Organic coffee is a label/descriptive term that signifies the coffee is grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.
To guarantee this organic status the green coffee is typically certified by the proper international agency and/or other third-party agency, which allows roasters to label their roasted coffee as Organic with a proper paper trail.
Coffees can be grown organically however, without going through the expensive and time consuming process of becoming certified. While they aren't allowed to be marketed as "Organic" without certification, they can be labelled "Organically Grown".
Benefits of organic certification
Due to the higher costs involved with certification, and also the lower yields, organic coffee usually costs more than non-organic coffee, though many consumers appreciate the benefits not only to their own health but also to the health of the coffee farmers and the environment.
A number of other practices are taught along with the Organic certification process, including natural methods of pest management.
Bird Friendly and Shade-Grown Coffee
Explore the world of Bird Friendly Coffee and Shade-Grown Coffee - learn about the best coffee farming practices that help to preserve native songbird populations by farming coffee amidst sustainable native forests.
Ten Standards of Fair Trade
- Helping to create opportunities for economically-disadvantaged producers and reducing poverty by supporting marginalized producers including farmers and cooperatives and supporting community development.
- Ensuring accountability and transparency.
- Trading with concern for the social and economic well being of the participants as well as promoting sound environmental practices and methods.
- Ensure a fair price is paid.
- Ensuring adherence to UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and ensuring no forced labor is used.
- Ensuring gender equity, freedom of association, and no discrimination.
- Ensuring proper working conditions to promote health and safety, fair hours of employment, etc.
- Increasing positive impacts on marginalized producers including developing skills of employees and providing access to markets.
- Promoting Fair Trade and advocating for its objectives.
- Promoting environmentally-sustainable practices including maximizing use of raw materials, buying locally when possible, and minimizing energy consumption, preserving natural environments, and other sound practices.
We also describe and distinguish between Certified Organic Coffee and USDA Certified Organic Coffee.
USDA certified organic coffee
For coffee to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture it must be grown using at least 95% organic fertilizers and without the use of chemical pesticides.
After three consecutive coffee crops are harvested the coffee farmer may request an inspection by a USDA-certified agency to certify the coffee farm and the coffee beans as USDA Organic Coffee.
With the rapid increase in the appreciation for coffee in recent years there has also been a rise in consumer consciousness about the effects of coffee farming on the planet.
Drinking a great coffee that was produced in a sustainable native forest without the use of chemicals can bring a new appreciation to the gourmet coffee experience.