Some coffee professionals criticize the 公平-trade movement for valuing social and environmental issues more than coffee quality. They make the argument that, because growers are paid a guaranteed price for their 公平 traded coffees, the growers will not pay attentive to quality, and will be tempted to foist off whatever shoddy quality they wish on buyers.
Currently, such criticism appears to be baseless. My rather extensive cuppings of 公平 trade coffees suggest that they tend to be no better nor no worse in quality and character than a comparable range of conventionally traded coffees. Green coffee buyers always have the option of refusing to buy specific lots of 公平-trade coffees, and, to the degree that market pressures really do promote quality (an arguable assumption in itself), this mild pressure appears more than sufficient to focus 公平-trade farmers on the job at hand.
It is true that a coffee lover who buys only 公平-traded coffees may face limitations in choice. Most 公平-traded coffees are produced in Central and South America, with only a handful of 公平-trade options from the great origins of East 非洲 and the Pacific. But given the success of the 公平 trade movement, I expect to see more variety in coming years.