Over the past decade, the interest in organic food and drinks has skyrocketed. Organic products have consistently been at the forefront of supermarkets, cafes and health trends. But what does this mean for the coffee industry? And how does opting for organic coffee impact the world we live in?
Since founding our roastery back in 2011, we’ve learned a lot about the benefits of choosing organic, and we've have roasted our fair share of organic beans! Now in 2021, we're roasting more delicious, organic beans than ever before and today we're here to explain exactly why that is.
What is organic coffee?
The term organic means anything that is grown naturally, free from manmade, chemical fertilisers, additives - or any other chemicals that could potentially be harmful. When it comes to coffee grading, 95% of a producer's coffee beans must be grown under organic conditions for it to be advertised as organic. This means that each stage of the farming process from growing, fertilising, harvesting to processing must be as natural as possible to meet this 95% target.
The process of becoming a certified organic coffee producer is a lengthy and rigorous one - in fact, it can take up to two years to gain this certification. Once it has been achieved, the certification lasts one year before another inspection is carried out for this certification to be renewed. So what are the benefits of farming organic coffee, and why has there been such an increase in organic coffee farming?
The benefits of organic coffee
There are a whole host of benefits of farming organic coffee which often fall into the following categories:
Health - From a health perspective, organic coffee is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. As the coffee is grown in more natural environments, organic coffee drinkers avoid the consumption of any chemicals or additives which could potentially be damaging to our health.
Environmental - Chemical fertilisers and pesticides, traditionally used in coffee farming contribute to soil erosion and water pollution. Furthermore, farm workers often experience illness due to pesticide handling. Organic farms eliminate the use of these harmful chemicals meaning they’re much safer for the environment, surrounding wildlife and biodiversity.
Workers and sustainable farming - More often than not, farmers who produce certified organic coffee are fair trade compliant - this guarantees a higher pay rate to employees. By opting for organic, coffee lovers can support change that starts at the level of the coffee growing communities that will benefit people and the planet for generations to come.
Why we’re roasting more organic coffee than ever before
Way back, at the beginning of our coffee journey, we didn't purchase raw coffee that was organic, simply because it was organic. We have always purchased our coffee with two things in mind - ethics and flavour.
The ethical implications of organic certification are vast when considering sourcing from developing countries. Remember the lengthy certification process we mentioned earlier? This process can also be extremely expensive and often, the extra work and expense coffee producers have to go to to gain certification seems unjust when they have no funds to invest. Especially when their coffee is often already grown naturally, without pesticides or artificial chemicals in biodiverse rural areas.
The Western demand for certification is high and ever growing but in the past, organic coffees never used to make the grade on the Dear Green cupping table, and we would never roast or sell coffee that we aren’t 100% confident in. However, as time has passed and farms have developed, there are so many more options available to us, with flavours and ethics that shine. Now we’re proud to roast a whole host of tasty, organic coffees from excellent farms across the globe.
At Dear Green we have been proudly certified by the Organic Food Federation for a couple of years now and work with resellers Locavore and Green City Wholefoods to complete the chain to you! At the roastery we control a separation of 100% organically farmed coffee and now as the industry has moved on we can also guarantee its deliciousness!
The thing we love most about roasting organic coffee (aside from its flavour) is that the product is fully traceable. This direct trade link allows absolute transparency and integrity in our sourcing. Organic certification also provides a route to market for producers and a higher farm gate price that may not be achieved otherwise.
Sustainable coffee farming has proven to be the best solution to help coffee producers to make enough profit without causing harm to the environment. With global warming on the rise, and our environmental conditions worsening it is more important than ever to consider how our products are impacting the environment. After all, without a green planet, there would be no coffee, and who would want that?
Coffee that doesn’t cost the earth
Organic coffee not only tastes great, but it also represents something tangible that coffee lovers can do to lessen their impact on the environment and support sustainability in the coffee industry. As coffee roasters - and consumers ourselves, we want to enjoy coffee knowing that it has been grown in line with our values, and that our brew isn’t hurting others or the environment. Now that we’ve found organic coffees we love that can lessen the impact on the environment, we are fully committed to sourcing, roasting and drinking more of it in the next phase of our Dear Green journey!
Do you consider the impact of your coffee beans before purchasing? Thinking about switching to organic coffee? We’d love to know your thoughts!
If you’re on the lookout for some tasty beans to start you off, we recommend our Dear Green City Blend, 100% organic certified coffee from farm to cup. Or try our Colombia, from Narino, certified by Fudma and available from Locavore CIC.