Coffee lovers are a picky bunch. We expect a specific taste, aroma, strength, and appeal to our favorite brews, while acclimating to a society which has become increasingly concerned with what we put into our bodies. Buzz words like “all-natural”, “organic”, and “sustainable” hold consumers attention, including where we are getting our coffee from. Eating well goes hand-in-hand with drinking well. Coffee at its core, while being a delightful elixir, is an international agricultural crop which is regulated from the bottom up. So what does it mean to have organic coffee vs conventional beans?
The biggest argument in favor of organic coffee is the use of natural, organic fertilizers. Substances like coffee pulp, manure, or compost are used to fertilize the soil without the heavy use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides etc. found on non-organic farms. These harmful chemicals travel with the plant from the soil to your cup, giving you a mouthful of it’s journey. An often overlooked part of this trek is what happens to these chemicals during a good rain, or after harvesting is completed. These chemical treatments can easily get washed away during a storm and end up in a region’s water supply. Synthetic fertilizers strip the soil of the natural fertile layers leaving an area eroded and contaminated.
Organic, real coffee loves shade. It loves dimly lit forests under tree cover to grow happily. Rich in antioxidants, beans grown in their natural environment produce a healthier, better tasting brew. However, coffee grown in densely forested areas are harder to harvest and tend to, and cannot be planted as densely. In order to match the global demand for the coffee, growers have developed coffee hybrids designed to flourish in the open sun. These hybrids can be tightly packed in the same amount of space, without the interference from natural fauna. Encouraging deforestation and the decline in biodiversity, it makes more sense that growing coffee the natural way is better for us and the planet.
This knowledge doesn’t apply to just the coffee crop. The world is beginning to understand the importance of not only eating better, but growing food the natural way produces a healthier result opposed to conventional methods. As a coffee shop, we strive to provide the highest quality product while maintain a reasonable priced variety of brews. It hasn’t been just America’s economy that’s struggling. The world’s stage has suffered for the past decade with economic strife and turmoil, while product and service prices continue to rise. The organic label almost always guarantees a higher price tag making it seem like eating well and doing well aren’t attainable for everyone. At Coffee Bene, we’ve tried to find a happy medium, allowing for anyone to afford quality coffee they can feel good about drinking.
All of our coffees are organic, grown and tended by local farmers in the regions of their origin. As a world, we seem to be moving in the right direction of supporting local farmers, and being more concerned with how our food is produced. We still have a long way to go, and we are happy to be part of the change.
For further reading:
Fiore, Sarah. “Organic vs Conventional Coffee.” Equal Exchange. 25 Apr. 2017, http://shop.equalexchange.coop/blog/organic-vs-conventional-coffee/
“Environmental Benefits of Organic Food Production.” Eostreorganics. Accessed 9 Jul. 2017, http://www.eostreorganics.co.uk/environmental-benefits-of-organic-food-production.html