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Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown...What Does It All Mean For Your Coffee?

Coffee is a staple in many pantries and morning routines. In fact, over 12 billion pounds of coffee are produced annually! This makes it more important than ever to make responsible choices when buying coffee. But with all the certifications available these days, it can be hard to figure out what they all mean. Here are 3 things you can look for to make sure your coffee is grown in best interests of people and the planet:

Organic: The Organic Certification ensures that no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers were used in the growth and production of the coffee. This also causes organic farms to emit less carbon than conventional coffee farms. Another bonus of organic coffee is that it tends to have more antioxidants to give you an extra boost! 

Fair Trade: The Fair Trade Certification means that a product adheres to a strict set of standards. Products are certified by Fair Trade USA which also certifies things like chocolate and sugar! When you see the Fair Trade stamp on your coffee that means it:

  • Was grown with safe working conditions
  • Promotes environmental protection
  • Promotes sustainable livelihoods
  • Helps community development funds

Shade-Grown: Historically, coffee plants have been grown under a canopy of trees varying in height which help protect the plants. With rising deforestation, this is not always possible which means more chemicals and fertilizers are needed to grow the crop. Shade-grown coffee is not only healthier, it also promotes biodiversity because the trees on coffee farms are protected for their use in preventing pests. In addition to plant biodiversity, shade-grown coffee farms mimic natural forests and are home to many other birds and animals which further increases the biodiversity of the site. 

Not only is coffee a delicious drink, it can also protect your liver, prevent disease, and has tons of antioxidants and nutrients. However, these benefits sometimes come at a cost. Coffee is a huge industry and has a large influence on working conditions and environmental prosperity. That's why it is more important to buy coffee that is grown with people and the planet in mind.