The holiday season is upon us. As the weather cools and hearts begin to warm it’s the perfect time to enjoy a sweet treat with a hot cup of coffee. Coffee and dessert is one of the things we look forward to most of all at the end of a good meal. A delicious after dinner pairing can be the perfect finish to a holiday feast. And socially conscious holiday shoppers, can now find more companies offering an opportunity to rethink the way we source our holiday treats. Direct trade companies like Madacasse, offer a transparent option for consumers seeking ethically sourced ingredients. Madacasse specializes in direct trade chocolate and vanilla extract. Direct trade enterprises pay the farmers directly, allowing growers to profit without assistance from a cooperative. Madacasse has developed an innovative bean to bar approach in growing and manufacturing chocolate. The company’s bean to bar approach allows it to manufacture the chocolate in Madagascar, where the cocoa is grown, in order to stimulate and impact the local economy. Madacasse can be found in Whole Foods. Bars and gift set purchased in the Madacasse online store. TAZA chocolate is a pioneer in direct trade bean to bar approach. Since it’s formulation in 2005, TAZA has focused on maintaining minimal processing for its organic, stone ground chocolate bars. The cocoa is mixed in Mexican stone mills to give the chocolate bars a gritty and rustic texture. TAZA makes cultivating a relationship with its growers a priority and partners with growers in Belize, Haiti, Bolivia, and Dominican Republic. The company works with its partnering farmers to maintain product quality while also sustaining a good quality of life for the farmers. TAZA Chocolate can be found in stores throughout the country. The company also has a section on their website where customers can purchase chocolate gift sets for the holidays.

Counter Culture is a direct trade coffee company that is committed to transparency in operations. The company releases an annual sustainability report to publicize its sourcing and manufacturing practices so its customers understand more about the products. By purchasing beans through direct trade, Counter Culture is able to ensure a high level of bean quality while cultivating strong relationships with suppliers. Counter Culture is based in Durham, NC and can be purchased online. The company also offers an annual subscription and brewing classes throughout the country. Barefoot Coffee Roasters offers award winning direct trade, environmentally sustaining, coffee roasted in small batches. The small batch roasting allows the company to highlight specific regions of bean origin. Barefoot Coffee Roasters Barefoot Coffee has growing partners in Latin America and Africa. The company shares detailed product information with customers. The aroma of each coffee, flavor notes, farm location, and even elevation of the farmland is all shared with customers. Barefoot Coffee can be purchased on the company website and in specialty markets throughout the Bay Area.