Why Choose Ethical Coffee?

By Fenton Wayne

Go into any coffee shop today and you will be typically be faced with a large menu board of different speciality coffee drinks to suit your taste and pocket. Do you go for a regular latte or a strong and bracing ristretto? A standard cappuccino or an Americano? Perhaps some of the options you have not yet experienced.

However whatever your choice of coffee style, one thing to consider is how the coffee was sourced. Many coffee houses and restaurants today offer coffees that have been sourced from ethical sources, where care has been taken to ensure the third world farmers and their families have not been exploited, and that their basic human requirements including, healthcare, accommodation and schooling has been provided for.

In addition many such 'ethical' coffees are produced in a way that does not harm the environment and is farmed from sustainable sources, including water and wildlife conservation.

Each of these organisations have a slightly different slant on the subject and have their emphasis on different aspects of ethical drinks. This might be the livelihood of the farm-workers, care of the environment, traceability of supply, commitment to the future etc.

The number of such organisations promoting the ethics of sustainable farming is increasing all the time.

How do you know which to use? Fairtrade certified, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Ethical Tea Partnership, The Cocoa Partnership, Max Havelaar or even bird friendly coffee!

In general you pay slightly more for a genuinely ethically sourced beverage, than the house coffee from 'standard' sources and the degree of premium varies.

It is not just coffee of course, but tea, hot chocolate and many cold drinks are now promoting themselves as 'ethically sourced'

Look out for the official logo of these organisations promoting ethical and sustainably sourced hot beverages and do your own due diligence.

A sensible approach would be to do some research on the internet about the various organisations and see which you prefer to be assocaited with.

Another thing to take into account is what criteria is used for a given beverage ingredient to be approved. Fairtrade for example insist that 100% of the ingredients are sourced from Fairtrade approved official sources, but the Rainforest Alliance logo is allowed to be placed on packaging of products where only a minimum of 50% has been ethically sourced.

It can be confusing with so many ethical organsiations to choose from, but most of them do a good job of spreading awareness about these issues.

Make sure you always insist on ethically and sustainably produced coffee and other hot beverages and enjoy your drink with a clear conscience.

Fenton Wayne
Article by Fenton Wayne
For more information about ethical and sustainable coffee and coffee making equipment visit www.cafebar.co.uk.

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