The word organic is thrown around a lot and it can get quite confusing when trying to fully understand what organic really means. Organic coffee is coffee grown by farmers use natural, renewable resources free of artificial chemicals to grow their crops. Organic farming also helps conserve the environment through traditional, native methods that have minimum impact.
How Do I Know If My Coffee Is Organic?
For a farmer to achieve organic status, standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) must be met. USDA standards state that to become certified organic, coffee must:
- Be produced on land that has been free of synthetic ingredients or additives for at least three years.
- Be grown in areas with sufficient buffer between the organic coffee and the nearest conventional crop.
- Be cultivated within a sustainable crop rotation plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil nutrients, and control for pests.
- Keep careful records detailing production techniques and yields and allow internal and external random inspections of the farm by the cooperative’s technical advisors and the certifying agency inspectors.
Once certified, at least 95% of beans produced must be organic.
Why Should I Choose Organic Coffee?
Organic coffee not only benefits the consumer but the farmer and the farming community as well.
Improve the Environment
Organic coffee farming maintains the health of the land, making the soil more fertile and improving the quality and quantity of the coffee produced year after year. Organic farming also eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers, which in turn, reduces the exposure of chemicals to the atmosphere, the local water supply, and the farmers.
Support Local Families
Generally, small families are the primary contributors to organic farming. This is because they are more likely to embrace and be more accustomed to traditional farming techniques and methods that naturally meet USDA requirements. By purchasing organic coffee, you are supporting these small, working families, ensuring their financial stability in small farming communities.
The Shade Growing Method
A popular traditional technique used by farmers is growing coffee in the shade. Shade-grown coffee is simply coffee that is grown under the natural canopy of trees. Growing coffee in the shade allows it to thrive in its natural environment, promoting natural pesticides such as birds and insects. The alternative, sun-grown coffee is damaging to the coffee, the farmer, and the environment due to the use of toxic chemicals and large amounts of deforestation required freeing up land. Shade-grown farming practices have been used for centuries; it is the most natural form of growing and should be adopted by small farmers and large corporations alike.
Fair-trade and Organic Coffee
It is a common misconception that fair-trade and organic coffees are synonymous, but that is not the case. Organic coffee and the USDA’s core values focus on the environment and the use of natural resources, whereas fair-trade aligns its ideals with working to help trade, farmers, and producers.
What is Fairtrade?
The organization Fair Trade focuses on giving farmers and producers’ better trade conditions and a fair price for the products they produce. Therefore, standards are set in place by Fairtrade International:
- The majority members of organizations must be smallholders who do not depend on hired workers. Also, profits must be equally distributed among all producers as well as allowing members to have a voice and a vote in decision-making processes.
- Workers have the right to join an independent union to negotiate working conditions and those working conditions are equitable for all workers.
- Salaries must be higher than the regional average or the minimum wage.
- Health and safety measures must be established.
- Transparency and fair prices when trading their product.
Purchasing Fairtrade coffee helps farmers fight poverty, provides continued growth and allows them to plan for the future.
Although Fairtrade coffee and organic coffee are different, they complement each other rather well. Small family farmers adopt organic growing techniques and small family farmers are the target of Fairtrade practices.
Nespresso Compatible Organic Coffee
Organic coffee isn’t hard to come by if you are shopping in the right place. Large organizations such as Nespresso tend to not offer an organic option in their product line, but don’t worry, this just means that you have to look elsewhere. There are an immeasurable amount of alternative brands of Nespresso compatible capsules, resulting in an overabundance of suitable Nespresso organic coffee to choose from.
One of the more favorable brands is Artizan Coffee. Artizan Coffee is the first company to receive both a USDA and Fairtrade certification for their line of Nespresso compatible capsules. They are strong advocates for supporting both the environment and the health and well-being of the farmers. If you want Nespresso organic capsules, Artizan coffee is a clear choice. Products such as their Sumatra: Kopepi Ketiara – Single Origin and Heavenly Project High-Altitude Blend have a rich flavor, smooth texture, and a bold taste, making it a must-have.