I don’t know about you but this summer has been a scorcher in my neck of the woods! With little relief in sight we are all looking for something, anything, to cool us down. The last thing we would think to cool us off is a hot cup of coffee. But Thermal Ergonomic studies are proving this old wives tale as true. Ollie Jay, a researcher at University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics released his findings recently.

A Hot Drink Increases Sweating

Apparently a hot drink lowers the amount of heat you store by triggering an increased amount of sweating. Jay explains that although the drink is hotter than the body and raises the core temperature, the rise in temperature is far less than the counteracting sweat produced. Although sweat may be bothersome, when it evaporates from the skin, energy is absorbed into the air and cools the body. The more you sweat means more cooling upon evaporation. The key is that perspiration has to evaporate.

If It’s Hot and Humid, Drink an Iced Coffee

Jay cautions that in high humidity the hot drink will cause a negative reaction. Because the air is already holding high amounts of water content, the evaporation process is stalled. Drinking the hot drink will actually add to your discomfort as it raises your core temperature.

Personally, at that point, I’d reach for a decadent iced coffee made with fine gourmet coffee blends. The coffee will lower your core temperature and the indulgence will improve your mood.

Remember to Keep Hydrated

 Coffee is a diuretic and contributes to dehydration. Heat dehydrates. In order for hot or cold coffee to act as a coolant in these scorching hot days, remember to match your coffee intake with water for the maximum cooling effect. 

Don’t wait until the cooler weather arrives in a few months to restock your coffee cupboard! Head over to our online coffee store and place an order today. You’ll use the coffee beans for both hot and cold coffees during the remainder of our summer, I promise!

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Understanding the Fair Trade Coffee Market

by Carissa on August 11, 2014

Next to oil there is nothing as sought after as coffee.

Next to water there is no other drink as in demand as coffee.

So why are coffee producers struggling to stay in business when they have a market that is growing?

The Reality of Small Coffee Farms Around the World

Small family run coffee farms produce a great percentage of the specialty coffee around the world yet only make a cash income between $500 – $1000 per year. This is barely enough to sustain the coffee crop!

The rest of the coffee we enjoy is produced by large coffee plantations whose workers often toil under abysmal working conditions and are poorly paid. Coffee pickers in Guatemala for example, have a 100-pound quota to pick in order to get the minimum wage of less than $3 per day, those who don’t make quota, don’t even get the minimum wage.

How the Coffee Market Operates

As a top commodity on the world market, you would think there would be good money in the crop. But as you may learned in Economics 101 the commodities market is volatile. Trading prices are based on betting on the future of supply and demand and can fluctuate like the weather. While large coffee plantations and organizations can, for the most part, grow in this sort of economic climate, the small farmers and producers struggle to maintain their operations. Through the years many have failed and the unique specialty gourmet coffee they supply is often endangered of being lost forever.

According to The Global Exchange Organization

“Most small farmers sell directly to middlemen exporters who are commonly referred to as coyotes. These coyotes are known to take advantage of small farmers, paying them below market price for their harvests and keeping a high percentage for themselves. In contrast, large coffee estate owners usually process and export their own harvests that are sold at the prices set by the New York Coffee Exchange. However, extremely low wages ($2-3/day) and poor working conditions for farmworkers characterize coffee plantation jobs.”

Even with the ever increasing demand for gourmet and specialty coffee with coffee houses opening in every town, and the introduction of gourmet specialty blends to all levels of society that coffeehouse chains such as Starbucks have created, the small coffee producers had no protection against prices set by the extremely volatile commodities market. Something needed to be done to save the small coffee producers around the world.

The Answer: Fair Trade Coffee Beans

The Fair Trade Coffee Movement got started in the 1950′s as the Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) began promoting equitable and direct trade between Europe and the US with third world coffee producers.

Fair Trade Certification was the brainchild of Max Havelaar. In 1988 he proposed that the certification include the larger coffee roasters, who would guarantee to trade a portion of their total coffee volume on Fair Trade terms. The idea took off and there are now Fair Trade Certifications in 17 importing countries.

In 1997 the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) was created by the 17 importers to establish criteria and evaluate coffee roasters and farmers who had undergone the formal application process, and ultimately give approval to be certified as a Fair Trade Coffee. This certification carries requirements for both the coffee roaster and the coffee grower.

Fair Trade Coffee Certification for Roaster or Buyer

Any roaster/buyer who adheres to the following criterion can apply for the right to use the Fair Trade Labeling system:

1. Purchase price is fixed according to the FLO International guideline.

                Guaranteed floor price of $1.26/lb washed

                For Arabica, NY “C” Market + US$, .05/lb

                For Certified Organic, a premium of US$, .15/lb over the top FLO International price

2. Roaster/buyer to facilitate growers access to credit.

The roaster/buyer must facilitate the producers with access to credit for up 60% of the value of the contracted coffee at Fair Trade conditions, at regular international interest rates, from the beginning of the growing season to the shipment of the washed beans.

