There are many certifications in today’s coffee world, some of the most prominent being Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance. These certifications often appear as buzzwords in advertising and marketing, with many people not knowing exactly what they mean, other than that they are “more ethical”. These certifications cover economic, social and environmental concerns in the field of coffee production.
Recently, we added the deliciously malty Honduras Finca Altos Organic to our store, but what does the organic certification mean?
Meeting demands for any agricultural product is difficult. So, over time, coffee producers have developed ways to increase yields and maximise production. This greater production, however, sometimes comes at the cost of crop quality and environmental health. Many conventional coffees are treated with fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides…the list goes on. These can be hazardous to both the farmers using these treatments and the surrounding environment.
Organic certified coffees are not treated with any unnatural chemicals. The coffee cherry pulp removed before the fermentation process is often used as a natural fertilizer, restoring macro nutrients (potassium, phosphorous, nitrogen) to the soil. Organic farms also use manure and compost, as well as having lower carbon emissions and increased carbon sequestration compared to non-organic farms. Organic farms also tend to be more environmentally friendly, having less of an impact on surrounding plant and wildlife both in present day and years to come. This means that natural pest-deterrents like birds and lizards make the use of pesticides less essential.
The use of organic practices coupled with environmentally responsible farming can lead to less need for harmful and damaging chemicals in coffee growing. These organic farms often grow coffee the natural way, under shade trees with minimal impact to local biodiversity – not only is it more responsible, the coffee often also tastes better to boot!
Try our organic Honduras Finca Altos coffee now or at Cup North this weekend!