More than even beer, coffee is the most popular drink in Germany. Every German drinks about 300 liters of it a year. Many of them try to square enjoyment with a clear conscience by buying fair trade coffee. It costs more than normal coffee but the "Fairtrade” seal means that farmers in Africa or Latin America receive a greater share of sale proceeds than they would from normal coffee companies.
A pioneer of the Fairtrade ideal comes from Germany. More than 40 years ago, several church organizations, including the Protestant "Brot für die Welt” ("Bread for the World”) and the "Bund der deutschen katholischen Jugend” (Federation of German Catholic Youth) founded GEPA, Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Partnerschaft mit der Dritten Welt mbH (Society for the Promotion of Partnership with the Third World Ltd.). Coffee from Nicaragua was the first fair trade product. It was quickly joined by other foodstuffs, cocoa and tea, and later also clothes and handicrafts. Today, GEPA has an annual turnover of around 100 million Euros from food alone. This makes it the largest organization for fair trade in Europe. But it’s still a dwarf compared to the global corporations of the food industry.