Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Spokane-based Nectar of Life Coffee partners with Catholic Relief Services to promote fair trade business

the Inland Register

(From the March 22, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Martin Jennings is co-founder and master roaster at Nectar of Life Coffee Company (IR photo by Felizitas Martin, for CRS)

Catholics and other socially conscious coffee-lovers around the Inland Northwest have the opportunity to purchase Fair Trade coffee through a partnership between Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Nectar of Life, a 100-percent Fair Trade company based in Spokane Valley.

CRS is the U.S. bishops’ overseas development and emergency relief agency.

Fair Trade coffee connects socially conscious consumers in the United States with disadvantaged coffee farmers overseas through companies like Nectar of Life, companies that are committed to using the market as a force for change. Nectar of Life sells exclusively organic coffee that is Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA, an independent, third party certification agency. Central to the concept of Fair Trade goods is pricing: TransFair USA guarantees that the family farmers who grew the coffee were paid a fair price. In addition, Fair Trade farmers who grow their crops with sustainable organic farming practices are paid a premium above the Fair Trade minimum.

According to TransFair USA, U.S. coffee consumers drank 108 million cups of coffee yesterday and spent about $22 billion last year on coffee. U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade Certified coffee grew from less than $50 million in 2000, to nearly $500 million five years later.

Fair Trade Certified coffee is also the fastest growing segment of the U.S. specialty coffee market, with Fair Trade Certified green coffee imports growing at an average of nearly 75% a year since 1999.

By receiving a fair price, Fair Trade producers can avoid cost-cutting practices that sacrifice quality, and can utilize traditional farming methods that result in exceptionalproducts.

Most Fair Trade Certified coffee, tea and chocolate in the United States is certified organic and shade grown. This means they maintain biodiversity, provide shelter for migratory birds and help reduce global warming.

Nectar of Life Coffee Company was founded in 2003 by Martin and Hannah Jennings of Spokane Valley, who feel strongly about the positive benefits of Fair Trade, organic and shade-grown coffee. Martin has a degree in viticulture and enology from the University of California at Davis and was working at the time as assistant winemaker at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars. But he had a passion for Fair Trade principles and so decided to leave the winemaking business and devote himself full-time to roasting the best organic and Fair Trade coffee beans he could find. The Jennings saw an opportunity to support Fair Trade while developing a high quality selection of gourmet coffees that could win over even the most discriminating coffee drinker.

As a CRS partner, Nectar of Life contributes a percentage of all sales it makes through the program to the CRS Fair Trade Fund to support the agency’s work on behalf of disadvantaged artisans and farmers around the world. In addition, Nectar of Life will continue to contribute $1 to the Fair Trade Fund from the sale of each bag of its “Nectar Ice” coffee – a roast specially formulated for brewing iced coffee. And, for limited time, Nectar of Life is offering a special coupon code “CRS20” to its website customers – this code is for a 20 per cent discount on orders placed through the website.

Nectar of Life coffees are also sold in the Spokane area at Yokes, Huckleberry’s, URM Cash and Carry, Global Folk Art and Lorien Herbs and Natural Foods.

As part of the new partnership, CRS and Nectar of Life are encouraging Catholics in the Spokane Diocese to serve Fair Trade coffee in their homes, parishes, schools and offices; to sell it as a fundraiser; and to give it as a gift.

“Catholics in Eastern Washington have participated actively in the CRS Fair Trade Program for years,” said Michael Sheridan, Senior Advisor for Economic Justice at Catholic Relief Services. “Now, with Nectar of Life’s addition to our network of partners, they can continue to support Fair Trade while also a socially responsible company in their community.”

Individuals, churches or schools who are interested in purchasing coffee in bulk for parish coffee hours, special events or fundraisers can contact Hanna Jennings at 509-979-5245. More information is also available on their website.

The announcement of Nectar of Life’s partnership with CRS is good news indeed for coffee-lovers throughout the Spokane Diocese: every cup they drink supports a local business working to promote economic justice and right relationships with our brothers and sisters around the world.

For more information on the CRS Fair Trade Coffee Program or Nectar of Life Coffee, visit:, or

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