What you need to know about sustainable coffee
“Sustainable coffee is produced on a farm with high biological diversity and low chemical inputs. It conserves resources, protects the environment, produces efficiently, competes commercially and enhances the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”
Choosing sustainably-grown coffee is complicated, and not just as simple as picking a bag with some kind of certification label on it.
Here are links to posts that will fill you in on the basics of sustainable coffee.
- What is shade coffee? Including shade management diagram. Updated February 2015.
- What is “sun” coffee, and why it’s a problem. Updated July 2015.
- Why shade coffee is so important to birds. Updated January 2012.
- Who certifies shade coffee and a comparison of criteria (both with shade management diagram). Updated March 2010.
- A quick guide to the top 5 coffee certifications
- Who evaluates non-certified coffee? (Or, can you trust that label?)
- Information on organic certification and the pesticides used on coffee
- Corporate coffee to avoid: Which big company owns which supermarket brands
- How cheap corporate coffee contributes to poverty
- Top 5 indicators of sustainable coffee
Here is where to buy organic, Smithsonian Bird-Friendly certified coffee.
At the bottom of each page, I provide a rotating list of roasters (and a link to a map of many more) that carry many sustainably-grown coffees — here is how I came up with my list of responsible coffee roasters.
Here is a list of posts that provide background on coffee growing in various countries, in alphabetical order. More will be added. Other articles that include issues specific to particular countries can be found in the Coffee Regions category.
- Africa (overview)
- Asia (overview)
- Brazil (Cerrado region)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic (see Hispaniola)
- El Salvador
- East Timor
- Haiti (see Hispaniola)
- Java (in Asia overview)
- Papua New Guinea
- Sulawesi (in Asia overview)
- Sumatra (in Asia overview)
- Vietnam (in Asia overview)
- Zambia (in Terranova review)