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New Coffee Company Promises To Increase Farmers' Wages By 50%

By Nicole Caldwell

For every $3 you spend on a cup of coffee, the farmer who grew the beans makes a paltry 3 cents. That’s because the coffee industry is full of middlemen. In general, you’ve got growers, processors, packagers, and multiple points of transportation, retail markets and consumers. But one company called Levanta seeks to change that by working directly with farmers and paying them a full 50 percent more than normal wages.

Coffee farmers number in the tens of millions. 

More than 25 million people around the world make their living by producing coffee; a process that involves preparing land, growing beans, and processing, drying, and sorting them by hand. Levanta—which in Spanish means “wake up” and “rise up”—was created by Matt Hohler and Robert Durrette in order to reward all of that work by paying sales prices to farmers that are 50 percent more than what they normally get (and more than double the increase “fair trade” offers to farmers). The company believes paying farmers more through this “social microlot model” will allow them to invest more into their farms. And that can only mean one thing: better coffee.