Coffee With a Conscience

Go into any coffee shop today and you will be typically be faced with a large menu board of different specialty coffee drinks to suit your taste and pocket. Do you go for a regular latte or a strong and bracing ristretto? A standard cappuccino or an Americano? Perhaps some of the options you have not yet experienced.

One important factor however, that is often overlooked is consideration of how the coffee was sourced. Many coffee houses and restaurants today offer coffees that have been sourced from ethical sources, where care has been taken to ensure the third world farmers and their families have not been exploited, and that their basic human requirements including, health care, accommodation and schooling has been provided for.

In addition many such ‘ethical’ coffees are produced in a way that does not harm the environment and is farmed from sustainable sources, including water and wildlife conservation.

Each of these organisations have a slightly different slant on the subject and have their emphasis on different aspects of ethical drinks. This might be the livelihood of the farm-workers, care of the environment, traceability of supply, commitment to the future etc.

The number of such organisations promoting the ethics of sustainable farming is increasing all the time. How do you know which to use? Fairtrade certified, Rain forest Alliance, UTZ, Ethical Tea Partnership, The Cocoa Partnership, Max Havelaar or even bird friendly coffee!

In general you pay slightly more for a genuinely ethically sourced beverage, than the house coffee from ‘standard’ sources and the degree of premium varies. It is not just coffee of course, but tea, hot chocolate and many cold drinks are now promoting themselves as ‘ethically sourced’

Look out for the official logo of these organisations promoting ethical and sustainably sourced hot beverages and do your own due diligence. Perhaps take the time to Google the various organisations and decide which best suits your own views.

Another thing to take into account is what criteria is used for a given beverage ingredient to be approved. Fairtrade for example insist that 100% of the ingredients are sourced from Fairtrade approved official sources, but the Rain forest Alliance logo is allowed to be placed on packaging of products where only a minimum of 50% has been ethically sourced.

It can be confusing with so many ethical organsiations to choose from, but most of them do a good job of spreading awareness about these issues.

Make sure you always insist on ethically and sustainably produced coffee and other hot beverages and enjoy your drink with a clear conscience.

Nov 2nd, 2015 | Posted in Coffee
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