How to Pick an Organic Coffee Brand

Coffee has many health benefits besides being a great way to start the day. Healthy organic coffee is preferable because of the reduction in impurities obtained by a purely organic food chain.

Healthy organic coffee has been around for a long, long time. Unfortunately in the modern era the use of pesticides and herbicides has entered the picture in growing many crops, including otherwise healthy organic coffee. Although non-organic contaminants do not necessarily reduce the beneficial health effects of a healthy cup of organic coffee the non-organic contaminants cause problems of their own.

So, you decide to drink only organic coffee. But which brands can you find and which should you buy? Our oft stated preference is for Colombian organic coffee brands but there are lots of great organic coffees, especially in the Americas from Mexico to Brazil.

Colombian coffee is widely acclaimed as some of the best coffee in the world. But what about Colombian organic coffee brands? Any coffee grown in Colombia qualifies for Juan Valdez designation, meaning that the Colombian Coffee Growers Association certifies it as 100% Colombian. Coffee from Colombia is good and healthy organic coffee from Colombia is excellent. Think of some of the best organic coffee in the world and think of Juan Valdez, certified and Colombian, organic coffee from the Colombian Cafetero.

The first step in how to pick an organic coffee brand is to make sure that it is organic. There are three reliable seals of authenticity that you should look for, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ.

USDA

USDA organic coffee is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture or one of its designees.

The fact that coffee is USDA organic coffee tells us that sustainable agricultural practices were used and that the organic coffee is free of many of the pesticide, herbicide, and synthetic fertilizer residues that can be found on regular coffee products.

An issue with USDA certification is that the USDA does not help a small coffee farmer find a market for his more-valuable product. Thus many small grower get certified by the USDA, never make any more money, and spend more on raising the crop and adhering to the food chain requirements for organic coffee. How to pick an organic coffee brand is often easier with UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.

UTZ

UTZ certified coffee

stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment. Through the UTZ-program farmers grow better crops, generate more income and create better opportunities while safeguarding the environment and securing the earth’s natural resources.

UTZ not only certifies farmers but also teaches them and provides a supply chain to which they can sell their coffee.

Rainforest Alliance

The process of getting certified by Rainforest Alliance is similar to getting UTZ Certified.

Growers start by achieving partial success and grow into the eventual requirements. Rainforest Alliance requires that coffee growers meet half of the criteria for any given area of concern to start with and meet eighty percent of requirements overall. These criteria include ecosystem preservation, safety of wild animals, watershed conservation, fair hiring and labor practices, appropriate safety measures for workers, and strict adherence to agrochemical use standards. An additional feature of this program is the prohibition of genetically modified crops.

Likewise how to pick an organic coffee brand is to look for Rainforest Alliance, UTZ or USDA Certified on the label.


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