costs of solidarily-traded coffee being what they are, as well as our political ideas and practices.

The euro's depreciation as a consequence of post-colonial economic policy
In this year, the euro depreciated compared to the dollar by temporarily 25%. The ECB's depreciation and inflation strategy is based on post-colonial logic: exports are to be supported, and governments' debts are expected to vanish into thin air due to increased inflation. This results in a violent bottom-up redistribution.

Increased customer prices are affecting poorer population strata most severely, who are additionally affected by increased costs for housing. Decreasing interest rates on the other hand are benefitting persons who already own money and are buying real estate, which in turn further aggravates the state of the housing market. A race to the bottom affecting everybody, whereas the population is to be amused by bread and circuses, application for the Olympic Games and by other mega-events.

Government debts resulting from bank saving programmes and financial speculations gone awry are being settled by the majority of the population, costs of everyday life are increasing, whereas stock prices and profits at stock exchanges are exploding and new speculation bubbles are being subsidised by the state. The actions taken are true to the motto “the wealthy are becoming wealthier, the poor poorer” - not merely within Europe, but on a global scale.

Thus, the idea of Café Libertad Collective is getting more and more important: support of oppositional political movements and construction of solidary trade relations as an oppositional base against austerity programmes and exploitative relationships.

Better prices for Zapatista and resistant co-operatives

Despite increased costs due to depreciation of the euro and temporary decrease of the world market price for raw coffee, Café Libertad Collective didn't cut the cost prices to compensate for currency fluctuations, but has increased e.g. the cost price for Zapatista raw coffee by 5% to 88 Mexican peso per kg. Additionally, sponsoring has been provided to support the co-operatives' work.

Recently, many co-operatives in Mexico suffer from roya, a fungal infection which is at first infecting the leaves of coffee plants and is finally resulting in a total loss of harvest yields. Consequently, two out of three Zapatista coffee co-operatives weren't able to export raw coffee this year. This situation is aggravated by the Mexican government's new repressive laws which are bolstering the market power of big coffee companies and obstructing self-marketing by independent co-operatives.

General conditions in world trade are created primarily by and for big companies and trusts – like one hundred years ago. Authoritarian regimes as well as big companies are concerned if there are developing self-organised production and distribution structures in resistant regions. It is less easy for the companies to dictate prices and also local resistance against the government's policy is frequently the more intensive the more basis-democratic structures are embedded locally.

Co-operatives and self-organised small-scale farmers are struggling against harvest losses and repressive government policies, but as well with harmful consequences of the trade of food as a “paper” at stock exchanges and low-price policy of supermarket chains and companies. We cannot and don't want to compete with supermarket and so-called blood coffee. Good prices for small-scale farmers, sponsoring and break-even marketing without commercial gains are as important to us as high coffee quality and sustainable production.

Rising quality via networking and new co-operatives

For Café Libertad and other groups of the European solidarity network, this year's harvest losses have resulted in an expected reduction of imports by 70-85 percent. Therefore, Café Libertad Collective is co-operating with several oppositional co-operatives from Mexico and Columbia to roast filter coffee Libertad and organic espressos Durito and Rebeldia as resistive Arabica mixtures.

To maintain the classical earthy taste of Zapatista coffee, we – like other groups of the solidarity network - are importing additional coffee from the pro-Zapatista coffee co-operative Michiza in the Oaxaca region next to Chiapas.

Additionally, we have imported 560 sacks of raw coffee of the Columbian co-operative Juan Tama for the first time. Columbian highlands are among the world's finest coffee-producing regions. Co-operative Juan Tama's aromatic raw coffee in combination with the well-known earthy taste of southern Mexican highland has created a phantastic coffee which we find really delicious.

We are glad to ensure solidary trade with Zapatista co-operatives by long-term co-operation with these co-operatives in spite of temporarily decreasing harvest yields as well as refining our products' quality. Along with our enhanced drum roast procedure, a slower and more gentle roast curve and slight adjustments of the degree of roasting, we get very positive feedback.

Furthermore, Costa Rican former refugees’ Finca Sonador's harvest boasts an unusually high quality this year. Raw coffee of women's co-operative Aprolma in Honduras creates the foundation for our queer-feminist organic coffee and espresso Las Chonas, a chocolate-fruity taste which is rather prevalent even with dark roasting.

Solidarity has to be practical

We appreciate further feedback in order to solidarily enhance our coffee for daily uprising. Since in the future as well as today, solidary trade and the idea of Café Libertad Collective can work only as a common network and interface of production, distribution and consumers.

Without solidarity work and voluntary commitment, without making ourselves part of the whole, neither direct marketing enterprises as an alternative to capitalist world market trade nor direct support of uprising indigenous communities and resistant basis movements are viable. Therefore, we hope for your continued support and participation in distribution, solidarity coffee stalls or by just spreading the word of Café Libertad's idea.

Raw coffee price und calculation
for 500g roasted coffee Libertad


g
co-operative Yachil Yeni Navan JuanTama
origin Chiapas/ Mexico Oaxaca/ Mexico Columbia
raw coffee price* 88 MXN/kg 84 MXN/k2,75 USD/lb
Cost price** 5,24 Euro/kg 5,00 Euro/kg 5,55 Euro/kg


Euro Roasted coffee calculation

5,22 cost price
0,81 loss due to roasting
0,24 roasting
0,08 grinding
0,37 filling
0,04 label
0,21 packing
2,19 coffee tax
0,06 transport
0,13 storage, insurance
4,47 operating costs***
0,40 sponsoring
0,20 surplus for reserves

14,30 price per kg
7,15 unit price 500g

0,50 VAT 7,00%
7,65 retail price


* Café Libertad's raw coffee price, including various surcharges for biological production and the co-operatives' social and political work.

** Cost price after import and customs depending on port of origin, storage time and US dollar and Mexican peso exchange rates at the time of pre-payment (60%) and final payment (40%) on arrival and after quality check of the raw coffee.

*** Operating costs are a calculatory premium of 48,5% to cover external services, wages including wage tax, costs of transport, administration, financing and required means of production.