One of the main attractions of fair trade coffee is that the farmers receive enough return on their production to have a decent life, based on the local economy. For people concerned about the low wages associated with sweatshops and other types of organized labor in various countries around the world, choosing to purchase fair trade coffee simply takes the guess work out of supporting humane practices. Buying only fair trade products is one way to use consumer dollars to ensure that the small farmers producing the coffee beans see more of the actual purchase price.

Local cooperatives that help to market and distribute the coffee also tend to use part of the return to invest in the local community. Two of the most important benefits include competent medical attention and facilities, and the building of education facilities that help to ensure children and adults have access to educational opportunities within their own communities.

Environmentally conscious people are often attracted to fair trade coffee, as the small farmers in most of the cooperatives use organic material to nourish the soil and protect the coffee plants as the beans develop. The absence of harsh chemicals is claimed by some to produce a superior flavor, and also tends to be kinder to the environment in general.