What Does Organic Coffee Mean?

You may have heard that organic coffee is better than regular coffee. What just what does organic coffee mean? Organic.org tells us what organic means.

Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

As we noted in our article, Organic Coffee Certification,

The soil in which organic coffee is grown must have been verified as free from prohibited substances for at least three years. In addition there must be distinct boundaries between land on which organic coffee is grown and land where pesticides, herbicides, and prohibited chemical fertilizers are used. This guarantees that drift of substances sprayed or otherwise applied on adjacent land will not contaminate the organic plot of land. Organic coffee certification includes the adherence to a specific and verifiable plan for all practices and procedures from planting to crop maintenance, to harvest, de-husking, bagging, transport, roasting, packaging, and final transport. Along the way procedures must be in place at every step to insure that there is no contamination of the healthy organic coffee produced in pristine soil with regular coffee produced on soil exposed to herbicides, pesticides, and organic fertilizers.

Years ago in Australia health authorities tested regular coffee and found more than 130 impurities including residues of herbicides and pesticides and many other unwelcome ingredients. Drinking organic coffee means that you skip having all of those bad things in your cup. Coffee is good for you as it helps reduce the incidence of diabetes and various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions. Organic coffee does the same and you also get the skip the impurities that are all too often found in regular coffee. And besides being good for you organic coffee is good for the environment.

Organic Coffee and the Environment

The process of growing organic coffee as well as other organic produce is called sustainable agriculture. Organic coffee growing is sustainable coffee production.

Although organic coffee grown and certified by the USDA is the result of sustainable coffee production so is coffee that is UTZ certified or Rainforest Alliance certified.

Rainforest Alliance is an NGOP that works to conserve biodiversity. They seek to convince buyers to purchase what is good for the environment and good for small farmers. Their certified coffees are produced using good land use practices. Certified coffee farms meet a strict set of environmental standards including ecosystem preservation and minimal use of synthetic chemicals.

The UTZ Certified label tells you that the coffee came from a farm that employed sustainable agricultural practices, good environmental practices and efficient farm management. UTZ Certified label is that UTZ Certified coffee is traced from grower to roaster.

Before farmers learned to use crop rotation it was common for land to be “farmed out.” In the American Great Plains farmers rotate corn, soybeans and alfalfa on the same land. Because coffee is a perennial and not an annual crop farmers don’t change plants every year. But what they do is use mulch from dead plants and other organic natural fertilizers when needed to avoid polluting the water table with chemicals. In addition they commonly plant coffee among trees in a forest environment where the habitat is natural and self-sustaining.

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