Transparency is important in the coffee industry (breaking news, I know). It’s why many coffee roasters like 49th Parallel, Counter Culture, and Tim Wendelboe put out annual transparency reports showing what they paid for their coffees that year. And Onyx Coffee Lab is taking this idea a step further. On their newly launched website overhaul, the Arkansas-based roaster lists the price they paid for each coffee currently for sale.

Under the product description for each coffee, Onyx lists the normal information: the story of the coffee, processing, suggested brewing, etc. Below that, though, is a new level of consumer-facing transparency, including FOB price, their cupping score, amount purchased, any premiums they included to go toward social projects on the farm, and commodity coffee and Fair Trade prices at the time they purchased the coffee.

The site also lists means through which the coffee was purchased, as either a spot coffee through an importer or through direct trade. And Onyx takes a step further by defining what direct trade–an often misunderstood or misused term–means to them:

Direct trade for us means we visited, viewed the operation, approved of the ethics and treatment of staff. It also means, we cupped the coffees and they scored to our standards. Then we paid what the coffee was worth, which is always at least double Fair Trade price and usually even more. We then add a premium on top of the price to go towards social projects in the area or give back some how to the community at large to help cultivate a real relationship with the producer and region.

More than just reporting after the fact, this sort of on-demand transparency allows customers greater access to information when purchasing. It equips them with the resources to better vote with their dollar. It’s a bold move on Onyx’s part, but a much needed in, in my humble opinion. Now folks can have a better idea of the real cost of the coffee they are drinking as they are drinking it.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

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