Certified Organic Coffee
There are many factors that go into creating an amazing, good-for-you, eco-friendly, natural coffee — unfortunately, being Certified Organic is not necessarily one of them. Just because a coffee is not certified organic, does not mean that it isn’t organic. There is certified organic coffee, identified by the organic label, and organically-grown coffee, also known as naturally organic coffee. It does not mean that one is better than the other, or one is cleaner than the other. Many small trade coffee farms grow organically; however, they cannot afford the cost of certification. This is why you should not just buy a certified organic coffee over a non-certified coffee.
The best way to find out about the coffee is to talk to the specialty roasting company sourcing the coffee beans. At Caffe De Aromi, whenever possible we will deal directly with the coffee farms and have a selection of many organically grown coffee types without the organic certification.
Fair-Trade Certified Coffee
The Fair-Trade certification is granted by the nonprofit organization Fair Trade USA. It is not a government organization. It sets standards, certifies, and brings attention to products that promote sustainable livelihoods for workers and farmers and simultaneously protect the environment. There is a great deal of controversy about this organization because it is revising standards deviating from other fair-trade organizations in the world.
UTZ Certified Coffee
UTZ Certified is a program and a label for sustainable farming. UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world. The UTZ Certified label is featured on more than 10,000 different product packages in over 116 countries. As of 2014, UTZ Certified is the largest program for sustainable farming of coffee and cocoa in the world.
Direct Trade Coffee
Direct Trade is a term that does not really apply to certifications of coffee grade or production methods. Rather, it is a term that applies to the way business is conducted. Coffee roasters deal directly with the growers and by doing so, can see first-hand how the coffee is farmed. The specialty roasters are cutting out the middleman and establishing relationships directly with the growers themselves.
There are pluses and minuses to this business model. From a certification point of view if roasters are buying directly from growers, they may be unable to bypass certain certifications.
Shade Grown Coffee
Shade grown coffee is coffee that has been picked and produced from coffee plants grown under the shade canopy of trees. However, there is no set definition of the term “shade grown”. Unfortunately, it can be used as a marketing gimmick because it can be labeled shade grown even if there are just a few shade trees involved.
Bird Friendly Coffee
The ‘bird friendly’ label was developed by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Coffee that is stamped bird friendly, really is shade grown coffee. The requirements of getting this label are strictly set by the ecologists at the Smithsonian. They clearly define the minimum percentage of shade (40%) and specifics of the tree canopy. Their concern really focused on the environmental impact of growing coffee. A coffee that is labeled bird friendly is produced in a greener, more environmentally friendly environment.
The Rain Forest Alliance
Since 1995, the Rainforest Alliance has strengthened the position of coffee farmers by training them in methods that boost yields and safeguard the health of the land for future generations. In order to earn the rainforest alliance seal farms must be certified to meet their criteria. The three main focuses of certification criteria are bio diversity conservation, conserving natural resources, and improvement of wife quality.