How To Save the Earth, Coffee Farmers, and Your Health As You Savor Your Gourmet Coffee
Coffee farming is big business and it covers large swaths of the Earth. About twenty-five million people work in the coffee industry. The health of these people, and all of the people who live around coffee farming, depends upon the farming practices being utilized. The health of the planet as a whole is significantly affected by coffee.
To help the Earth and the farmers, programs such as Fair Trade Coffee were developed to keep the land free of harmful chemicals and to help farmers achieve a reasonable standard of living.
The increasing popularity of Organic Coffees shows that many people are concerned about healthy farming practices as well as their own health.
Due to the vast acreage that is farmed to supply the world's coffee, the industry's growth has resulted in loss of native habitat over wide areas. The new movements for Shade-Grown Coffee and Bird Friendly Coffee help preserve native habitat by ensuring that the coffee is grown amidst native trees.
Each of these types of coffee adheres to certain standards and there is overlap among them. For example, all Fair Trade coffee is organic, as is shade-grown coffee and bird-friendly coffee. By choosing to purchase these types of coffee it can have significant effects in helping to preserve native bird populations, some of which have been critically endangered in the past as a direct result of habitat loss due to massive coffee farming.
Each type of coffee lays out strict standards, so when you buy the product you will know exactly what you are getting. For example, all Fair Trade coffee abides by the Ten Standards of Fair Trade Coffee.
There are different agencies overseeing and regulating organic coffee. For example there is a distinction between Certified Organic Coffee and USDA Certified Organic Coffee.
Sustainable coffee farming practices preserve native forests and native species, and avoid exposing farmers as well as consumers to potentially harmful chemicals. By growing coffee among native trees and not polluting the land with year after year of chemical applications, we are going a long way to avoiding the mistakes of the past that have hurt the land and people.
While it may cost a bit more to purchase an environmentally and health-conscious coffee product, in many cases the price is very reasonable due to the increased competition among organic, Fair Trade, shade-grown and bird-friendly coffee producers.
Meanwhile you can be assured you are not contributing to exploitation of workers, and instead are helping to support safeguards against unfair labor practices as well as harmful farming practices.
Enjoying the Java
Once you get your Fair Trade, Organic, Bird-Friendly, Shade-Grown Gourmet Coffee, check out the Espresso Coffee Guide's section on coffee brewing to help you brew the perfect cup of fresh-roasted coffee.
Also peruse the comprehensive Coffee and Espresso Glossary and read about coffee's rich heritage in the World's Best History of Coffee.
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