3. Roaster/buyer and Producer Contracts should be from 1 to 10 year duration.

Long term relationships between the buyers and the producers are key to maintaining the Fair Trade viability.

Fair Trade Coffee Certification for Producer

The FLO maintains a Coffee Producers Registry which represents democratically founded organizations for small farmers. The registry organizations are bound by the following terms:

  1. Members are small scale producers of coffee that are not dependent on hired labor or are managing their farm mainly with themselves and their family as the labour force.
  2. As an organization the members participate in the decision-making of general strategies, destiny or additional resources and any results from operating in the framework of the Fair Trade Certification.
  3. Secure management and administrative transparency through effective control by the members and its Board to minimize the risk of fraud and the provision of the necessary instruments to be able to act adequately in case of fraud.
  4. The organization adopts a philosophy based on the concept and practice of solidarity.
  5. Political, racial, religious or sexual discrimination is neither practiced nor tolerated.
  6. The organization is open to new members.
  7. The organization is independent of all political parties and guarantees against becoming an instrument of any political party or interest.
  8. The Organization shares the FLO International principles and general objectives inscribed in the Producer’s Register.

We Think That the Fair Trade Coffee Agreement Creates Better Coffee

The thing about Fair Trade is that the buyers and sellers are bound by fair and equitable agreements. Through the elimination of middlemen, the farmers can produce top quality coffee without the fear of financial ruin through credit that costs more than the coffee pays. Having access to credit, the small farmers can maintain and improve their crop and equipment, plus invest in developing sustainable coffee production.

The buyers are insured against the loss of production of coffee to farms being lost to alternate crops.  We, the consumer, get the benefit of helping the small farmers improve their lives and we get the incredibly delicious specialty coffees they produce.

Browse all of our Fair Trade coffee beans today and start supporting the small coffee farmers around the world. 

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Coffee – The World’s Most Loved Commodity

August 6, 2014

Like Oil, Gold, Silver and Diamonds, Coffee is a commodity. Actually, there is more demand for coffee than any other commodity. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day. Because of the demand, coffee growth, production and sales are analyzed, hedged and agonized over in every trading house around the […]

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The Top 10 Coffee Songs of All Time to Sip By

August 5, 2014

We all have our favorite coffee beans, coffee shops, coffee mugs and even coffee tables and coffee books, but what about our favorite coffee songs? I searched everywhere for the most popular songs about coffee and one name kept surfacing, Bob Marley, with his One Cup of Coffee. Although it wasn’t always ranked as the […]

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Tips for Healthy Coffee Consumption

July 28, 2014

Last week we published a blog post about new coffee and health studies that all indicate coffee can be good for you. Feeding off that article let’s continue the conversation on coffee and health.  Of course there are studies that show that caffeine can contribute to any number of ailments when taken in excess. And […]

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6 Recent Coffee Studies That Show Coffee is Good for You

July 22, 2014

There has been an argument raging for years about whether coffee is good or bad for you. Some point to the insomnia that many coffee drinkers suffer from. Others talk about the refreshing buzz they get from a morning and mid-afternoon coffee break. Some say coffee contributes to high blood pressures, while others argue that […]

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Enjoy a Cup of Coffee Trivia

July 22, 2014

When looking for interesting information about coffee we found some interesting facts worthy of the Trivial Pursuit game! Like did you know that Sanka was the first coffee brand to produce decaffeinated coffee? Or that there are coffee trees that naturally grow decaffeinated cherries? These “decaf trees” are very rare as caffeine usually acts as a coffee […]

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Proudly Introducing Our New Coffee House Blend!

July 8, 2014
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Take the top Central and South American coffee beans, add the perfect amount of Espresso coffee beans, and roast them all together to light to medium level. What do you get? Our customers speak of unparalleled fragrance and a flavor with subtle undertones of sweet caramel and chocolate and a smooth balanced finish. For a […]

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New Orleans Coffee – As Good for You As It Is To Drink

July 4, 2014
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In New Orleans there is a tradition of coffee that goes as far back as the settlement of the area by the French. Due to shortages during Civil War times, the resilient populace came up with a solution that has become ingrained into the culture that is Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. Once added to tide […]

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Our Chicory Coffee Blend Brings Mardi Gras to Your Home

June 30, 2014

Nothing says New Orleans like Mardi Gras and a fine cup of Gourmet Chicory Coffee! With its rich history, New Orleans culture was greatly influence by the French culture and their love of good coffee. During the hard economic times of the Civil War, locals began adding chicory root to their limited supply of coffee. […]

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