As the coffee industry shifts toward fair trade practices and organic certification, more farmers are switching to organic and sustainable practices. But, what does that mean, and how does it affect the actual coffee? For answers to these questions and tips on where you can find gourmet organic coffee, continue reading.
What Does Organic Mean?
Organic coffee typically indicates it’s been certified by the USDA and meets their stringent growing and harvesting standards for organic certification. Therefore, coffee that is certified as organic has been farmed using methods that have a minimal impact on the environment and little to no reliance on chemical or unnatural methods.
Because coffee is harvested as a seed, buying organic has little-to-no health effects for the consumer. However, purchasing an organic coffee bean means you’re best gourmet coffee supporting environmentally friendly and sustainable farming methods.
Ethical or Fair Trade Purchasing
Fair trade certification targets the labor practices of the coffee farmer and manufacturer. By purchasing fair trade coffee, you’re supporting a trade standard that gives small-industry grower co-ops a standard price for their coffee.
While fair trade doesn’t carry the same environmental standards as organic certification, they do ban using GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and most pesticides.
Who Makes Organic Coffee?
The Green Mountain Coffee Company is based out of Vermont and is one of the country’s largest organic and fair trade coffee suppliers. They currently do the bulk of their business as a supplier for office and workplace coffee needs, including K-Cups and instant coffee machines.
As a roaster and supplier of completely organic, fair trade coffee, this Australian coffee roaster was awarded the organization Green Globe Award by the prestigious Rainforest Alliance.
They sell a variety of coffees and roasts while fulfilling their commitment to ethical environmental and social business practices.
Jim’s Organic Coffee makes a range of blends and roasts which are certified organic and fair trade. The company also sells a Rainforest blend that is shade grown and certified by the Rainforest Alliance. This implies the farming methods used to cultivate the coffee don’t destroy natural habitats or the existing rainforest ecosystem around the plantation.
Starbucks, a major coffee retailer all over the world, carries three forms of organic coffee. They stock their Shade Grown Mexican, Organic Serena Blend and their very own Organic Sumatra-Peru blend.