Starbucks Shade Grown Coffee – Intro

Starbucks has been a favorite morning stop for millions of people since they opened their first store in 1971. Their famous coffees, frappes, espresso and other drinks start with high-quality coffee beans and other ingredients.

Recently, beginning in 2006, Starbucks decided to buy only coffee that has been grown organically using earth-friendly farming practices. Their coffee can be bought in their stores or in the coffee section of your local supermarket.

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Starbucks Gourmet Coffee – Intro

The alarm clock rings. It’s six a.m. We are too tired to make a pot of coffee but we know that Starbuck’s or some other major chain will make it better than we can and heat up a bagel for just a few dollars more. We pay the cashier and we are on our way to work without a second thought about it.

This is the scenario of millions of American’s daily, and I say so nonjudgmental I did it for years. Why did I stop?

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High Organic Coffee Prices

High organic coffee prices are unlikely to deter serious coffee drinkers. Coffee prices in general are at a 34 year high for average composite coffee at $2.31 a pound, up from $1.12 a pound just two years ago in April of 2009. Organic coffee which commands a premium is priced higher still. The issue for coffee in general is not one of low supply as total coffee exports from April 2010 to March 2011 were 101 million bags, the highest yearly total ever recorded. Factors such as frost in coffee growing areas of Brazil, the world’s largest producer, contributed to the high coffee prices and high organic coffee prices. The high prices of coffee, in general, has encouraged exporting countries to empty warehouses and increase exports. However, it takes up to 12 years to mature and produce coffee beans so there is not an immediate ability of most nations to increase production. Colombia and Brazil, however, have been hit by torrential rains due to el Niño which has reduced production by roughly 30%. When the climate allows in these areas both Colombia and Brazil may be able to pick up their production and help drive coffee prices down. Part of the high cost of coffee as well as high organic coffee prices is also because of the high cost of fuel. Rising oil prices raise the cost of transportation and also of synthetic fertilizers. The high cost of fertilizers promises to force the use of more sustainable practices such as those used to produce healthy organic coffee. In addition the use of more sustainable practices will help force growers to care for trees in such a way that they will produce longer. Despite the high price of coffee and high organic coffee prices veteran coffee drinkers are not expected to neglect their favorite brands of healthy organic coffee.

Not only is organic coffee attractive because of its aroma and flavor but because of its relative lack of the impurities found in a standard cup of regular coffee. In addition organic coffee antioxidants are an attractive benefit in that your steaming cup of organic coffee has many health benefits such as the fact that more organic coffee can lead to less diabetes, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Thus high organic coffee prices are not going to stop those serious about their organic coffee from drinking the coffee of their choice.

Historically coffee prices fluctuate with demand and supply. Weather conditions such as El Niño make planting, harvesting and even crop survival difficult in mountainous regions such as those used for coffee in Colombia and Brazil. As coffee becomes more popular and organic coffee, especially, reaches new coffee drinkers it is unlikely that coffee consumption will go down. The limiting factor will be supply and the factor driving prices will be the same. The problem for the organic coffee grower is that he already sells his pure coffee product at a premium. The facts about organic coffee are that it costs more, in the short term, to use sustainable practices in growing, harvesting, and processing organic coffee. Although long term this pays off it does not help short term cash flow during times of high organic coffee prices.

Dunkin Donuts Organic Coffee – Intro

People love their coffee. Some people can’t go through an entire day without it, and some people can’t go through half a day without it. Coffee provides an instant burst of energy for those who need it, and caffeine is a stimulant of the body and the mind.

Two of the most popular brands in the nation are Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. In bigger cities, you can’t go a few blocks without seeing one of the two and there are branches of each present in both towns as well. Some people swear by Starbucks and some people swear by Dunkin Donuts. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each in order to determine whose is better.

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Facts about Organic Coffee

What are the facts about organic coffee? What does certification mean? Just how much coffee that is sold as organic? Where do they grow organic coffee? How big is the world market for organic coffee? What organic coffee products are available to the consumer? Healthy organic coffee is a great way to start the day. It is grown, harvested, roasted, transported, and stored in such a way that it does not contain many of the impurities normally found in regular coffee.

