Updated: Jul 18, 2019
What Makes Coffee Organic?
Do you know that about three-quarters of all fair trade coffee is grown and produced organically?
The primary reason is that small family farmers are much more likely to embrace organic farming techniques and small family farmers are the farmers that are served by fair trade practices.
An organic farm allows no synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides to be used during the cultivation or production processes. If coffee is labeled “organic,” at least 95 percent of the beans must have been grown under organic conditions. An organic farm is managed as the working ecosystem it is, and farmers employ techniques such as composting, terracing, and natural pest control that are often produced on the farm. Most of these techniques are traditional farming methods passed down generation to generation and are more environmentally beneficial because they produce less waste and maintain the natural shade canopy of the trees. The organic standard is intended to assure the consumer that the product has no synthetic ingredients or additives, rather than showing that it was produced in an environmentally friendly way.
The Benefits of Organic Coffee
Organic farming makes the land healthier and the soil more fertile, which increases both quality and quantity over the years. Organic farming decreases the amount of chemicals released into the atmosphere and drinking water supply, which in turn decreases health and environmental risks. It also decreases farmers’ exposure to toxic chemicals. Often farmers who produce certified organic coffee are fair trade compliant which guarantees a higher pay rate to employees. Organic Arabica coffee beans (including the soil where it is grown) that is free from residues, chemicals and artificial fertilizers are certified three times to guarantee high quality to consumers.
Chemical-free products are healthier for the human body and contain all natural products. Organic issues related to the consumption of coffee are a bit different than with most other foods or beverages because most experts agree that the chemicals found on raw coffee are burned off during the roasting process. This means choosing organic coffee over conventional coffee is really a vote for the farmer’s health and the health of the environment in developing countries. 100% certified organic coffee contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed by the body for several health benefits such protection from cell damages and boosting the immune system. Pure organic caffeine in strong coffee acts as an energy booster and enhances proper functioning of the brain.
In addition to improving your health, choosing organic coffee may have environmental benefits. Organic products keep dangerous chemicals out of the environment and maintain the natural balance of local ecosystems. Unlike conventional coffee, organic coffee does not promote deforestation. In fact, it aids in the conservation of wildlife, birds, vegetation, and the prevention of soil erosion and diseases. Organic farming have many positive environmental practices such as recycling, composting and maintaining soil health through natural methods. Workers on organic farms are not exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. In addition, these farms are more environmentally friendly because they use fewer non-renewable resources, such as petroleum, than non-organic farms do. On organic farms, no chemicals leach into nearby soils or drinking water and none are carried in the air to nearby families or farms.
For the Social Justice Advocate
Organic coffee sells at a higher premium, adding to the farmer’s income and standard of living. Organic farming also protects the farmer and his community from unnecessary exposure to chemicals.
How does the coffee get Certified as Organic?
Organic coffee farms protect their crops from pests using natural methods. Coffee should also have careful records detailing production techniques and yields and allow internal and external random inspections of the farm by the cooperative’s technical advisers and the certifying agency’s inspectors. Various non-profit organizations and for-profit companies offer inspection services. Inspectors visit farms to confirm. A truly organic farm must be chemical-free for at least three years. Coffee should be cultivated within a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and control for pests. They must be far enough away from non-organic farms so their crops don’t even get a whiff of pesticides and they have to keep rotating crops to make sure the soil stays fertile. Organic coffee plants are grown in beautiful soil, free from chemicals and full of natural fertilizers that they love. Being aromatic, organic coffee plants are able to absorb more flavours from plants living around them. The fact they’re chemical-free means that you won’t be tasting anything man-made but simply pure coffee just as nature intended. Organic coffee is full of beautiful antioxidants that actually prevent cancer and inflammation in your body. It’s also a great stress reliever, especially on those busy mornings.
What are the labor standards?
The organic standard is not aimed at improving working conditions in the coffee-producing countries, but it helps. Pesticides used on coffee farms really don’t make it to the consumer. What little residue isn’t removed in the processing of the coffee beans is burned off by roasting. The use of pesticides and herbicides is a serious health concern for the workers, and one that’s not an issue with organic coffee.
The Power of Choosing Organic
When you choose coffee that is grown and produced in environmentally responsible ways, you are helping to sustain our planet by better preserving and maintaining the natural balance in our ecosystem. You are making a statement that the preservation of our environment is an important factor in all your decisions, even in the coffee you drink. You are helping the small farmers’ approach to sustainable farming practices become standard practice, one farm at a time. You are making a difference, not only in your health, but in the health and standard of living of coffee farmers, their families, and their communities all around the globe. You are increasing the supply and demand of organic alternatives and letting the world know that chemical-free alternatives are a better option.
Remember, we can change the world, one great cup of coffee at a time!