Have you caught the eco-friendly fever? If you are trying to live your life in a more eco-friendly way here are some ways you can turn your coffee habit more “eco” friendly.
Sustainable Coffee Beans
There isn’t an official label or title for coffee beans that promote sustainability of resources (both natural resources and human resources) but both Organic and Fair Trade coffee beans are grown in a more sustainable manner than regular beans. If you are looking to support sustainability consider choosing Organic or Fair Trade. Often times you don’t have to choose one of the other – a lot of coffees are certified both Organic and Fair Trade.
Organic coffee beans are grown and processed without the use of chemicals. This includes pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Some people choose organic beans because they feel they are healthier and don’t want to consume any unnecessary chemicals. Others choose organic coffee beans because they can taste the difference. All coffee beans, like any other food item, must be certified organic by a third party … Ours are certified by the USDA.
An interesting thing to note with organic coffee beans is that at many small coffee plantations the coffee beans are grown and harvested in an organic friendly manner even though they may not be certified organic. Many small poor coffee farmers don’t have access to fertilizers or other chemicals.
Fair Trade Coffee Beans
The fair trade designation has more to do with sustainable development within the community. The Fair Trade designation has several strict standards that must be met including fair labor conditions, direct trade and community development. If you want to make sure that your purchase of coffee beans support the locals living in foreign countries such as Bolivia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru then choose Fair Trade.
Cooperative Coffee Beans
Coffee Cooperatives exist around the world. Cooperatives are groups of independent local coffee farmers who bring their crops to a shared milling facility and blend their beans together. The coffee is milled and sold as one crop. Cooperatives focus on strong production values and high quality coffees. All Fair Trade coffees come from Cooperatives as do most organic coffees.
Shade Grown Coffee Beans
Shade grown is a traditional method of growing coffee beans under a canopy of trees. Shade growth is known as the natural way of growing coffee beans as original crops were not able to tolerate sunlight but instead thrived being protected under a canopy. Today, hybrid coffee plants can withstand direct sunlight and can generate a bigger crop per acre. What is lost in yield by choosing Shade Grown methods is definitely made up for in taste and cup. Read more about our El Salvador Cuzcachapa coffee beans grown by over 1300 members of the Cooperative Cuzcachapa – they’re also organic!
Rare Coffee Beans
Often the word rare is used to describe coffee beans – but what does this mean? Rare can mean that the coffee beans came from a small crop, are only available for a limited time, that they are hand-picked and harvested or that they are grown at high elevations. From time to time we feature rare coffee beans on our site. You will have to move fast through because once the beans are gone they can’t be restocked.
Estate Coffee Beans
You will also see gourmet coffees labeled as “Estate”. Estate coffees are grown, processed and packaged at one location. Estate coffees are very specific and their flavors reflect the soil, climate and any unique processing methods at the location. We offer Jamaican Blue Mountain Estate and Kona Estate coffee beans.