Five Eco-Ethical Coffees To Jolt You Into 2009

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Picking a morning caffeine pick-up’s gotten confusing, what with the proliferation of certifications: organic, fair trade, Rain Forest Alliance, Utz Kapeh — not to mention all the self-certification schemes companies like Starbucks are trying to sell. To help you cut through the clutter, here are five eco-ethical coffees you can feel good about drinking:

Mirembe Kawomera “Delicious Peace” Coffee

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War = Costly, painful, and inefficient in every sense of the word. Thankfully, Thanksgiving Coffee‘s working with the Mirembe Kawomera co-op in Uganda — a co-op that unites Christian, Jewish, and Muslim coffee farmers towards a common economic goal, allowing those farmers to make a living wage through their work while promoting peace despite religious differences. Get 12 oz of coffee for $10.50 at Thanksgiving Coffee.

Cafe Feminino

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This organic, fair trade, and shade grown coffee comes via Cafe Feminino Foundation, a nonprofit that allows Peruvian women coffee producers to receive an extra 2 cents per pound over the fair trade price. Get yours at Grounds for Change, Caffe Ibis, and Cafe Humana at prices ranging from $9.95 – $10.95.

Equal Exchange Organic Love Buzz

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Buy a package of this combo of Latin American coffee beans, and Equal Exchange — a U.S. co-op that supports coffee co-ops in other countries — will donate 20 cents to its Small Farmers Green Planet Fund, which goes towards supporting reforestation, organic conversion, and environmental protection efforts in Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and South Africa. A 12 oz bag costs $9 at Equal Exchange.

Organic Kona Coffee

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Don’t like the food miles incurred by African coffees? Kona coffee’s the one coffee grown in the U.S. — in Hawaii, to be exact — which makes for fewer labor and environmental concerns, especially if you’re opting for the organic products. Since Kona blends are mixed with other types of coffee beans, opt for 100% Kona with organic certification, available from Kona Comfort ($25 an lb) Rooster Farms ($25.95 an lb), Kona Lea Plantation ($37 an lb) Mountain Thunder ($45.50 an lb), and other companies.

Cameron’s Coffee

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Cameron’s Coffee in Port Perry, Ontario, buys and sells solar dried coffee, in packages with labels printed with veggie based inks via a waterless printing system. Local customers can take advantage of Cameron’s reusable container program; faraway customers get their stuff delivered in a recycled bag padded with compostable coffee chaff. Plus, Cameron’s Coffee offers 7 different types of coffees that are double certified organic and fair trade. Each 300 gram bag costs $9.99 CND — which translates to about $12.47 USD per pound — at Cameron’s Coffee.

Of course, some locavorian diehards will shun all coffee because of its food miles. And even for the less self-righteous, many other considerations enter into choosing coffee, from habit and nostalgia to supporting a local coffee roaster to acidic levels for those with sensitive stomachs to gourmet taste issues for the foodies. Luckily, organic and fair trade coffees fare very well in taste tests, showing that eco-ethical awareness can taste good too. This list of five is by no means a complete list — but they’re your first jolt into thinking about your daily caffeine habit.

Comments

  1. says

    this is a great list of eco-friendly coffees. I now have some really good resources for coffee to feel good about. I never thought there could be solar assisted coffee but there is!

  2. says

    Hi, I don’t want to be picky but Utz Kapeh doesn’t exist anymore, since March 2008 it is known under the name UTZ CERTIFIED. Check the website for more details.

  3. Alex says

    Might want to check your currency conversion on this:

    “Each 300 gram bag costs $9.99 CND — which translates to about $12.47 USD “

  4. says

    Thanks Vanessa. Elena — Maybe I should’ve said just UTZ :)

    Alex — You missed the last part of the quote: $12.47 USD PER POUND. The conversion rate today’s about $12.37 USD, but I think your confusion has to do with the weight unit change, not the currency conversion.

  5. Rachel says

    Why does everyone come down so hard on Starbucks? They are one of the largest purchasers of Fair Trade Coffee. Certified Fair Trade coffee makes up less than 5% of the world’s coffee. It’s an extremely costly and lengthy process for the farmers, and most are worried about the higher profits later won’t make up for profits lost in the certification process. Also – the money goes to the farmers, not their pickers and mill workers. I encourage anyone interested in these “schemes” to research what Starbucks CAFE practices does for it’s farmers and their COMMUNITIES.

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