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
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.
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
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
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 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.