Coffeebeans Routes

Fair Trade


Coffeebeans Routes is a Fair Trade Tourism certified brand.

The nature of our approach is detailed below.

Why ‘Coffeebeans’?
Everywhere in the world, across all languages and creeds and borders, everybody understands coffee. It is a universal connection. When people share a coffee, it is implicitly understood that they are sharing stories.

The work that we do as Coffeebeans Routes is to facilitate connection across borders that are both real and imagined. To create the platforms that bring people together across boundaries, and in doing so, discover shared resources and opportunity. We create cultural interventions for economic growth.

Tourism is our key tool for unlocking economic potential through exploring our cultural diversity and legacy, and managing it by creating sustainable development.

The Storytelling Economy
A great place for us is one where the stories of that place are everywhere. Where local food is easier to find than food from elsewhere. Where mobility is not an issue. Where safety is not an issue. Where failure to make something of your life is due to squandered opportunity instead of lack of opportunity. We build experiences around stories because everybody has them, and because, in cities packaged on binary assumptions about people, culture, language and economics, when we are lead by stories, we cut through to the pulse of what is happening. On continent where people were legislated into silence, our stories can be equalisers. And this is, we believe, tourism’s great opportunity.

Responsible Travel and Fair Trade best practice
We believe that responsible tourism is about the attempt to answer the questions of how we make the world better.  In our case, the primary question is: can tourism shift the dominant economic and social narrative, and position economically marginalised people at the heart of the mainstream?

Environmental impact starts with social justice. If radical social and economic disparities are reduced, if society becomes more equal, environmental sustainability is a natural byproduct.

So the starting point for us is social justice, and our biggest impact is through a responsible approach to how we engage with people, communities and stories, and how positioning new narratives at the heart of tourism starts to level imbalances. When we start to take ownership of the environments we live in (given that so much has been taken away, making us indentured tenants rather than curators), we naturally minimise impact on the natural environment.

Our approach to responsible and fair tourism practice, therefore, is to focus on social justice, while in parallel implementing tangible environmental management systems where relevant.

Our guiding principles

  1. Be lead by stories. Stories are the common denominator
  2. Use tourism as a canvas for stories.
  3. Social justice, the creation of an equal society, is the starting point for everything we do.
  4. Use tourism to create sustained, inclusive economic development.
  5. Focus on the narratives rendered invisible by our oppressive past and often oppressive present.
  6. Work to place these narratives in the mainstream of the tourism industry.
  7. Represent the diversity of perspective that exists in the places we engage.
  8. Favour attractions, resources and services providers where sustainable ecological and cultural practices are in place.
  9. Implement environmentally sustainable interventions at every possible level of our business.
  10. Favour accommodation establishments that show a commitment to clear, effective sustainability strategies.
  11. Promote indigenous knowledge systems, expression and language.
  12. Promote an approach to culture that is evolutionary, stepping away from ossified notions of people and culture.
  13. Pursue, in the stories told and the experiences created, opportunities to challenge binary notions of culture and people and place.
  14. Use progressive language, challenging outdated lexicon that exists both in the travel industry, and in society at large, and entrenches oppressive ways of seeing and doing things.
  15. Ensure fair pay for services rendered by our network of hosts and storytellers, agreed upon by all involved, and reviewed regularly.
  16. Support suppliers through regular ongoing training and support opportunities.
  17. Create new, unique products annually in each city we are present in. This is essential in keeping Coffeebeans fresh.
  18. Create access to locally produced creative products, with a focus on art, music, design, fashion, literature and cuisine.

In the Media

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"...authenticity adventure"
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"A cultural treasure hunt"
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"A Culinary Gateway to Cape Town"
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"A fascinating window on life"
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"A fascinating window on life"
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"A new & novel way to get inside the city"
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" especially rich experience"