It is a myth that the fair trade coffee you buy always work to the benefit of coffee farmers. While fair trade agreements do help promote sustainability for coffee farmers and demands compliance with specific international laws, the argument can be made that free trade may be more beneficial than fair trade to coffee growers.
The fair coffee trade relies on consumers to recognize the need to buy fair trade coffee, since it is more expensive than non-fair trade coffee. This higher price is passed on not only to the growers but to their communities as well, which provides community development and sustainable growth in supplier countries. In exchange for this premium, the consumer gets coffee which has been subjected to standards designed to support the coffee growers.