Why choosing ethical coffee makes a difference in the world
With 3 out of 4 Australians drinking coffee daily, it’s safe to say the hot drink is an essential part of getting through most people’s day. However, the coffee you brew can impact people and the environment worldwide in ways you didn’t realise. Ensuring you know the quality of sources of your coffee can help better the industry and the world.
Battling climate change
When talking about sustainable coffee, typically, the term ‘shade grown’ is commonly used. This refers to coffee plants that are grown the traditional way under tree canopies. As coffee has become more industrialised, more farmers are growing coffee plants in direct sunlight. While this type of coffee plant does produce more beans, it is harsher on the environment and has also led to large-scale deforestation of precious rainforests.
If coffee is grown in the traditional method under trees, it will be more resistant to extreme weather such as droughts and hurricanes. Growing coffee in this manner also provides more habitat for native wildlife such as bird species that help reduce pests. Not to mention shade-grown coffee is known to taste much better than field-grown coffee.
By supporting smaller-scale farmers that use the traditional shade-grown method, you directly support agriculture that is environmentally friendly and helps plant biodiversity.
Keeping Small Farmers in the picture
Since coffee is one of the largest and industrialised crops globally, the competition is very intense. Many small farmers do not have the resources to store large amounts of beans which makes them vulnerable to fluctuating prices of coffee. Buying coffee sourced from smaller farms also helps keep money circulating through rural areas that often need it to stimulate their economies. Since standard coffee goes through many hands before it reaches the consumer, farmers typically only receive a small portion of the profits and are often disregarded.
Coffee that is ethically sourced is of higher quality
There are two main types of coffee: shade-grown and sun-grown. Shade-grown coffee typically has a rich, more unique flavour, and sun-grown coffee is known to be more bitter. Like other produce derived products, coffee has a better, more pronounced taste than the fresher it has been ground. This makes it harder to keep some blends fresh as they are located in remote areas of the world. Cheaper coffee typically will not have the same intense flavour as ethical coffee due to the length of time from the plant to your cup. Cheaper coffee, on average, passes through around seven hands before it reaches the consumer, sometimes taking many months. Ethical coffee prevents this by reducing the number of transfers keeping the beans as fresh as possible.
Your money impacts coffee standards
One of the biggest drivers of improving coffee standards has been consumers. Typically, when people become more educated about their food, suppliers must conform or risk losing profit. As people became more environmentally conscious and organic aware in the past years, food suppliers have had to set organic standards to ensure their products would meet the criteria and needs of a larger base of informed consumers.
People now start to ask questions about how and where their coffee has been produced. “Where is it sourced?” “What are the working conditions like?” “Is it sustainably grown?” With the need for transparency, fair trade providers have thrived as people know exactly where their coffee is from and the quality in how it’s produced. This leads to increasing buyer confidence and gaining repeat customers as they feel connected to the brand’s values and ethics.
The coffee you choose for your morning cup can impact lives and environments around the world. By choosing brands that align with fair-trade values and sustainable farming practices, you help the coffee industry become fairer and better for the environment. That can help give you some joy with your caffeine buzz during your next Monday morning!