Have you ever wondered what it takes to make that cup of Joe that you take every morning? Coffee may look like a simple drink, but it is a complex product, mainly due to its origins, roasting and other factors affecting its production. This is the reason for the wide range of coffees that you find in every store. Its complexity has even increased over the previous decade or so with the introduction of fair trade coffee.
Coffee that’s certified as a fair trade product is characterized as directly bought from its growers and usually more expensive than most regular coffees, generally because the growers make the effort of conforming to the strict conditions of fair labor practices, direct trade, community development and other terms of the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International or FLO.
Companies are granted FLO’s certification if their farms allow their workers to have freedom of association, provide fair wages and safe workplaces, and do not employ any child labor. Certified fair trade producers also do not need a middle man to do business with importers, since one of the opportunities opened to them by FLO is entering the global market. In addition, these select coffee companies need to put in their time and money in providing for various projects usually concerning social and business development.
One of the best-selling products of these growers is organic fair trade coffee. Aside from passing the requirements of FLO, it has also conformed to the rules of being organic, i. e., coffee grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. An independent agency usually verifies if the product was cultivated using organic methods and practices.
There is no evidence that organic coffee is healthier for its drinkers than non-organic coffee. Even those who support organic farming do not emphasize the said health threats to drinkers of chemical pesticides. This is because coffee beans undergo thorough fermenting, washing and, most of all, roasting in temperature beyond 400 deg F. However, growing coffee in this manner contributes much to the environment and to the health of the farmers.
Most coffees cultivated through this method are shade grown; therefore, its organic farming helps preserve forests in its various origins. It eventually promotes other environmental initiatives like minimizing soil erosion and preserving animal habitat, particularly that of birds. The birds, in turn, naturally fertilize the soil and perform pest control by eating insects living off coffee plants. Equally important is that the farm workers are spared from the harmful fumes of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.