Yallah Coffee Buying Standards

We believe that coffee and business can be a force for positive change.

The Yallah coffee buying standards are a set of guidelines crafted by our roastery team to ensure that all Yallah coffee is sourced in alignment with our values.

It’s really important for us to work with trusted partners in our supply chain who can provide us with honesty and traceability. The coffee industry, like many other commodities, is susceptible to inequality and ethical issues in the supply chain. Our buying standards aim to provide us and our customers with the knowledge and security that - other than tasting delicious - we are part of a fair system.

How do the standards work?

There are three core categories that outline the most important factors to consider when purchasing coffee: social relationship, economic transparency, and environmental and agrological efforts. 

Each coffee is carefully reviewed and has to answer 'yes' to at least one question from each category before purchasing.

Social Relationships

Buying coffee is more than just looking for the most delicious brews. We have the opportunity to invest in social projects with the purchase of our coffees; whether that’s working with women only producer groups, or supporting a seedling nursery; coffee really can be a force for good.


Have we had this coffee before?

We try our best to keep supporting the same producers year on year by purchasing the same coffees. This means we can build a meaningful relationships that hopefully will exist for years to come.

Do we have a good relationship with the importer?

Unless the coffee is purchased directly by us, we always buy coffee from our trusted importers. They are key links between us and the producers, and building a solid foundation between the two is really important to us. 

Was this coffee grown by a single producer?

Buying single lots from one producer or farm means we have full transparency on exactly where the coffee has come from. 

Do we know who contributed to this mixed lot?

Some smaller scale producers struggle to grow enough coffee to export as one single lot, so they often team up with nearby producers or a local co-operative to put the coffee together for exporting. This can often be where the traceability ends, so keeping tabs on the size and the names who contributed to each community lot provides us with full transparency. Bonus points if we can see the gender split and ages of the producers.

Was this coffee bought directly?

We are proud to be working directly with producers in Nicaragua and Brazil for the last seven years.

Environmental Efforts

Sustainability is at the core of everything we do at Yallah, and this includes the coffees we purchase too. Supporting the environmental efforts of coffee producers can have huge benefits in the long term, not just for the planet but for the producers themselves, who are most at risk from the effects of climate change and the threat it poses to their crops.


Does this coffee have any certifications?

Some coffees come with a certification; whether that’s organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance, etc. They are standardised and recognised all over the world, which is really useful when buying coffee from different countries that have different growing practices.

Are you aware of any synthetic agrochemicals e.g NPK used during growing?

Coffee is a delicate crop that is prone to pests and diseases. Unfortunately, as with most commodity crops, there is a history of using synthetic fertilisers and chemicals to combat this. In an ideal world, the natural environment would protect itself from these issues. If you have a good ecosystem of different plant and animal species working together, then the coffees should thrive naturally. However, most farms don’t have the knowledge or means to put this into practice and rely on fertilisers and pesticides to protect their crops. Whilst these are not present in the finished roasted coffee, they can be harmful for the producers themselves and other plant and animal species on the farm. We can help by supporting producers who are turning to more natural practices, such as making their own fertiliser from pruning the trees. 

Was this coffee grown under shade e.g intercropping, agroforestry etc?

There are a myriad of advantages to growing coffee under the natural shade of trees and other crops. There are two main ways of doing this; intercropping and agroforestry. Intercropping usually refers to planting other cash crops around or in between the coffee trees, such as corn, bananas, hardwood trees such as mahogany, or other native crops to that particular country. Agroforestry can mean either planting coffee crops in natural virgin forests or specifically planting trees that are beneficial to their environment in some way - providing shade, fending off pests, fixing nitrogen in the soil and spreading deep roots that keep the soil moist in droughts and more stable in heavy rains. 

Are you aware of any waste management practices in the processing stage?

Processing coffee - stripping off the fruit, drying and milling it, preparing it for export - can use a lot of resources. Washed coffee uses a lot of water which ends up over-saturated with sugars and nutrients from the coffee cherries, which needs to be filtered and treated before being disposed of. The discarded cherries also need to be carefully disposed of due to their high pH level. 

Was this coffee shipped by sail boat?

Each year we bring in coffee that has been shipped across the Atlantic using the power of the wind. This saves tonnes of carbon emissions and dramatically reduces the environmental footprint of the coffee. 

Economic Transparency

We are committed to full economic transparency within our supply chain, ensuring every producer gets paid fairly for their harvests. We pay way above the market price for each coffee we buy and this is crucial in making sure that coffee remains a financially viable crop for producers for years to come.


What was the producer paid per lb at the gate?

This is the most important question when determining if the producer was paid fairly for their coffee. The ‘farmgate’ price refers to the actual price the producer received. This price varies as some producers sell beans fresh off the trees in their fruit form (called ‘cherry’), or if the producer has their own processing equipment, they are sold after stripping the fruit off and dried (called ‘parchment’). The parchment fetches a better price, but involves more labour and time for the producer. 

What was the differential paid (premium above market rate) at the time of purchase?

Specialty coffee is scored in terms of quality - to put it simply, if the coffee scores over 80 points, it is considered specialty and therefore will receive a premium on the market price, known as a differential. As the market price changes daily, we can’t always know exactly what the producer was paid at the time, but we can find out what the differential was. 

Can you guarantee that the producer was paid adequately and in line with local living costs?

In some rare cases, this information is not available. We would then need reassurance from the exporter or mill that we purchased the coffee from that the producer was paid well for their coffee. As we only work with trusted partners, they can guarantee this is in line with local living costs.