This is a great quote from a recent blog post by World Barista Cup Winner, James Hoffmann.
I get a lot of people who, wanting to do the right thing, ask is my coffee is Fair Trade. The answer is complicated and there are no easy answers. Some of our coffees are certified Fair Trade, so you can be assured that FLO, the global fair trade certification body has verified that at least the Fair Trade Minimum has been paid for the coffee. But wouldn't the coffee farmers be better off if they got more or even much more then this minimum for the coffees they grow? Higher Quality=Higher Prices.
Recently we began to buy a lovely green coffee from the east African country of Burundi. This coffee is not certified to be Fair Trade, but much more then the minimum was paid for the coffee. So, is this coffee technically Fair Trade, no, but is it more then fairly traded, yes! Any kind of certification demands fees, inspections and infrastructure that are not cheap. For small estates, developing countries and new coffee roasters these things are be a major hurdle.
Ask questions about the coffee you get from your coffee roaster. Fair Trade Certification is not enough. There are no easy answers.