The production related facts about organic coffee are that growing organic coffee has a low environmental impact. Sustainable agricultural techniques used in growing organic coffee preserve organic coffee antioxidants which are responsible for so many of the healthy aspects of organic coffee. At the same time the return to sustainable agricultural techniques reduces the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers to a bare minimum. Organic coffee certification by responsible third parties guarantees that the coffee you drink has been grown, processed, stored, and transported according to organic coffee industry standards. Certification is according to US Department of Agriculture standards for organic production. These standards include having organic plots separated from standard coffee production plots by sufficient space so that sprays, runoff, and other means of cross contamination do not pass from regular coffee production areas to those used for organic coffee production.

Organic coffee is a healthy product. Recent research shows, for example, that more organic coffee can lead to less diabetes, a reduction in colon cancer risk, and less frequent incidence of lethal prostate cancer. These are documented effects of coffee consumption as reported in the medical literature. In this regard the numbers for coffee consumption are interesting. Sales of organic coffee rose at roughly 29% a year between 2000 and 2008, the last years for which comprehensive data is available. In the same period roughly 85% of global sales were to the USA. Regarding the potential for organic coffee consumption to reduce the risk of diabetes, there are more than 20 people in the USA with Type II diabetes, the more prevalent type of the disease. The research data indicate that drinking four cups of coffee a day in associated with just less than half the usual risk of Type II diabetes than currently seen. This would be a reduction of 10 million cases if organic coffee consumption were general at the required amount throughout the population. These facts about organic coffee are compelling and documented.

The facts about organic coffee include its wide spread production. Forty nations contribute to worldwide organic coffee production. The leading organic coffee producers in the world are Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru. However, the list includes Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, the Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timore-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Tanzania, the United States in Hawaii, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zambia. There are many easy to find organic coffee brands with caffeinated, decaf, and instant being available. In addition the coffee aficionado can find organic coffee ice cream, sodas, hard candies, and organic chocolate covered organic coffee beans! These are some of the facts about organic coffee.

Starbucks Organic Coffee – Intro

The sight of a bustling Starbucks in the morning, drive-through lines ten cars deep, people inside tapping their toes impatiently as the espresso machines whir, is enough to overwhelm even the most advanced coffee drinker. When it’s finally your turn at the counter, you freeze; there are just too many options, and the lady behind you is getting pushy! Ordering coffee at Starbucks can be challenging, however, knowing the lingo and understanding your basic options will make you more comfortable when that barista finally takes your order.

First, we must break down the Starbucks menu into groups to help categorize available drinks. To first separate the beverages, we should look at what coffee drinkers really care about…is there caffeine in it, or not? While most of us know that any coffee drink can be ordered with decaf coffee or espresso, some people fail to realize that Starbucks offers drinks that actually have no coffee or coffee products in them. While this is good for children or people who do not like coffee, a Starbucks novice who really wants a coffee drink may order a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino not realizing that it’s just vanilla beans and cream mixed with ice! Coffee products are: brewed coffees, iced and hot espresso drinks such as cappuccinos, mochas, lattes, and macchiatos, and frappuccino light or regular blended coffees. Tea products will also have caffeine, including chai tea which is commonly made into a chai tea latte. Products offering no coffee are: flavored hot chocolate drinks, any crème drink such as the vanilla crème or pumpkin spice crème, frappuccino juice blends, and frappuccino crème drinks as well. Now, many of these names sound similar, so be sure to read the menu carefully if you are confused about a pumpkin spice crème versus a pumpkin spice latte (the latte is the one with the espresso!).

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Organic Coffee Creamer

Healthy organic coffee is a great way to start your day. But, if you like a little of the white stuff in your coffee shouldn’t there be organic coffee creamer too? It is possible to use organic cream derived from organic milk. Organic milk comes from cows that have been fed organic feed, have not been given synthetic hormones, and have not received any of a specified list of proscribed medications. The cows are also housed in pens with sufficient space. Organic coffee creamer, on the other hand, is derived from vegetable oils. In this case the specific vegetable oils must pass certification as organic. Organic soybeans, for example, are grown without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. In the USA roughly a hundred thousand acres are planted each year, half in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. There are a large number of vegetable oils available and used for production of coffee creamer. In each case the product must be certified to have been grown, harvested, processed, and stored in such a way as to avoid contamination with non organic crops of the same type.

