Coffee is consumed by almost everyone on the planet. Every corner has a Starbucks or independent coffee shop, and the supermarket aisles are packed with countless bags of whole and ground coffee from a wide array of roasters and producers. Many of use enjoy our morning cup without ever considering the consequences or impact that this delicious and caffeinated beverage may have on the planet.
Coffee is produced in over 60 countries around the word and still grown mostly by small families. However, these are no small scale operations All of these farms add up to over 100 million acres globally. And as coffee has become more popular, it has forced prices to drop and a shift in production methods toward less sustainable practices. Nowadays, coffee production utilizes intense monocultures that require large inputs of fertilizer and pesticides which bring about a loss in biodiversity and quickly deplete the land.
If you love coffee as much as we do, it’s important that you purchases ethically grown coffee. Here a short list of things to looks for when selecting your beans.
It’s important to note that because these certifications can be quite costly, not all sustainably produced coffees carry them. At any rate, here are a few to consider:
Coffee that is certified as Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is grown under the most strict standards that are out there. If you see this seal, you can rest assured that the coffee was grown with a dedication to biodiversity and sustainability.
When you see a coffee that has the Organic certification, this means that all of the chemicals used in the growing have been lowered or removed entirely. While not always the case, coffee that carries this seal has usually been grown with shade cover.
The final certification is Rainforest Alliance. While a good indicator of a quality bean, the requirements are a little funny. Technically speaking, only 30% of the coffee needs to be certified to promote using this seal. Watch out for large companies like Yuban using this seal, but only have a small percentage of their bean sustainably produced. While it’s good that they buy some, it’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend them at this time.
Protecting the earth is important, and there are ways we can do it in our everyday life. If you want to learn more about sustainably produced coffee, you can check out this list of eco-conscious coffee and food producers.