Bridging the Gap Across the Coffee Supply Chain through Tip the Farmer™

Bridging the Gap Across the Coffee Supply Chain through Tip the Farmer™
Dianne Eclar

Bellwether Coffee
Coffee farmers around the world are paying more to produce coffee than they are able to sell it for, which makes it hard for farmers to derive a living income. Bellwether launched Tip the Farmer™, a first-of-a-kind program that empowers coffee drinkers to tip the producers behind each cup. Tip the Farmer™ is not a substitution for paying higher wages--Bellwether Coffee’s sustainable buying principles ensure farmers receive fair wages--but the program enables coffee shop owners and consumers to directly contribute to helping producers invest in their futures.

Photo credit: ASOPEP-1

Here’s how it works:

  1. Bellwether customers add a very small surcharge at the point of sale.
  2. Bellwether Coffee distributes 100% of the money to participating farmers directly. (Bellwether pays all fees associated.)
  3. Farmers choose how they want to invest the money into their farms and communities.
  4. Bellwether shares stories on how the money was invested and the impact it created so that Bellwether customers can share these stories as well. 

Bellwether officially launched Tip the Farmer™ in June 2020 and made the first Tip the Farmer™ payment of nearly $3,000 to a cooperative in Tolima, Colombia called ASOPEP. ASOPEP immediately invested the funds to mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19 by purchasing PPE for all of the healthcare workers in the municipality and launching an initiative to deliver essential services to producers living outside of town to protect producers from contracting the coronavirus.

Photo credit: ASOPEP-2

ASOPEP’s allocation of Tip the Farmer™ funds epitomizes the goal of Tip the Farmer™–-it’s a program that is farmer first and shows producers that Bellwether is committed to more than just a business relationship. Bellwether is committed to forming partnerships with producers and providing producer partners with the autonomy and decision-making power to invest in their communities and futures. The resiliency that ASOPEP has demonstrated in this unprecedented time is one of the many reasons Bellwether is proud to partner with them and excited to see how other producers invest Tip the Farmer™ funds.

Read more about the official launch of Tip the Farmer™ in recent features from Barista Magazine and the Global Coffee Report. For more information, visit

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