Coffee drinkers everywhere now have the option of forgoing their ordinary cup of
coffee and going “organic”. Coffee made
from organic coffee beans has advantages and is healthier for you than its
Organic coffee is created using beans that have been cultivated and harvested
without the use of chemical or synthetic
pesticides or herbicides, which can be harmful to both growers and consumers.
Because the yield of organic coffee is less
than with traditional coffee, this type of coffee tends to be more expensive
than regular coffee. In growing organic coffee,
emphasis is made on recycling, fair trade purchasing, composting, and soil
health, as well as on a healthy environment.
Coffee is certified organic using a third party certification organization; most
commonly, organic growers use the Organic
Crop Improvement Association. There is a cost involved, cutting into the
profits of the small producers that often make
this type of coffee. In addition, organic coffee is “shade grown”, which
reduces yield and also adds to the cost of this
type of coffee.
Most organic coffee is also considered “fair trade coffee” and a special
certification is required for that status. Fair
trade coffee is traded in such a way as to bypass the coffee trader, allowing
better profits to the producer, in general.
The third party certification organization that certifies fair trade coffee is
called TransFair USA.
Organic coffee traded using fair trade methods involves an agreement by coffee
importers and small farmers that says the
importers will purchase their organic coffee from smaller farmers listed in the
International Fair Trade Coffee Register.
Organic growers are guaranteed a minimum “fair trade price” for their coffee and
importers provide a certain amount of
credit to growers against future sales, keeping farmers out of debt. The middle
man is cut out of this process.
It is also important in organic coffee farming that the farming be sustainable.
While the definition of “sustainable”
varies, it basically means that the growth of the organic coffee is healthy for
the environment and the people who grow and
buy it. Sustainable organic farming doesn't destroy the land the product is
grown on and uses very little external energy
in the production of the organic product.
A sustainable organic farm is designed to give back to the land as much as it
receives from it. Non-renewable resources
are avoided and pollution in the farming process is minimized as much as
possible. Sustainable organic farming thinks of
the health and welfare of the employees as well. One example of using
sustainable farming is to reuse the organic coffee
husks as heating fuel rather than using petroleum or natural gas heating. New
trees are grown to make up for those used in
Sustainable organic coffee growing takes steps to avoid excess energy added to
the system. For example, a solar coffee
drying system is used instead of commercial coffee bean dryers. Water
consumption is minimized in sustainable organic
coffee growing and the water used is kept clean. Water from the coffee
fermentation tanks is never dumped in rivers or
lakes but is filtered naturally through the earth before being used for
Sustainable organic farms will spread organic fertilizer like composted coffee
pulp under and between the coffee trees.
Yields are increased and the mineral content in the soil is maximized. All in
all, organic coffee farming is safe, healthy
and good for the environment. Consumers can buy these products in cooperatives,
health food stores and some supermarkets.