About Cafe Fair


First Fairtrade Certified Coffee Retailer in the Nation

Seeing a need for an organic coffee in the market, Steep & Brew owner Mark Ballering developed Café Fair in 1997. We sought out Fairtrade and Organic certifications for our coffees because we recognized the importance of social responsibility on a worldwide scale. Because there was no Fair Trade Organization operating in the United States at that time, our initial certification came from the European Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO). In fact, when Café Fair was certified, Steep & Brew became the first Fair Trade certified coffee retailer in the United States.

Today, Café Fair is Fair Trade certified by Fairtrade International (FLO). Café Fair also partners with Rainforest Alliance for some of our coffees.

Commitment and Respect

For generations, coffee-growing families were forced to live below subsistence levels because they had no way to get a fair price for their crop. Unfortunately, coffee prices fluctuate. Some years the grower can feed and clothe his family, buy a few books and tools; in other years, the price of coffee is so low that the family is forced to leave their land to find work at insufficient wages. Café Fair is helping to change that. We have reached out to democratically run cooperatives in coffee-growing countries around the world. Through membership in these cooperatives, growers and their families can take control of their financial destinies because they can sell their coffee at a fair price.

By becoming a Fair Trade Coffee Roaster, Café Fair has chosen to pay the growers a “living wage” regardless of how much the coffee price fluctuates in the market. When you choose to drink Café Fair, you can feel good, knowing the beans you buy are supporting hard-working coffee-growers and their families.

But it's more than just a fair financial "deal". It's about commitment and respect. That's why we work with the same Café Fair grower partners year after year. We sincerely believe that both dignity and confidence in partnership are essential for our grower partners to reach their potential, and to wake up each day with a sense of optimism. With this new found hope, and belief in their self worth, they will no longer tolerate violence and brutality in their communities, and will feel empowered to resist oppression.

It's up to you to complete the circle. Our grower partners in Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala are the first link; Café Fair is the second; our retail partners are the third. But without you, the responsible coffee drinker, the circle is incomplete. Become a Café Fair coffee partner and complete the circle.

Café Fair is Organic and Eco-Friendly

We encourage our grower partners to follow sound bio-diverse cultivation practices.

For the health of their families, their communities, and our Café Fair consumers, we require our coffee to be grown organically. All Café Fair coffee is certified organic.

In addition, our grower partners follow eco-friendly farming practices. Coffee trees are only planted under the canopy of existing forests, helping to sustain existing plant and wildlife, and discouraging further deforestation in the region. In addition to native wildlife habitat, this provides important food and shelter for migratory birds, of which many species' very survival has been threatened by deforestation. Café Fair coffees are harvested from these shade grown trees.

Precisely Roasted and Vacuum Packed

Café Fair coffees are roasted under the watchful eye of our Mark Ballering, our president and master roaster. With more than thirty years of roasting experience, and numerous awards, Mark applies his roasting expertise to ensure Café Fair coffee is always precisely roasted. To maintain the coffee's optimum flavor, Café Fair is vacuum packed to insure its freshness.