How To Check Your Coffee Is Sustainable

If you are a coffee lover you may be aware that not all coffee is equal in regards to taste as well as its ethical status. If you are rightly concerned about your cup of coffee's sustainable pedigree there are some things you need to consider. Let's have a look at how to check your coffee is sustainable.

What is sustainable coffee?

coffee picker

Sustainable coffee is coffee that provides a fair price for the farmer and his family as well as one that is grown and marketed for its sustainability to the environment. When you think that over 2 billion cups of coffee are made every day you can see how that could affect the environment if the process was not sustainable. 

Check the label

There are certain things to look for on the label of the coffee you buy. Coffee that is certified organic is grown without pesticides that can harm the environment. If coffee is labelled Fair Trade it means that the farmer is paid a fair price for the coffee, they have decent working conditions and there is local sustainabilityIf coffee is labelled certified by the Rainbow Alliance it has also been grown in sustainable ways and they say they build connections to create a better future for people and nature. 

Avoid the packaging if you can

coffee beans

I personally feel if you try and buy coffee beans and grind them yourself you get the freshest coffee and you can avoid the worst of the packaging like coffee pods. You can buy a coffee grinder relatively cheaply to grind coffee too.  If you have to buy hard coffee pods, the aluminium type, check if they can be recycled first and be sure to do this. Some of the soft style coffee pods are compostable so that is a definite preference, however, if you try and avoid unnecessary packaging then that's a better way to have your coffee.

Before you buy your coffee in packaging, check you can recycle it first, If you are buying your ground coffee in a jar, be sure to recycle the glass, and before you buy your coffee in a bag check you can recycle it first.  Also when you are buying your coffee without all the packaging then you are avoiding the higher prices too and the farmer doesn't have so many middlemen to get his cut. 

Look at the price

Something you may not know is that it can take between four and seven years for a coffee tree to produce its first harvest.

If the coffee is remarkably cheap then you can guess that the farmer won't be paid a reasonable price, and often the quality won't be there either. When farmers are paid a low rate they could be in the position to deforest the land so they can make more and not focus on quality instead. 

When you are out

coffee brewing
If you are having a coffee when you are out and about, firstly use a coffee shop that displays its eco-friendly credentials and uses Fair Trade or Rainbow Alliance coffee wherever possible. These are often the smaller independent coffee shops, so you are supporting a local business too.  Starbucks says their coffee is 99% sustainable but as with any claims or places big or small, do your own research to back up any claims, and I'm always wary of large organisations claiming ethical and sustainable status.

If you are buying a coffee when you are out there are some things you can do to help the environment. If you have to have a takeaway, take your own cup that can be reused if the coffee shop allows this. Or check if the coffee shop uses compostable cups if you are taking your coffee away. Sit in when you can and have your coffee in a china coffee cup or mug, it tastes better and you are avoiding a disposable container. 

Read up about sustainability

If you are interested in reading about sustainability in coffee production then are a global community committed to the future of coffee. They are committed to traceability and accountability so everyone is aware of the supply chain and work in partnership with their suppliers so everyone gets a fair price.

Tell me, have you thought about your coffee's production? Do you look for ethical and sustainable coffee?

*Collaborative post

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