How and why Jasper Coffee became Fairtrade licensed

05 August, 2021 4 min read

You may be familiar with the smooth, rich flavours of our specialty coffee, but how familiar are you with Jasper Coffee’s Fairtrade history? Besides being the first licensed roaster to sell certified Fairtrade coffee in Australia, Jasper Coffee helped lead the fairtrade movement down under, paving the way for businesses to come.


Merilyn Parker and Wells Trenfield established Jasper Coffee in 1989 with intentions to provide exceptional coffee while upholding an ethical way of doing business. Dedicated to rehumanising the coffee supply-chain, the founders made it their priority to know wheretheir product came from, the farmers responsible, and the manner in which they grew their crops. With so many questions about living wages, conditions and how these factors affected the price of coffee, the founders turned to a more established association to gain further guidance on the topic.


“We wanted to make sure that coffee farmers were earning a living wage and could cover their production costs without worrying about financial security…” - Wells Trenfield, Cofounder of Jasper Coffee


How Jasper Coffee became licensed to sell Fairtrade coffee in Australia.

While the Fairtrade Association of Australia and New Zealand wasn’t inaugurated until 2005,Wells and Merilyn had heard about Fairtrade agreements taking place abroad, with Fairtrade International leading the movement in 1997. 

The founders wanted to elevate industry standards for the benefit of farmers everywhere. In 2003, with support from a global body, Jasper Coffee became the first roaster in Australia licensed to sell certified Fairtrade coffee in the region. Today, Jasper Coffee sells the largest range of certified Fairtrade coffee in Australia. 


“When we first connected with our coffee broker Scott Bennet, he was based in Papua New Guinea...he was very concerned about the status of people within the coffee industry because of what he’d seen...we struck a chord on the social conditions of those people, and see ourselves as a link the cycle, we need the growers so we need to work with them, to improve their standards of living.” -Wells Trenfield.


Fairtrade International is a global organisation that’s 50% co-owned by farmers and workers. It establishes, audits and reviews decisions around the Fairtrade Minimum Price, Premium and Standards with respect to producers and buyers alike. (Learn more about Fairtrade on the Jasper Coffee blog)  


The positive impact of selling Fairtrade coffee

Over the last two-years Jasper Coffee has contributed $95,374 in Fairtrade premiums from Fairtrade certified products like coffee, sugar and cocoa. 

Today, we proudly offer 17 Fairtrade certified coffees, Fairtrade certified Nespresso compatible compostable pods, as well as Fairtrade and organic certified instant coffee, sugar and drinking chocolate.  
Culturally and economically, Jasper Coffee’s Fairtrade partnerships have had an incredible impact on communities around the globe, from East Timor to Ethiopia.


birthing centre


How Maubisse built medical centres in East Timor

The Indonesian invasion of East Timor left the region devastated with little infrastructure to support a recovering economy. As long-standing partners with coffee farmers in the region, producing theMaubisse single origin, Jasper Coffee established Fairtrade partnerships that would uplift and empower communities. Money raised from Fairtrade Premiums and crops helped farming cooperatives establish seven medical centres in the mountaintops. Jasper Coffee also co-funded an extension to the birthing centre setupby green coffee broker Scott Bennett, where local women could stay and receive postnatal care after delivery. 



How Okapa landed in Germany

Niugini Okapa comes from Papua New Guinea, and is a coffee worth travelling for. While the roads in the Eastern Highlands were underdeveloped, the quality of the coffee was so exceptional that Scott Bennett would send helicopters to fly the product out for Jasper Coffee. The coffee became Fairtrade certified in 2004, and while we may have searched far and wide to find it, now coffee-lovers as far as Germany have made it their mainstay.


east timor centre


How Yirgacheffe gave women a voice

Ethiopia’sYirgacheffe is an example of coffee that has had the power to transform communitiesand perspectives. From 2007-2012, Jasper Coffee worked with World Vision to support a tiny coffee cooperative in Ethiopia in hopes that it would pull the community out of poverty, and establish financial security within the region. 

Since becoming organic and Fairtrade certified in 2007, the cooperative has improved the yield and quality of their already exceptional coffee and purchased a processing facility and mill to centralise production. Additionally, birthing centres, access to birth control and education have all been funded by Fairtrade premiums and women have been appointed to the co-op board; demonstrating changing attitudes within the community. 

The Fairtrade movement hasn’t just provided coffee exporters and businesses with more ethical ways of working, it has transformed the way we consume everyday products and empowered global farming communities. Taste the blends behind the stories (Ethiopia Yirgacheffe,Niugini Okapa andEast Timor Maubisse) and be part of a fairer future for coffee farmers and producers around the world.


Shop the largest range of certified Fairtrade coffees in Australia and the difference it makes for growers and their communities.