Disease control on crops used to produce the constituents for organic coffee creamer must be by natural means and not include artificial chemicals. Examples, for soy beans, include planting rows wider apart. This reduces crop yield but allows plants to dry faster so that white mold infection does not occur. Likewise fertilizers may not be synthetic. So called green manure is used. This is a previous crop that has been tilled back into the soil to decompose. Composts are common as well. Livestock manures are useful and excellent nitrogen sources. Other sources of minerals include limestone, rock phosphates, and gypsum. The coffee drinker interested in organic coffee antioxidants is not especially interested the farming details required for producing organic coffee creamer. Thus he will rely upon certification. A certified organic product will have been grown or raised in accordance with a set of standards that guarantees the consumer a product free of many of the contaminants found in non organic foods.

We typically drink organic coffee because of its taste, freedom from impurities, and the sustainable practices used in raising organic coffee. However, there are a number of health benefits such as the fact more organic coffee can lead to less diabetes, a reduction in colon cancer risk, and fewer cases of advanced prostate cancer in coffee drinkers. These effects are largely because of the antioxidants in coffee. The coffee drinker interested in these benefits should be aware that the calcium in dairy products has been shown to bind to and render inactive numerous antioxidants. Thus the use of organic coffee creamer derived from vegetable fats has the advantage of not containing calcium and not negating some of the health effects of healthy organic coffee. Organic coffee creamers are available where organic coffee is sold. These products are commonly available in Kosher, vegan, and gluten free varieties. Using organic coffee creamer the consumer retains the benefits of organic coffee while adding a little so-called cream.

Organic Coffee Certification

Just what is organic coffee certification and how does organic coffee certification insure the bona fid cup of organic coffee? Organic coffee differs from regular coffee in several aspects. 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.

Organic coffee certification guarantees that the consumer is drinking organic coffee, coffee uncontaminated by unwanted substances. Organic coffee certification also drives up the cost of a cup of coffee. The problem for a small coffee grower is that some organic practices can be more costly than conventional practices. For example, the labor cost of composting may be more than the cost of buying conventional, albeit prohibited, fertilizers. If the coffee farmer cannot obtain a sufficiently high price for his crop his is unable to continue the sustainable farming practices necessary to produce organic coffee. Thus the ability of the consumer to obtain organic coffee antioxidants and other healthy ingredients depends upon the willingness of the consumer to pay for the higher quality coffee available through organic growing practices and organic coffee certification.

Sustainable practices commonly include crop rotation. However, many crops are not amenable to planting on the steep hillsides commonly used to grow coffee. Thus it is common to plant ground cover between rows of coffee also to plant trees like plantain to secure the soil and prevent erosion. Organic coffee certification requires that the coffee planter use such practices to preserve and reconstitute the soil. Because it is typically not possible to plant other crops in rotation with coffee, there is the problem of soil depletion. Thus organic coffee certification allows that certain commercial fertilizers may be used. However, these fertilizers must come from an approved list. Then they must be used as specified. Certification usually requires that the planter follow a written plan and document procedures and results along the way. Pest control for organic coffee growing is commonly through the introduction of predators and parasites that are natural enemies of the pests that attack coffee plants. As with fertilizers there are non-synthetic substances that may be allowed for pest control but they must come from an approved list and their use must be documented. In end of the production chain handling must be according to approved standards or the grower loses his organic coffee certification. This includes having containers and machinery that is not contaminated. When all is said and done more organic coffee can lead to less diabetes, a reduced risk of colon cancer, and a reduction in prostate cancer risk, all with fewer impurities than with regular coffee.

Easy to Find Organic Coffee Brands

There are many easy to find organic coffee brands. These excellent coffees are also commonly shade grown and fair trade coffees. A healthy organic coffee is grown without pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers. These coffees are grown with sustainable agricultural practices having a lighter touch on the environment than the practices of a regular coffee plantation. The benefits of many easy to find organic coffee brands are that the coffee does not contain many of the pollutants found in regular coffee. Many believe that the taste of organic coffees is superior. And, recent scientific evidence points to a number of surprising health benefits derived from drinking organic coffee. These benefits include reductions in the incidence of diabetes, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. So, where are these easy to find organic coffee brands?

