Sustainability at 3fe - Week 14

04 April 2019

For the last few weeks we have been examining the coffee-sourcing side of our business, a model that we believe has always been at the forefront of sustainability action in coffee. It’s definitely not perfect, and we’ve only started to scratch the surface of what we want to examine with these posts, but hopefully it has set up the context around the economic sustainability of the coffee value chain. The biggest takeaway for us has been the difficulty in getting across the complexity of each coffee-buying situation in a way that is easy to understand.

With that in mind, we wanted to finish this series with an outline of our main purchasing principles, as a set of criteria that we can stand behind, and that you can always expect of us when buying a bag of 3fe coffee. We very much seeing this as a working document that we will constantly strive to improve on. If you have any thoughts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]

3fe Purchasing Principles:


We source high-quality coffee that represents everyday, scalable excellence.

Fair prices

We pay prices that reflect the quality of this coffee, the costs to produce it, and the investments needed to ensure future production. These will not be reflective of volatile market prices, and will always be above the Fair Trade floor price.


We’re in it for the long haul with everyone we work with, and relationships are the cornerstone of our purchasing approach. It starts with the relationship with Steve, our coffee buyer who we have a decade of trust and confidence in. Then it’s about the relationships that he manages on our behalf with farmers, exporters and importers, where transparency and communication along the chain is vital. Exporters and importers play an important but supporting role, facilitating the agreements between Steve and the producers we work with.

Minimising Risk

We acknowledge the disproportionate risk on the side of the producer, seeking to minimise that through stable prices, buying commitments, and initiatives to create increased value for their products.

Farm Sustainability

We ensure that the farms that we work with are committed to environmental, social and economic sustainability, whilst recognising the diverse range of farms and farmers we work with across the globe.


We do our best to communicate the details and nuances of our coffee-buying in ways that are transparent and approachable, and engage with customers around the wider issues affecting the coffee industry.