"Milk masks an awful lot of poor coffee," claims Java Republic's David McKernan 5 years ago

"Milk masks an awful lot of poor coffee," claims Java Republic's David McKernan

David McKernan of Java Republic slams some of the world's biggest coffee retailers for how they treat farmers in Africa and Central America.

"Coffee is really horrific, in terms of what the farmer gets," explains David McKernan, who has grown Java Republic into one of Ireland's biggest coffee brands since founding the company in 1999.


Speaking to host Tadhg Enright on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, the 49-year-old businessman explained how his own company's ethics differ wildly from some of the industry's biggest players.

"They're not farmers. I call them slaves. They may get €80 or €90 a year, they're paid less than a dollar a day if they're picking coffee. Fair Trade is doing its best but I think it's gone stale and unfortunately there's no-one shouting about it."

McKernan - who recently travelled to Rwanda in order to ensure that those people who are sourcing Java Republic's coffee are being treated as fairly as possible - did single out Starbucks as a company that sources its coffee in the most ethical way possible.

He believes that Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ founder, would be an ideal candidate to run for President of the United States, given his philanthropic endeavours and how he treats his employees.


Listen to the full show here...

McKernan also revealed how "milk masks an awful lot of poor coffee," while praising anyone who gets involved in growing and sourcing speciality coffee and treating those farmers fairly.


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