Two easy to find organic coffee brands are at Whole Foods and at Sam’s Club or Wal-Mart. Marques de Paiva Organic Whole Bean Coffee is grown in Brazil. This coffee comes in foil bags of 10 and 40 ounces. It even is available as a decaffeinated organic coffee. This is an easy to find and very good organic coffee. Whole Foods has an organic whole bean coffee as well as Allegro Coffee Company organic coffee. The company provides customers with a Fair Trade Guarantee specifying that producers are better paid for their product than for regular coffee. Other easy to find organic coffee brands include Caffe Ibis, Café de Chiapas, Elan Organic Coffees, Equator, Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, Green Mountain Coffee, S&D coffee, and Sun Coffee Roasters. These later brands are easy to find organic coffee brands on the internet and, typically, in smaller coffee conscious stores. In general organic coffees are considered healthier than regular coffee because of the care given to avoid artificial and often dangerous contaminants such as pesticides and herbicides. In addition organic coffee antioxidants give the drinker of organic coffee several health benefits.

All of the above listed easy to find organic coffee brands contain the antioxidants so beneficial to health. A primary antioxidant in coffee is trigonelline. This antioxidant breaks down partially into another antioxidant, methylpyridium, during the organic coffee roasting process. Methylpyridium in turn raises the levels of phase II enzymes in the human body and phase II enzymes are believed to help prevent the development of colon cancer. Trigonelline is found is other foods, such as blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries as well as artichokes, ground cloves, pecans, and walnuts. However, the amounts are substantially less that the amount found in coffee. And, it is the roasting process of organic coffee that leads to the production of methylpyridium, the antioxidant credited with raising the levels of phase II enzymes. Also Americans drink a lot of organic coffee. Thus it is the coffee that appears to be responsible for providing protection against the development of colon cancer. It appears that more organic coffee can lead to less colon cancer when drinking easy to find organic coffee brands.

Organic Coffee for Your Health and Organic Coffee for the Environment

When buying coffee think of organic coffee for your health and organic coffee for the environment. Organic coffee is the green solution to a good cup of java. In order for coffee to be sold as organic coffee it needs to be certified as organic coffee. It is grown without using herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers. Organic coffee is grown using time honored farming techniques which sadly went by the way side in the modern era. With an increasing interest in and concern for our health and the health of the environment the producers of many crops, including coffee, are returning to organic means or producing their crops. Organic coffee planters typically use sustainable techniques such as composting to produce natural fertilizers. When organic coffee is also shade grown, another certification, the coffee plantation does less to disrupt the natural habitat and causes less erosion. Organic, shade grown, and what is referred to as Fair Trade coffees are considered socially responsible products. By growing healthy organic coffee with sustainable and environmentally friendly practices the coffee planter preserves soil health and reduces environmental pollution to a bare minimum.

The twin issues of organic coffee for our health and organic coffee for the environment are tied up with the issues of production, processing, transportation, marketing, and sales. Countries like Peru, for example, produce more coffee than they ever consume. The small hillside coffee grower can roast his own coffee but then he will sell to a coffee buyer as he does not have any connections with buyers and customers throughout the world. By producing organic coffee the grower can sell a product that commands a higher price and at the same time, typically, is less costly to produce. The organic coffee antioxidants in his product can make their way to the coffee consumers of the world, free of many of the impurities found in regular coffee.

Organic coffee is obviously good for the environment and better for the coffee grower as well. The story of organic coffee for your health and organic coffee for the environment continues. Medical researchers discovered a few years ago that more organic coffee leads to less colon cancer. It turns out that an antioxidant created during the roasting process of coffee raises the level of a beneficial enzyme in the human body. Phase II enzyme, the one in question, is known to inhibit the development of colon cancer. Thus your steaming hot and aromatic cup of environmentally safe organic coffee may just be keeping you healthy as well. In addition drinking organic coffee can reduce the risk of Type II diabetes. A recent medical study reported that women drinking four or more cups of coffee a day experienced half the incidence of the most common type of this devastating disease. So, as you enjoy you morning, midday, or evening coffee, remember, organic coffee for your health and organic coffee for the environment, and buy organic coffee.