If you like your morning cup of joe but want to be kinder to the environment (like me!) then certified organic coffee beans may be an option for you. Organic coffee is a healthy and natural alternative to conventionally grown coffee beans. Next to oil, coffee is the second-biggest industry in the world, contributing over $70 billion to the worldwide economy. The impact is environmental as well; by choosing organically grown coffee beans, you can have a great cup of coffee while minimizing your ecological footprint.
More and more people these days are demanding organic products, and coffee is no exception. Chains like Starbucks are making the switch to coffees from more environmentally-friendly suppliers. This in turn is forcing coffee producers to change the way they’re growing their beans- in places like Colombia and Costa Rica, organic growing practices have reduced erosion, waterway pollution, and rainforest loss. Conventional coffee growers are the single biggest users of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. By choosing certified organic coffee, you’re safeguarding your own health and that of the Earth.
If you’re like me, you like to stay on top of the latest health and fitness news. Coffee has long been thought of as a sort of health tonic- it is believed to reduce the risk of colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. To get the full health benefits, you should choose certified organic coffee- many regular coffees are grown with pesticides that can cause cancer and a host of other problems.
To be certified organic, a coffee has to be grown under strict standards, meaning that it must be fully free of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. The coffee farming methods must be environmentally friendly, and the beans themselves must not be genetically altered in any way. A lot of coffee vendors have jumped on the organic bandwagon- after all, the word “organic” can boost sales. To assure that you’re getting the real deal, you have to be a label reader, and look for wording that says “certified organic” or something similar:
- USDA National Organic Program
- Global Organic Textile Standards
- Organic Crop Improvement Association
If you aren’t certain about the organic status of your coffee, you can go to the Organic Trade Association’s website for a list of organic coffee sellers and suppliers. Next time you take a trip to the supermarket or go to the coffee shop, look for the certified organic label- you’ll be getting a tasty (and eco-friendly) cup of java!