I drink a lot of coffee (at least a quart a day). I'm also rather picky. Recently on one of the mailing lists I follow, the subject of coffee came up. Times are getting hard and most everyone on the list is interested in saving money.
This is a lefty group of folks. They are progressive to a fault. No one suggested or mentioned fair trade. In a similar thread a year and a half ago, everyone was all about the 'fair trade'.
What really opened my eyes was I posted I roast my own coffee. I roast coffee in our oven. It takes about 12-15 minutes. It smokes the house fairly thoroughly, but it's fast, cheap and delicious that way. I know some people who roast their coffee on the outside grill (a lot less smoky). You can buy dedicated home roasters to produce even more consistent results. None of this is either expensive or difficult.
More to the point, you can buy, via the Internet, green coffee beans directly from the grower. This is much better than fair trade. The grower does not have to pay to join up to a marketer. every dollar you pay goes directly into the source's pocket.
What interests me is the degree to which a group of progressives prioritize doing good versus being frugal versus convenience. Most friends and family view me as eccentric for home roasting, but it truly isn't difficult (it is smoky). But most of the mailing list have jettisoned the fancy named fair trade brands for Yuban and Maxwell House. So Price beats Convenience which in turn beats Doing Good.
Hard times are interesting. They give you a view into people's souls in a way prosperous times never do. So far the test has been mild for those I know. May it continue so.