Certifications

Birds & Beans now available

by on February 21, 2009

The Birds & Beans: The Good Coffee web site is now up and running. Since I posted about this initiative, which offers only Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified coffee, there have been a few tweaks and changes. For a limited time, you…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

In spite of what many people believe, Fair Trade certification alone does not automatically mean or guarantee that rigorous environmental standards were followed, or that the coffee was grown under shade. Here’s a summary of the Fair Trade environmental standards.

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Revised on March 23, 2014

A new initiative to featuring Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified coffee is being launched next week in the New England and New York area. “Birds&Beans: the good coffee” will be sold by subscription, and promoted via “Voices for the Birds” talks by…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

Roasters that sell Bird-Friendly coffee, certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, pay a per-pound fee to Smithsonian (around US$0.25, I believe). These fees go to support bird conservation research and education, with an emphasis on coffee as bird habitat….

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Revised on April 3, 2011

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has just announced that it has certified Hacienda El Cafetal coffee from the Galapagos Islands as Bird-Friendly, the most eco-friendly certification for coffee. Galapagos coffee has been on my “to try” list for quite awhile….

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Revised on April 28, 2012

In my post about the Coffee Conference, I noted that one of the most interesting things I came away with was the general displeasure many participants had with coffee certifications. Both Rainforest Alliance and TransFair USA (the Fair Trade certifiying…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

Kenneth Davids’ excellent Coffee Review takes on Rainforest Alliance coffees for its September reviews. Please go read his concise and insightful introduction to the reviews. He provides a good overview of the RA program and how it differs from Fair…

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Revised on November 2, 2010

Green coffee and home roasting supplier Sweet Maria’s has formalized their direct trade buying program, calling it Farm Gate Coffee. Farm Gate prices are at least 50% (but often 100% or more) over Fair Trade prices. Their latest newsletter (PDF…

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Revised on August 14, 2011

Rainforest Alliance will be adding a carbon module to their certification for coffee farms (presumably other crops they certify). They are also looking for further incentives to encourage farmers to plant more trees, including developing a system that would allow coffee companies to buy carbon from farmers along with their coffee beans.

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Revised on August 14, 2011

Certified coffees (organic, Fair Trade, Bird-Friendly, Rainforest Alliance, Utz, and Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices) make up only about 4% of world green coffee exports, or about 220,000 metric tons. The U.S. is a major importer of various types of certified coffee, which make up nearly 8% of green bean imports. Let’s take a quick look at the market share and growth of the three certification labels that focus largely on ecological standards: organic, Rainforest Alliance, and Bird-Friendly.

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Revised on December 22, 2010

Counter Culture Coffee recently launched its Direct Trade program. It is a natural progression from their Source project, and is a robust example of similar models employed by other roasters, most notably Intelligentsia. Counter Culture is a pioneer, however, in…

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Revised on March 23, 2014

A Problem Judging by the enormous market shares of the Big Four corporate coffee multinationals, a lot of people don’t mind drinking lousy tasting coffee. However, plenty of people won’t do it. But more imporantly, if it doesn’t taste better,…

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Revised on November 4, 2011

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) recently certified its first Bird-Friendly coffee outside of Latin America: Anfilo Specialty Coffee Enterprise in Ethiopia.

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Revised on August 14, 2011

After visiting some coffee farms in Panama’s western highlands, I have some thoughts regarding shade certification programs.

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Revised on June 18, 2011

What shade coffee looks like

by on January 27, 2008

One trip to one part of one county’s coffee growing region is limited information to work with. Nonetheless, my recent visit to the western highlands of Panama was an eye-opener, replacing a mental image based on a great deal of…

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Revised on November 12, 2012