One of the highlights of my week is visiting the web sites of my favorite responsible coffee roasters and exploring what new sustainably-grown beans are available for me to try. For those of you who are not as thrilled with the shopping process, there is GoCoffeeGo.
GoCoffeeGo is a web site that brings together offerings from a variety of specialty coffee roasters across the U.S. Most of them are roasters that carry several varieties of sustainably-grown beans (often certified), provide details on origin, and freqently have direct relationships with producers — all criteria I use to define “responsible roasters.” In fact, many of the roasters are on my list and a number of their coffees have been reviewed here.
Most of the same selections available on the web sites of individual roasters are also available at GoCoffeeGo, at the same price. Orders are drop shipped, so there is no more delay between roasting and arrival than there would be if you had ordered directly from the roaster. Besides bringing together all these great coffees at no mark-up, GoCoffeeGo offers weekly specials that are not offered by the roasters — discounts, free shipping, etc.
Having gathered these specialty roasters, GoCoffeeGo enables visitors to search for beans in many different categories, the relevant ones for us being organic, Rainforest Alliance, shade grown, and sustainable. A word about these categories.
Certified coffees are produced under particular conditions. The categories “organic” and “Rainforest Alliance” both represent certifications, and you can read about their certification requirements in my quick guide to coffee certifications.
Things are a little murkier for the categories “shade grown” and “sustainable.” There isn’t a legal definition for either, leaving it up to producers, importers, exporters, roasters, and/or retailers to decide if their product fits those categories, by their own definitions. There are a host of problems with that, as I outlined in “Who evaluates non-certified coffee?” parts one and two. (I use these terms all the time myself; I define shade according to this shade management diagram, and the definition I use for “sustainable coffee” is in a box on the User Guide page.)
So you still might need to do a little homework when buying your beans (you can use my top 5 indicators of sustainable coffee for some help), but GoCoffeeGo has done a lot of the legwork for you. There are plenty of other search tools, ratings, and recommendations on the site to further ease your journey.